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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.

Crackerbox Canyon, AZ

no permit
16 3 0
Guide 3 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Payson > Clints Well
3 of 5 by 1
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Difficulty 1.5 of 5
Route Finding 2 of 5
Distance Loop 10.18 miles
Trailhead Elevation 7,525 feet
Accumulated Gain 681 feet
Avg Time One Way 4.5 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 12.45
Interest Off Trail Hiking & Seasonal Creek
varies or not certain dogs are allowed
editedit > ops > dogs to adjust
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Photos Viewed All Mine Following
Inaugural Calculation on Button Tap!
21  2019-07-27
East Miller AZT Loop
7  2018-08-21
Crackerbox Canyon Upper Loop
16  2017-09-15 kingsnake
Author kingsnake
author avatar Guides 83
Routes 182
Photos 7,946
Trips 637 map ( 5,893 miles )
Age 57 Male Gender
Location Sunnyslope, PHX
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   May, Sep, Oct, Jun
Sun  6:08am - 6:32pm
Official Route
1 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Geology Nearby
Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby
No crackers, Jack!
by kingsnake

Likely In-Season!
Crackerbox Canyon most closely resembles it’s next door neighbor, East Miller Canyon. (Crackerbox actually drains into East Miller and, eventually, East Clear Creek.) I’ve always found it odd that the Mogollon Rim mostly drains north, gradually downslope, rather than tumbling south, over the cliff, in spectacular waterfalls. The Mogollon Rim is the continental divide of Arizona.

The hike starts out by heading back down FR 391 for a hundred yards to FR 141H, then east down FR 141H for not quite a half mile. The low point in the road is Crackerbox Canyon.

Many of the canyons the various roads crossed are signed, as is East Miller Canyon, but Crackerbox is only signed on Rim Rd., not FR 141H. Turn north off FR 141H across the small meadow.

Once you are in Crackerbox Canyon, you simply follow it north for 4.7 miles to the intersection with East Miller Canyon.

The first three miles in Crackerbox Canyon, to the barbwire fence, are very mellow travel. For me the creek bed was totally dry. There are often shelves on either bank. There is minor dead fall here & there, but it easily avoided by switching to the other bank, or walking for awhile in the creek bed. The first couple of miles would make a great introduction to canyon hiking for kids.

If you do hike with kids, or don’t relish low crawling, in the dirt, under large logs, there’s a good bail out point about 2.5 miles down Crackerbox Canyon, where there is a good size meadow of ferns and false hellebore on both the east and west bank of the wash. Head west, across the meadow, and up hill 100 ft. to FR 501, following that back to the trailhead.

Crackerbox Canyon starts out so mellow, because it is shallow and it’s cross section flat. The barbwire fence is easily crossed. North of the fence, Crackerbox gets deeper (about 200 ft.), narrower, with steeper slope.

North of the barbwire fence, Crackerbox Canyon is frequently choked with deadfall and boulders. On rare breaks from crawling over, or under, an obstacle, there is running water or good size pools. You will not only get dirty, but wet as well. I wouldn’t want to be caught in there if there was a flash flood.

The far end of the loop is where Crackerbox Canyon empties into East Miller Canyon. Head up the steep 200 ft. bluff to your left (south).

At first, FR 501 was barely detectable. It was mostly grass. It was only after reaching the gateless barbwire fence — a continuation of the same fence down in Crackerbox Canyon — that I realized why FR 501 was so indistinct: It is being returned to nature. South of the fence, FR 501 was normal jeep trail.

From the top of the bluff, it is 4.3 flat shady miles south on FR 501 to FR 141H, then only another .40 miles east to FR 391 and the trailhead.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

Gate Policy: If a gate is closed upon arrival, leave it closed after you go through. If it is open, leave it open. Leaving a closed gate open may put cattle in danger. Closing an open gate may cut them off from water. Please be respectful, leave gates as found.

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

2017-09-18 kingsnake

    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 Review
    Crackerbox Canyon
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    Driving the west end of Rim Rd. is a pain in the donkey — literally, with all the bumps — and it took us 45 minutes to drive the 12 miles to Crackerbox Canyon.

    Like East Miller Canyon, Crackerbox has tons of elk sign, both scat & bones. I saw a vertebra and leg bone south of the barbwire fence. Just north of the fence, I found a nearly intact skull. Some of the skull’s structures had needle sharp points. I wrapped the skull in a mylar balloon I had picked up, then stuffed it in my pack. Sweet find. No way I was leaving it behind!

    As a result of negotiating Crackerbox’s obstacle course over the final 1.5 miles, I acquired my usual array of scrapes, bumps & bruises.

    It was a relief to reach the junction with East Miller Canyon after three moving hours. (Plus an hour of photos, GPS consultation, etc.) I took a sit down break on some rocks, enjoying a sandwich, vinegar chips — my fave! — and G-2 sports drink.

    After lunch, I looked up at the bluff. It was rocky, and steep, but not sheer like much of the previous 1.5 miles. It looked like there were a couple of routes up. I picked one, that turned out to be a bit of a water channel. It ended up taking me only 15 minutes to get to the top.

    Crackerbox has plenty of shade, so I was sweating more from the labor than the temps. Thankfully, the trek back south on FR 501 also had plenty of shade. It was also breezier on top. I thought I smelled smoke, or maybe cooking food.

    I heard, but did not see, wild turkey at Jiffer Tank. Just north of Tracy Lynn Tank, I saw a camper, which would explain what I had smelled three miles earlier.

    On the way back to AZ-87, we saw a number of hunters, on foot, in Razrs and on ATVs, both with firearms and bow & arrow. Is it turkey season? The shadows, glare from the lowering sun & dust on my windshield made it really hard to see the road, or the several oncoming vehicles going way too fast for conditions.

    Hike Video: [ youtube video ]

    Several trees at the intersection of East Miller & Crackerbox were turning straight to yellow.

    Permit $$

    Map Drive
    FR / Jeep Road - Car possible when dry

    To hike
    From Phoenix, head north on AZ-87. 2.6 miles north of AZ-260, turn right onto Rim Rd. / FR 300. I would not drive a car on it. In 11 miles, turn left onto FR 123. Take the very next left onto FR 141H. You will cross Crackerbox Canyon. You can park there, or continue to the next right onto FR 391.
    page created by kingsnake on Sep 18 2017 7:39 pm
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