Likely the only good part of Leonard Canyon
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.
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.
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