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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.

Leonard Canyon (Lower), AZ

no permit
0 3 0
Guide 3 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Payson > Clints Well
3.5 of 5 by 2
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Difficulty 2.5 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance One Way 8.5 miles
Trailhead Elevation 6,150 feet
Elevation Gain 500 feet
Accumulated Gain 900 feet
Avg Time One Way 5 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 11.5
Interest Off Trail Hiking & Seasonal Creek
Backpack Possible - Not Popular
Photos Viewed All Mine Following
14  2015-07-23
Victorine Crossing #101
14  2015-05-27
Victorine Crossing #101
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, Sep, Oct, Jun → 9 AM
Seasons   Late Spring to Late Autumn
Sun  6:08am - 6:28pm
Official Route
0 Alternative
Seldom visited
by nonot

Likely In-Season!
Overview: A trip from East Clear Creek (the terminus of Leonard Canyon) south to Victorine Crossing Trail #101. This canyon forms the boundary between Coconino National Forest and Apache-Sitgreaves.

Warning: This canyon is remote, you need to be self-sufficient. Be aware of the weather, do not attempt this hike if rain is predicted due to the possibility of a flash flood. Water is scarse in the canyon in the fall.

Hike: From East Clear Creek, begin hiking upcanyon, a good elk trail appears on the east side for awhile. At first the canyon is fairly brush free. Unfortunately there aren't very many good elk trails. When I hiked this in fall, the canyon was completely dry for at least the first two miles. The rock walls consist of interesting Coconino sandstone, stained black from water and organisms in places.

The boulder hopping will continue and if you travel in fall, you may find a few isolated water pools where the canyon was deeply scoured out and is holding water from the last flood. As you continue upcanyon you will begin to be faced with some bushwhacking, though nothing too serious. Occasional elk-trails will be found starting about halfway, allowing you to double your speed.

At the halfway point, the canyon makes a large U-bend to the east. It appears that there are elk trails which lead out of the canyon at this point. Also, at the bottom in this area are the first possible campsites, should you choose to attempt this trip as a backpack.

Continuing up canyon the bottom of the canyon gets brushier but other than a few places there are quite good elk trails. Between mile 5.5 and mile 7 I would characterize as a very pleasant stroll beneath the trees on the elk paths on the canyon benches. Unfortunately the last half mile or so gets overgrown and nearing the end, you will probably run into some flowing water. The brush is the densest as you approach Victorine Crossing. At the crossing you will run into another nice camping site and finish on a high note as it is likely the best part of the canyon you will have encountered.

On my hike I saw rattlesnakes (which I nearly stepped on) as well as elk and water fowl. The area is likely a haven for wildlife escaping the more heavily visited areas of nearby East Clear Creek. Travel lightly and leave no trace!

Water Sources: East Clear Creek and Victorine Crossing have flowing water. Elsewhere there are just a few pools but they are few and far between. Bring a filter.

Camping: Halfway through the canyon and as you approach Victorine Crossing are camping options. Nothing pleasant in the lowest 4 miles of the canyon. At the junction with East Clear Creek there is a great site on the north side.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

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2011-08-15 nonot

    One-Way Notice
    This hike is listed as One-Way.

    When hiking several trails on a single "hike", log it with a generic name that describes the hike. Then link the trails traveled, check out the example.
    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
    Leonard Canyon (Lower)
    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.
    Leonard Canyon (Lower)
    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.
    Leonard Canyon (Lower)
    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
    Connector trail - Not Applicable

    To hike
    This is a connector segment, to hike this in the opposite direction consult Victorine Crossing Trail directions.
    page created by nonot on Aug 15 2011 8:44 pm
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