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Upper Miller Canyon, AZ

Guide 1 Triplog  0 Topics
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Statistics
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Difficulty 1.5 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance Loop 7.21 miles
Trailhead Elevation 7,570 feet
Elevation Gain -460 feet
Accumulated Gain 538 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 3.5 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 9.9
Interest Off Trail Hiking
Backpack Possible - Not Popular
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15  2020-08-14 kingsnake
Author kingsnake
author avatar Guides 89
Routes 205
Photos 8,558
Trips 679 map ( 6,249 miles )
Age 58 Male Gender
Location Sunnyslope, PHX
Historical Weather
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Preferred   Apr, Mar, Nov, Oct
Sun  6:15am - 6:18pm
Official Route
 
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Coconino National Forest
Tiptoe Through the Coneflower
by kingsnake

Prologue
It wasn't until I got home from hiking the upper part of Miller Canyon that I realized my previous guide was only for the middle portion, not the whole thing. I consulted with Joe, and he left it up to me whether I wished to do extensive edits on middle Miller or create a new guide for upper. So, here we are!


Overview
Miller Canyon is a 14-mile canyon that flows downhill, north from the Mogollon Rim at Hi View Point to East Clear Creek, just downstream from C.C. Craigan Reservoir. Miller Canyon is bounded by Miller Ridge, Blazed Ridge, McCarty Ridge, and Battleground Ridge. FR 141H separates the 3.5-mile upper section from the middle section, while the junction with East Miller Canyon, separates the middle from the lower 6.0 miles.

Upper Miller Canyon is 3.5 miles of relatively easy canyon crawling. It is never more than 200 ft deep. For the most part, it is higher and steeper on the east slope, lower and more moderate on the west.

There is no pull-off spot on Rim Rd at Miller Canyon, but there are a couple of worthy places just up FR 320 from Rim Rd.

Hike
From where you parked, head towards Immigrant Spring, which is just over ⅓ mile from FR 320, at the bottom of Miller Canyon. From there, head north.

North of Immigrant Spring, upper Miller Canyon immediately becomes slower travel. Not tricky, or obstacle-filled, but not a highway either. That comes later. The vegetation was bracken fern and corn lily, with no grab & stabs.

Coneflower was by far the most common flower, though there was also plenty of Richardson’s Geranium and a scattering of other species.

After dodging a few minor obstacles, the 1¼ miles north of Immigrant Spring, upper Miller Canyon opens up quite a bit: Not a prairie, nor a cienega, but grassy & reasonably wide, with an animal trail that you can follow most of the next two miles to FR 141H.

FR 141H is at the four-mile mark of the Upper Miller Canyon hike, or 3½ miles north of Immigrant Spring. Either cross north, over the forest road, and begin middle Miller Canyon, head back the way you came, follow the gaggle of jeep trails on the west side of the canyon back to the trailhead, or follow FR 141H and FR 320 back to the trailhead. (Mileage and stats for the latter option.)

Check out the Official Route and Triplog.

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2020-08-16 kingsnake
    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 $$
    None


    Directions
    Map Drive
    or
    Road
    FR / Jeep Road - Car possible when dry

    To hike
    From Phoenix, head north on AZ-87, the Beeline Highway, through Payson, Pine, and Strawberry. (Alternately, take I-17 north, then AZ-260 east.) 2.6 miles north of AZ-260, turn right onto Rim Rd. / FR 300, which is currently in, by far, the best shape I’ve ever seen it. In 9.4 miles, just past Hi View Point, turn left onto FR 320. (The sign says “FR 320A”.) Park 100 yds. up, at a campsite. If it is occupied, drive another 200 yds., and park in the large clearing.
    page created by kingsnake on Aug 16 2020 12:00 pm
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