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West Clear Creek & Blodgett Canyon Loop, AZ

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122 12 1
Guide 12 Triplogs  1 Topic
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Camp Verde > Camp Verde
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3 of 5 by 7
 
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Difficulty 4 of 5
Route Finding 3 of 5
Distance Loop 14 miles
Trailhead Elevation 3,600 feet
Elevation Gain 2,200 feet
Accumulated Gain 3,000 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 8.5 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 29
Interest Perennial Creek
Backpack Yes
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8  2018-09-08
West Clear Creek Trail #17 to Maiden Falls
chumley
6  2013-05-11 joebartels
15  2013-05-11 The_Eagle
19  2011-08-20 Tough_Boots
13  2011-08-20 John9L
38  2009-11-06 gpsjoe
6  2008-05-31 cerebellum
25  2008-04-30 gpsjoe
Author gpsjoe
author avatar Guides 16
Routes 123
Photos 2,810
Trips 140 map ( 1,516 miles )
Age 77 Male Gender
Location Mesa, AZ
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Preferred   Mar, Nov, Apr, Oct → 8 AM
Seasons   Early Spring to Late Autumn
Sun  6:14am - 6:25pm
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0 Alternative
 
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A challenging & scenic loop!!
by gpsjoe

This hike is described in a Falcon Guide : "Hiking Arizona", Bruce Grubbs & Stuart Aitchison at page 138. I did it starting from the trailhead at the end of Bull Pen road (FR215) which is better, in my opinion, than starting from the Blodgett Basin Trailhead on FR214. Going up the Blodgett Basin trail in the morning and following FR 214 and FR214A takes out about 2,200 feet of the 3,000 feet of climbing that gets done on this loop. Also, there are no wet creek crossings until 9 miles into this 14 mile loop. I stayed dry until the last 5 miles where you do 4 wet creek crossings but end up back at your car after that.


This hike has both easy and difficult parts. Not much signage along the way and trail finding skills are required in some parts. After reaching the West Clear Creek trailhead on FR214A the hike down the canyon there is very steep. One misstep is all that is needed for us to make the 6 o'clock evening news in Phoenix. For these reasons I would only recommend this loop for physically fit sure footed experienced hikers looking for a bit of a challenge. I gave this a level 4 difficulty rating even though there are substantial parts of the hike that are easy.

Starting from the trailhead at the end of Bull Pen road I hiked back up the road I drove in on only about 200 feet from the restroom where there is a 3 foot high cairn in a wire cage indicating the start of the Blodgett Basin trail. There is no sign for that trail but there is a sign in box shortly up the trail. At 2.6 miles on the Blodgett I arrived at a spur dirt road and turned right to continue on the Blodgett for another 0.5 miles to its intersection with FR214 (at 3.1 miles). I then hiked on FR214 for 1.2 miles to the intersection of FR214 and FR214A (aka Bald Hill road) where I turned right of FR214A and hiked another 1.2 miles on FR214A to the West Clear Creek (WCC) trailhead there (at 5.4 total miles to this point).

This was a total of 2.9 miles of easy hike on dirt road that reached a high elevation of just under 5,800 feet (the low point was at 3,600 feet at the start of the hike). The views of the terrain down toward WCC were good but the best was yet to come. The hike on the WCC trail from the top was relatively flat for more than a half mile and then became very steep after that. Frankly it was a little intimidating but the views were stunning here. I was glad to have two extra legs with me (my hiking poles) while I slowly made my way down this trail heading towards WCC. As I approached the bottom I got off trail there for about 1/4th mile as I proceeded to a cairn actually at creek level. There I met the only other person I saw all day on the hike who was gathering bait for some fishing he planned on doing. Fortunately for me this guy was a local who claimed to hike/run the loop I was doing 3 times a week when he was younger. He told me I was off trail and the trail was above my current position. I then hiked the creek bed for a short distance and climbed up and found the trail quickly. No more off trail after that.

At the creek I had hiked 7.3 miles and there was almost 7 more miles to go to get back the TH and my car. After a little over 9 miles I arrived at the first of 4 wet crossings of the WCC. I was using worn out boots just for these crossings so without delay I did all of the crossings. Hiking the last 7 miles along the WCC creek was easy to moderate and very scenic with several rolling hills to climb along the way. There was some trail finding to do after a couple of the crossings since the continuing trail was not totally obvious or well marked. But that was a lot of fun for me. As I said at the start I would recommend this hike for strong, experienced hikers seeking a challenging and scenic hike. I will do it again in the future sometime.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

Note
This is a moderately difficult hike.

Leave No Trace and +Add a Triplog after your hike to support this local community.

2008-04-30 gpsjoe
  • guide related image
    guide related
WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.

Most recent Triplog Reviews
West Clear Creek & Blodgett Canyon Loop
rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
12 miles in taking trail clockwise the first day. All elevation gain and loss is in this day! Very steep. Long first day, short second day. Hammock friendly down by the creek.

Hiked with Noah & Micah, Greg, and Michael.

Found awesome campsites right before second water crossing.

I'm new to posting routes and whatnot. Forgot to turn Route Scout back on after lunch, so part of trail is wrong (straight line lol).
West Clear Creek & Blodgett Canyon Loop
rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
Another hike that has been on my list.

Absolutely perfect weather for this one. We did this one the recommended clockwise direction, affording us shade on the climb up and the creek for the later parts of the day.

5.85 miles gets the majority of the climbing out of the way on this one and takes you to the upper West Clear Creek Trail head. To this point all the views have been behind you. You need to remember to turn around and check out where you came from. Even the road walk up top isn't bad if you take in the scenery.

The drop into West Clear Creek gets a bit steep and loose in spots, but the views don't quit.

I had plans to do some 'splorin' up West Creek once we got to the bottom. Joey was feelin' a bit tired and really wasn't up another water hike. I kept telling him "Come on, lets see what's around that Corner", "I think I can hear another Waterfall ahead", "Look at that rock formation up there". We made it less than a quarter mile up creek. :( I'd really like to get farther up there.

We scurried back from the creek up to the trail and continued our way back. From this point you are 6.5 miles from the TH and 4 more creek crossings, none more than thigh deep. We saw our first people at the first Creek Crossing (Some Fishermen) and at every subsequent crossing the number of people increased. The Trail head and camping area was packed when we got back to the car.

I can see why the area is popular with the short hike to some swimming, a bit longer to some fishing, and plenty of places to explore and play in the water.

I'm glad I did the loop, but as others have commented, next time I'd just go farther up West Clear Creek.

A Video Playing with the New Camera:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Da2iJEIWPyo
West Clear Creek & Blodgett Canyon Loop
rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
This was my first trip on Blodgett #31. It's been about 15 years since I hiked a bit of WCC #17.

Blodgett was easy to find a short hike west of the bathrooms. The hike up offered excellent views. The trail was in better shape than I anticipated. Pants were not really necessary. Noted a lot of volcanic rock that might be tough on pooch paws.

The road hike on top is just okay. The hike down is steep for twenty feet in the upper section #17 then it's not terrible.

Bruce wanted to explore upstream WCC. On our first crossing I slipped and took a good hit just above my ankle. At which point I was not wanting to go upstream much. We didn't go far and in retrospect it was the best part of the day. Nice ledges, cascades and the surrounding lush environment with steep walls set the atmosphere. Bruce commented several times how the canyon at the western end of WCC is deeper than the middle or eastern end we've traveled.

There are a few large areas of very healthy poison ivy. All are easy to bypass.

Getting back on #17 for the westbound return a group of fishermen helped us find the trail. Reading gpsjoe's description it sounds like he had some fisherman luck too. With about 2.75 miles to go we passed and said hello to Matt and Dilip!

Not as many people as my last experience, still plenty. This is good to visit every 10-20 years. Upper Woods Canyon or WCC Whitebox are more excitable but this is always nice.

Wildflowers
believe there was some larkspur and Crimson Monkey Flower among various yellows I'm clueless about
West Clear Creek & Blodgett Canyon Loop
rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
I found this trail write up by GPSJoe and figured why not, we'll follow a loop for a good chunk of miles & AEG. We got an early start and hit the Blodgett trail. We made our up and were sweating in no time. It poured the night before and the humidity was intense! I was soaked by the time we hit the roads. From there it was easy going all the way to WCC trailhead sign off of 214A.

We took our time descending into WCC. That portion of trail is steep with great views...not a good mix! Finally the trail levels off and we find ourselves heading down canyon parallel to WCC. We greatly picked up our pace and arrived at the 4th Creek Crossing (From Bull Pen). We crossed the creak and had our lunch. The water was so refreshing and helped reenergize myself! The rest of the hike back was a breeze.

The Blodgett portion was a chore going up. I would only recommend it if you want the miles and a loop. The views are solid along the way. You can gaze down on WCC for just about the entire section. That was cool!
West Clear Creek & Blodgett Canyon Loop
rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
We decided to start early in the morning for this long loop. At the Bull Pen CG was quiet in the morning. You have to pay attention or use a GPS if you want to find the Blodget TH. We started early because in May you will pay the price and take the heat if you start late. The directions posted by the author were accurate and I want to thank GpsJoe for posting them. Great scenery till you get on the forest road for maybe a mile and a half. The West Clear Creek trail starts with the juniper woodland and in a couple hundred yards start to descend abruptly in to the canyon. Great view down the canyon. We spent some time taking photos of the flowers and continued toward the water. We needed! It was around noon when we hit the fourth crossing. We spent a well deserved hour swimming in the pools. We tried the impossible and took us 5 hours to return at the Bull Pen on the river. Couple of rappels and climbings made it possible. Even though is shorter is much harder, especially with the kids on your side. So if you enjoy the canyoneering this will be the only way back. Close to the second passing the music start covering the canyon and hundreds of people were swimming and drinking cold beer from their huge coolers. Kind of strange.... to carry a full cooler for a mile... We return to the car and WOW the place looked like a mall parking in a busy weekend day.

As the author said I would recommend this hike for the strong and experienced hikers.

PS Agave, Yucca, Mountain Mahogany and Prickly Pear Cactus covered the rocky slopes all around the loop.

Permit $$
None


Directions
Map Drive
or
Road
FR / Dirt Road / Gravel - Car Okay

To Bull Pen Trailhead
From Phoenix go North on Highway I-17 to the SR 260 turnoff. Follow State Route 260 East about 6 to 8 miles to the turnoff for for Bull Pen and West Clear Creek.(FR618) Follow FR618 North about 2.25 miles to turnoff for FR215. Follow FR215 East just over 3 miles to the end.

Cars can make it, many rocky sections are better suited for high clearance.

From PHX (I-10 & AZ-51) 108 mi, 2 hours 8 mins
From TUC (Jct 1-10 & Grant) 213 mi, 3 hours 48 mins
From FLG (Jct I-17 & I-40) 66.7 mi, 1 hour 25 min
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