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X-Pine Canyon, AZ

no permit
172 17 1
Guide 17 Triplogs  1 Topic
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Payson > Clints Well W
4 of 5 by 5
Canyons are inherently risky. Flash floods occur without notice on sunny days. Technical skills & surrounding topography knowledge required yet does not eliminate risk.
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Difficulty 3 of 5
Route Finding 2 of 5
Distance Loop 5 miles
Trailhead Elevation 6,263 feet
Elevation Gain 1 feet
Accumulated Gain 1,200 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 5-8 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 11
Interest Off Trail Hiking & Perennial Creek
Backpack No
Dogs not allowed
feature photo
Photos Viewed All Mine Following
Inaugural Calculation on Button Tap!
13  2016-05-29 GrottoGirl
7  2015-09-10 CoryTallman
8  2014-08-16 GrottoGirl
10  2012-09-29 sbkelley
68  2011-07-23 Vaporman
18  2010-10-13 suzaz
3  2010-09-04 toddak
11  2010-05-31 nonot
Page 1,  2
Author nonot
author avatar Guides 93
Routes 236
Photos 1,969
Trips 476 map ( 4,511 miles )
Age Male Gender
Location Phoenix, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   May, Jun, Jul, Aug → 9 AM
Seasons   Early Summer to Early Autumn
Sun  6:10am - 6:32pm
Official Route
0 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Crossing Pines
by nonot

Overview: A technical canyoneering trip into West Clear Creek with rappels up to 125 ft.

Warning: Canyoneering involves rappelling in slot canyons, be prepared by bringing appropriate gear and watching the weather. The risk of flash floods is a definite possibility, do not go if there is any chance of rain.

For this trip, you need to ensure you bring appropriate canyoneering gear, which includes a helmet, harness, rappelling device, caribiners, 1x150 ft rope, 1x100ft rope (I would recommend 1x200 ft rope and 1x100 ft rope), dry bags, and wetsuits for all but the hottest weather. Webbing and quick links may be needed to replace some of the anchors. Do NOT bring your bolt kit, none are needed.

Swimming is mandatory, make sure everyone in your party can swim with all their gear! Long sections of swimming are encountered on this trip, be prepared!

History: Todd's book publicized this canyon, though he does not claim first descent.

Hike: From wherever you parked on the forest road, head cross country until you reach the west branch of the canyon. Do not worry if you descend a bit too soon as there are decent elk trails near the bottom before it gets steep. Go through a little bit of shrubbery and downclimb a few boulders until you merge with another major branch of the canyon.

From here, continue downcanyon and climb over fallen logs and down some interesting rock formations. You will reach a steep downclimb/optional rappel around a pool of about 25 feet. Continuing downcanyon you will reach a major constriction which will require a 40 ft rappel, going 20 ft through (around) a pool, and another rappel of approximately 70 feet. For this you will need to rappel single strand on the longer rope and rig the shorter rope as the pull cord. Bushes and a recent fallen tree makes this whole setup a little bit problematic, so watch how you run your ropes. Just downcanyon is another rappel of 50 feet into a dark, cold, wet slot with a swim/wade.

You are not finished yet, for the canyon continues with some downclimbing, a 20 ft overhung downclimb/optional rappel, and will finish with a 30 ft overhung rappel.

Emerging from the canyon you will look upon a gorgeous section of West Clear Creek. Looking down from the cliffs into the pools, observe trout and chub swimming through the gorge, unaware of your presence above. Find a way down into the creek and swim/wade/hike approximately 2 miles downstream, admiring the wonder of your surroundings. As you cross under the first set of powerlines, you will encounter a very narrow gorge approximately 12 feet wide. Beware this section as it had turned into a major log jam. I spent a good deal of time treading water, clearing some of the logs to allow passage through this section. The pile is unstable and caution should be exercised! This may change with each flash flood, but do not underestimate this section!

Finally, a quarter mile after this slot you will start to observe a well-used area on your left. Climb up 20 feet onto the plateau (signs of a trail from the creekbed are almost nil) and find the Tule trail back to the rim. Walk the roads back to your vehicle.

Water Sources: West Clear Creek

Camping: Near Tule TH or off the road, campsites on the rim are going to be rocky!

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

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

2010-05-31 nonot
    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
    X-Pine Canyon
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Another WCC Canyon i'm glad to have done and glad it was over when it was. Those long slogs out tend to get old and i've only done 2 of them. But I will say the exit section in WCC was simply amazing. Much more narrow and the long swims made it awesome. X-Pine Canyon was great, the drive in made me jealous as I was in the backseat and not driving this time, but Mike did a great job and his truck didn't let us down one bit. The short hike to the side canyon drop in was easy as this area opens up giving you a different feel from the rest of the area i've been in before up there. Once in X-Pine the scattered bones, skulls, and fall colors made the canyon a great place to be. The weather was perfect and our group made good time. The rappels offered a few new things for us but we were able to overcome the little things that went wrong and avoided any horrific outcomes. The water was chilly, but nothing too bad in this canyon compared to the others I have been in. X-Pine doesn't really have the true narrows as some of the others, but I really did enjoy this canyon and it is probably my favorite one in the area i've done. We were surprised to run into a huge family/group at our exit point into WCC. They saw we had to swim and offered us a boat they had down there but we turned it down not knowing any better. But the long swims in the narrow sections of WCC made the trip worth it. Nothing beats swimming backwards laying against your pack and watching everyone else smile and enjoy the swim as well. Was glad Tule Canyon was where it was and we were able to exit and get out of the chilly water and dry off on the steep hike out. The views of WCC towards the top in this section were incredible. Amazing area and day.
    X-Pine Canyon
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    I was looking to get away for the weekend and explore the beautiful WCC by dropping into one of the central sections that I hadn't been thru in a few years. I did so by dropping in via this technical X-Pine canyon and heading downstream towards the White Box. :)

    After work Sat morning, I drove north and parked at the 142 & 142B and walked the eastern rim of X-Pine until I got to a good spot to drop in. The canyon is easy enough until you get near the confluence and then it has a quick fun narrows section. I had my 150ft rope with me and it was plenty for the few 40-60ft drops with a few exposed down climbs. :sweat: Reaching the confluence with WCC was def one of the highlights of the weekend. SO beautiful and super relaxing to go take a dip in the large swimming hole. Sleeping on the angled rocks wasn't too bad but it's def not for everyone. :lol: Slept in the next morning to give everything time to warm up a little before crawling out of my bag and jumping into the cool creek. So many great swimmers to cool in the section from X-Pine to the power lines. Just downstream of the power lines, I ventured up that side canyon on the northside and was soon stopped by a dramatic 80-100ft drop. The canyon prob doesn't narrow up much and not have any other drops but it did have at least that one cool drop. :) And near the confluence, I was able to scout out a debris chute and took me halfway out of the canyon and if I had more time I prob could have found a route up to the rim or at least to above that big drop... Once back down in WCC, I continued on and played in the amAZing White Box a bit before making my way up the White Box trail. :sweat: There was a storm across the way that was fun to watch since it appeared to be moving away, but then it changed directions or something and passed right over me. I went running under a tree to seek refuge from the heavy rain and hail but a few lightning stirkes came rather close so perhaps a tree wasn't the safest bet. :o Once the storm calmed down, I had miles upon miles of muddy forrest road to get back to my car. :sweat:

    All in all, another great relaxing overnight in the beautiful West Clear Creek. :D
    X-Pine Canyon
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Few places better than WCC to escape the never-ending summer heat, and X-Pine drops you into one of the best stretches. Once through X-Pine, stayed in the cool creek all they way down to the White Box / Hanging Gardens exit, with a perfect late afternoon swim through the Box before the long slog out. Not much left of nonot's logjam, the long passage under the power lines is clear.
    X-Pine Canyon
    rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5
    Had to walk a distance to/from this canyon, but it was a great way to enjoy a Sunday. While not as strenuous as the previous day, it was still fun with a few nice rappels, some great swimming and wading, and great weather and scenery. :y:

    WARNING: For those attemping a WCC through hike in the near future, the gorge with a mandatory swim below the powerlines east of Tule trail is choked with logs. This log jam soup is a bobbing mass of unstable, snagging, obstacles that will require some caution to get through safely!
    X-Pine Canyon
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    I did the entry & exit for this canyon a little different than what Todd suggests in the book and I think I prefer my way! :D I got my car almost to the FR142 & FR142B (Calloway) junction and we road walked up 142B a mile or so before heading west to the eastern rim of upper X-Pine and followed that another half mile before finding an easy slope to drop into the middle part of the canyon. We hit a few extra down climbs and setup an additional rappel that aren't in Todd's beta, but it just added more to the adventure. :sweat: I hadn't heard too many great reviews of this canyon, so I really wasn't expecting too much though I found this canyon's narrows to be pretty sweet! :) The narrows start off with brushy 40ft rappel down to a pool & ledge of the dryfalls with a bolt to perform another 50ft rappel. Here we put on our wetsuits and did another 50ft drop with a very cold swimmer below and further downstream hit another 35ft rap just before hitting the WCC. Once at the beautiful WCC, we stopped for a snack break and warmed up in the glowing sun. :sweat: Once we were rested up, we rock hopped/bushwhacked/waded/swam upstream the amazing WCC about 1.5 miles to the Calloway trail and dropped our wetsuits for the steep climb back up to the rim. Once up on top, it was just a relatively easy 2.5 mile road walk back to our parking spot. :sweat: So I did the loop different than Todd's book but this way involved less road walking for us 2wd drivers and the extra bolt meant we only needed one 200ft rope. :D

    Permit $$

    Map Drive
    High Clearance possible when dry

    To canyon trip
    You will need some serious high clearance and dry conditions to get anywhere near this canyon. From the 260, take either side of FR142 to FR142A. How close you make it relates to how much abuse you and your vehicle can take. Beware that if there is rain there are areas that turn into a bog and you could get trapped for...weeks? 4x4 would be preferred. Calling any of these things "roads" would be a stretch.
    page created by nonot on May 31 2010 11:32 am
    $17 3L Hydration Bladder
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