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

West Clear Creek - Bear Canyon to Bull Pen, AZ

Guide 8 Triplogs  1 Topic
  4.7 of 5 
no permit
8 8 1
Canyons are inherently risky. Flash floods occur without notice on sunny days. Technical skills & surrounding topography knowledge required yet does not eliminate risk.
View 2
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Difficulty 4.5 of 5
Route Finding 2 of 5
Distance One Way 25 miles
Trailhead Elevation 6,554 feet
Elevation Gain -2,965 feet
Avg Time One Way 5 days
Kokopelli Seeds 29.94
Interest Off-Trail Hiking, Perennial Waterfall & Perennial Creek
Backpack Yes - past 6 Miles
varies or not certain dogs are allowed
editedit > ops > dogs to adjust
feature photo
Photos Viewed All MineFollowing
16  2020-08-08
Bear cyn point to Calloway
8  2009-05-16 toddak
Author itsradBrad
author avatar Guides 1
Routes 0
Photos 0
Trips 4 map ( 37 miles )
Age 37 Male Gender
Location Glendale, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
Radar Map
Expand Map
Preferred Apr, May, Jun, Jul → 8 AM
Seasons   Spring to Autumn
Sun  5:32am - 7:33pm
Official Route
2 Alternative
Historic Fire Perimetersacres
🔥 2017 Snake Ridge Fire15.3k
🔥 2014 Pothole Fire2.2k
🔥 View (All) - over Official Route 🔥

Very tough no trail canyon
by itsradBrad

Likely In-Season!
Time will vary considerably by your ability.

This hike can range from difficult to impossible depending on how well prepared your group is and the amount/type of gear you carry.

Canyon Overview
We began the hike off 142E east of Bear Canyon and ended at Bull Pen road, where we dropped off a vehicle before heading off to the trailhead (16 miles west as the crow flies).

The canyon starts reasonably easy to hike for the 1st 4 hours or so, and then the difficulty increases and doesn't let up until the final 8 trail miles or so. Remember, in this canyon, "as the crow flies" and "trail miles" are drastically different because of the snaking and twisting nature of the canyon.

You must be prepared for long days of overcoming obstacles, backtracking, constant wading, and water crossings, and approximately 10 swims for this trip. Some of these swims are 100+ yards long, and the water is very cold in April when we went. We estimate water temp in the high 40's low 50's (April).

Author's Gearlist
To tackle these swims, we utilized a small inflatable raft for floating 2 packs at a time and a rope to ensure we didn't lose it. The swims are very challenging and the biggest time suck of the entire trip. I would recommend practicing changing shoes/prepping your raft so that you can minimize this time suck. Some days you will only make 5 or some miles of progress in 8 hours of hiking.

Here is the gear list that I used: Shelter, Tent, Sleeping bag, Poncho and a hiking pole is an absolute MUST!
Food/Cooking: Food, Cookware, Burner, Lighter, Fire Steel, Plate, Spork, Cup, Baggies/Bags, Water Bladder, Water Filter, Bottle, Fishing rig, Stringer, Net, Seasoning
Hiking Gear: Pack, Boots, Aqua shoes, Drybags, Sunglasses, Extra reg glasses, Monocular, Flashlight, Headlamp, Whistle, Insect Repellent, Sunscreen, Compass, GPS, Gloves, Cell Phone, Camera, Rope, Walking pole, Raft
Tools: Multi-tool, Brush, Hatchet, Shovel, Knife (2)
First Aid: H2O2, Hydrocort UNG, AAA Ung, Epi-pen, Cipro, Flagyl, Ibuprofen, Gauze, Wrap, Nail Clippers, Tums, Imodium, Ankle Brace
Hygiene Toothbrush, Bar Soap, Toilet paper, Deodorant, Hand Towel
Clothes: Pant/Shorts, Hoodie, Thermals, 2 Shirts, Extra Socks, Flip Flops, Hat
MISC: Cards, Pen and Paper, Handgun. RENT a satellite phone online before you take this trip. You will find it to be absolutely invaluable. Take this piece of advice even if you don't think it's necessary.

I would recommend buying a quality pair of water shoes for this trip, no Walmart specials, or you'll regret it. Also, consider bringing a wetsuit depending on your cold tolerance.

The fishing isn't too good until the last few miles, so I'd probably ditch the fishing gear and bring a net for crawfish if you want.

A good GPS and 24k topo maps will save your butt when trying to keep on the right trail on your way out of the canyon on the final 6-mile stretch.

The terrain in this canyon is some of the most challenging I have ever seen. When I say there is no trail, there is ABSOLUTELY NO TRAIL for the 1st 18 miles of the hike. Be ready for slow-moving.

The things we came across are as follows:
Gravel bottomed stream (easy)
Medium & large rock bottomed stream (algae = very slippery)
Thick bushwhacking (sticker bushes were the worst)
Short grass, dirt (a nice break from the madness)
Large and medium boulders (up and overall stinking day!)
Steep grades with loose dirt and rocks/cacti (very dangerous)

Be aware that areas suitable for camping are few and far between. If you see a spot within the last 2 hours or so of daylight, TAKE IT! Look for rock stacks as a hint of campsites above!

This hike is not for the faint of heart or the inexperienced. Be prepared and be safe; it's damn near impossible to get out of this canyon without finishing the hike. Good luck and be safe! This trip is a challenge, not a leisure hike.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

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

2009-04-27 itsradBrad
    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.

    Permit $$

    Map Drive
    FR / Dirt Road / Gravel - Car Okay

    To 142E Trailhead
    From Phx, take I-17 N to exit 287/HWY 260. Take 260 E and just before milepost 249, turn left/N onto FR 144. Take FR 144 1.8 miles and turn left onto FR 149. Follow FR 149 1.1 miles to a T junction with FR 142. Turn right onto FR 142 and follow it .8 mile to FR 142E on the left (there was a sign for 142D and on the other side of the same road was a rock painted with 142E). Stay straight on FR142 another 0.8 miles until it dips down and crosses Tom's Creek. There are parking options in this area off the road.

    2016-07 LindaAnn writes: The last 1/3 mile or so on 142E is the only rough part, maybe not great for low clearance, but easy enough to park there and walk a little extra to the trailhead.

    From PHX (I-10 & AZ-51) 132 mi - about 2 hours 30 mins
    From TUC (Jct 1-10 & Grant) 237 mi - about 3 hours 59 mins
    From FLG (Jct I-17 & I-40) 90.2 mi - about 1 hour 51 mins
    page created by itsradBrad on Apr 26 2009 2:13 pm
    90+° 8am - 6pm kills

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