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This is likely a great time to hike this trail!  Check out "Prefered" months below, keep in mind this is an estimate.

Victorine Crossing #101, AZ

no permit
65 6 0
Guide 6 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Payson > Clints Well
4 of 5 by 3
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Difficulty 2 of 5
Route Finding 3 of 5
Distance Round Trip 1.6 miles
Trailhead Elevation 7,088 feet
Elevation Gain -492 feet
Accumulated Gain 560 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 2 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 4.4
Interest Seasonal Creek
Backpack Yes
feature photo
Photos Viewed All Mine Following
10  2019-08-09 MountainMatt
11  2016-06-21
Leonard Canyon & East Clear Creek
16  2015-09-13 ALMAL
14  2015-07-23 The_N
14  2015-05-27 The_N
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, Oct, Sep, Apr → 9 AM
Seasons   Late Spring to Early Autumn
Sun  6:11am - 6:23pm
Official Route
0 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Likely the only good part of Leonard Canyon
by nonot

Likely In-Season!
Overview: A hike down to a grotto of Leonard Canyon, hikers may continue up the other side into the Apache-Sitgreaves forest.

Warning: The trail is faint, be prepared to do a little wandering.

Note: Distance and elevation statistics are from the west side, down to the creek, and back up.

Hike: From FR137H, begin hiking the road, I believe it is FR 9712O. There will be a carsonite "trail" marker on the road directing you to the point where the trail leaves the road. The trail traverses a little north and then heads down a brush free, but fairly obscure route. It appears that elk have been using this trail much more than humans. Some downed trees and general steepness seem to cause the trail to braid a few times, but each time it is not difficult to find where it continues. Cairns were located along much of the trail, though towards the very bottom the trail disperses as you near the creek.

At the bottom you will emerge into what is likely the best part of Leonard canyon. When I visited the creek was lightly flowing through this section. It is an eden of green plants, elk, deer, and water birds such as mallards and great blue herons. Around the corner is a spot with possible swimming/wading, where a deep pool has formed.

You can hike upstream or downstream a bit, but there is no observable trail. Crossing to the other side and heading a bit north you will find a flat area suitable for camping. The trail apparently heads up the rim here on the other side, though I didn't look for it.

Water Sources: Creek/pools - bring a filter.

Camping: Near the trail at the bottom of Leonard canyon are some camping options.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

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

2011-08-14 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
    Victorine Crossing #101
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Leonard Canyon & East Clear Creek
    Myself and Minkis were in need of some time in the woods. I've been too busy to get out much and Minkis is coming off hernia surgery and wanted to car camp with his dogs. He proposed a return to Victorine Crossing and I didn't hesitate to agree. Day 1 we hiked down into Leonard via Victorine Crossing. The creek bed was bone dry and the first big pool was almost empty. Fortunately the swimming hole at our usual camp site was full and cold, probably due to it being mostly shaded. We spent the day creekside while listening to thunder rumbling in the distance. We started our hike out just in time. As we approached the vehicle, it began to lightly rain and just before a lightning bolt struck a tree just feet from us. The sensation I felt before the loud crash was indescribable. We quickly got in the vehicle and I cracked open a cold beer immediately. This short, intense storm passed rather quickly and we set up camp. Day 2 we stopped at East Clear Creek for some creekside hiking / wading as we made our way toward Kinder Crossing. At a nice slow pace we stopped at every deep pool for a swim. We didn't end up making it to Kinder, which was good because Minkis was sore and we still had to walk back. We exited the canyon via game trails and got back on FR95.
    Victorine Crossing #101
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Decided to take Minkis (and dogs) into Leonard Canyon. He requested a secluded swimming hole with a short hike for an overnight backpack and had never been to V Crossing before so this was a no-brainer. The trail down to the bottom is faint but its short and well cairned. Once you reach the creek it's entirely bushwacking and boulder hopping with patches of clear beach in between. There are plenty of places to camp and a couple with fire rings. We set up on the beach 1 mile into the canyon. After a swim we had just enough time to settle in before enjoying watching the clouds moving over the canyon as they were being lit up by the colors of the sunset. In the morning we were awakened by passing elk but the dogs were contained so we stayed put in our tents and they quickly passed. We then spent the rest of the day bushwacking from one water hole to the next, swimming in each. There was more water in the canyon than the last time I was here and a whole lot more vegetation to deal with as well. Wildflowers and wild mint were abundant. We encountered elk on four occasions as well as turkeys, lots of birds, a few fish and millions of crawfish and insects. There were a few short moments of sprinkles but overall the weather was perfect. Great little trip into a beautiful, lush canyon with awesome swimming holes and tons of wildlife.
    Victorine Crossing #101
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    This one has been on my list for a long time. I had never seen this section of Leonard Canyon. With Horse Crossing and Kinder Crossing in the area, it tends to get overlooked. Signage is limited. Forest roads 137H & 9712Q are in decent shape, not bad, but just enough to get interesting in spots. The trail itself is faint to non-existent. Pretty much a game trail down a canyon with cairns and deadfall scattered around. Fortunately, it's not too steep so if you have to improvise you won't find yourself on a ledge somewhere. The route finding ends about a half mile down at the creek. That's where the beauty begins. Pristine water and beautiful cliffs everywhere. I creek hiked downstream and stopped to swim in every deep pool along the way. Even after a holiday weekend, there was no sign of people having been there, not even a shred of trash. Wildlife viewing is almost a certainty here. I saw elk on three occasions. Tons of great camp spots on white, sandy beaches. The last pool I jumped into was the deepest one and delivered a deep chill that when coupled with the cloud coverage and increasing breeze sent me packing. Definitely a summertime creek hike & multi-day backpack destination without the crowds. I will be returning soon I'm sure.
    Victorine Crossing #101
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    Drove up to the rim Friday afternoon. Very peaceful, almost no traffic. Got to Horse Crossing with no trouble, only had about an hour before dark, so I headed down the horse crossing trail and a short distance down ECC before finding a nice place to camp out and read a book.

    Night was pleasantly warm. The next day I felt the humidity and it rained twice for about 40 minutes in total. I found a nice overhang to wait out the longer shower. There was a bit of bushwhacking to get to Mack's crossing and a bit more that final push to get to Leonard. ECC sure looked good @ Leonard, I wished my plans were to continue down as it kept getting better and better.

    Headed up Leonard, camping options and water options were slim. Leonard was a bit more painful, but I made it to Victorine Crossing which was a pleasant surprise and headed up on the rim and road-walked back to the car. Due to the 2+ inches of rain on Sunday I was soaked through and through but it was very nice as it wasn't cold. Unfortunately the roads were terrible on the way out to the highway. Made it back home in time for a late dinner.

    Best wildlife sighting trip in quite awhile - deer, elk, turkey, herons, mallards, and of course birds, lizards, snakes, crawfish, trout, etc.

    Permit $$

    Map Drive
    High Clearance possible when dry

    To hike
    From Payson, head north on 87, past Strawberry, Clints Well, and the Blue Ridge Reservoir Campground. Just past the Blue Ridge Ranger Station turn south on FR95 and take it until you cross East Clear Creek. Turn left immediately after the crossing onto FR96. FR96 will take the bridge over Barbershop Canyon and keep climbing. In a few miles stay left on FR96 where it forks with FR321. T into FR137 and turn left. In a few miles, FR137 goes left and FR137B goes right. Go right onto FR137B. In about 1.3 ish miles, FR137H will split off to the right. Drive not quite 2 miles to where FR9172O comes in on the right. You may want to park here.
    page created by nonot on Aug 14 2011 11:01 pm
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