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

Meadow Canyon WCC, AZ

Guide 20 Triplogs  0 Topics
  3.8 of 5 
no permit
225 20 0
Canyons are inherently risky. Flash floods occur without notice on sunny days. Technical skills & surrounding topography knowledge required yet does not eliminate risk.
View 5
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Difficulty 4 of 5
Route Finding 2 of 5
Distance Round Trip 8 miles
Trailhead Elevation 6,103 feet
Elevation Gain -1,000 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 10 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 13
Interest Off-Trail Hiking, Perennial Waterfall & Perennial Creek
Backpack Yes
varies or not certain dogs are allowed
editedit > ops > dogs to adjust
feature photo
Photos Viewed All MineFollowing
15  2016-08-19
White Box & Hanging Gardens of WCC
7  2015-06-21 CoryTallman
64  2013-07-04 GrottoGirl
49  2010-07-31 Vaporman
50  2010-07-11 Vaporman
15  2010-05-31 nonot
25  2009-07-12 PhilipMueller
author avatar Guides 15
Routes 5
Photos 926
Trips 53 map ( 310 miles )
Age 46 Male Gender
Location Tucson, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
Radar Map
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Preferred Jul, Aug, Sep → 7 AM
Seasons   Spring to Autumn
Sun  5:37am - 7:27pm
Official Route
0 Alternative

Meadow Canyon, Hanging Gardens, White Box & Out
by PhilipMueller

Likely In-Season!
Gear List General Canyoneering Gear: dry bag(s), grommets in your backpack, and water purification device (you'll come across plenty of water, so it's nice to lose the weight of carrying a lot).

Rappelling Gear: 100 ft rope, pull cord, descending gear, harness, carabiners, webbing, rap rings, and helmet.

Gear to acquire when the time is right, and nature provides: walking stick(s).

Meadow Canyon & the Rappels After you park your truck and reach the pond (see "Directions to trail" below) hike for about 20 minutes down a rocky streambed until you come to an intersection. At the intersection, turn left/downstream. You'll do a little boulder hopping and easy downclimbs for a bit until you reach an 80' dry fall. When facing the fall, you will see a relatively large tree to your left. We used this tree for our webbing. We used a 100 ft rope with a pull cord. Continuing down the canyon, you will enter a section where large boulders choke the canyon floor. Eventually, you will reach a 45-foot dry fall for your rappelling pleasure. We used a large boulder for our webbing. When you are done with that, you are back to some more rock hopping. You will come upon another approximately 80ft steep, drop. One in our group simply scrambled down this drop, another rappelled about 1/3 of the way, and then scrambled, and one used a hand line for about 1/3 of the way and then scrambled. We recommend either rappelling at least part of the way or using a hand line part of the way. After this, you can secure your rappelling gear because you won't need it anymore. The canyon will slot up moderately for a short while, and pretty soon, you will be splashing around in West Clear Creek (WCC). You will have done about two miles at this point.

West Clear Creek Get ready to be wet for a while! Also, get ready for the slippery bottom of WCC. It is time for you to look around for a sturdy hiking stick or two. We don't recommend bringing your poles because they will get in the way before this point. Fear not, nature WILL provide. For approximately the next two miles, you will be hiking and swimming upstream through the crystal clear waters of the creek. From time to time, you can walk on dry land, but most of the time, you'll be in the water. Use your dry bag as a floatation device. In early July, the water temperature was comfortably refreshing. Enjoy seeing myriad fish and crayfish until you come upon one of Arizona's Edens: the WCC Hanging Gardens. Others on HAZ have described that beautiful place, and it is truly amazing. (I always enjoy drinking water straight from the source, myself!) After the Hanging Gardens, you will soon come upon the White Box... essentially several hundred feet of deep water swimming through a narrow canyon. Shortly after the White Box, you will come upon the WCC exit for this trip. To your left, you will see a bus-sized slab of rock in the canyon with various root markings on it, and about a 100 yards up from that on the right is a distinct, steep chute out of WCC. You have done a total of about four miles at this point.

Voyage Home The hike out of WCC is quite steep with about 800 ft of elevation gain in approximately 1/4 of a mile. It is relatively straight forward, but in one stretch, the ascent will open up a bit to the right. Stay left to stay on the trail. Once on the rim, when facing away from WCC, you will see power lines in the distance, perpendicular to you. You will be standing on a road. Follow the road as it heads up a slight incline and meanders to the right and diagonally toward the power lines. You'll walk along this road for quite a while among a seemingly never-ending quilt of grass and junipers. Eventually, you will be walking parallel with/under the power lines. Follow this route to a small, wooded canyon (an eastern fork of Meadow Canyon). Drop into the canyon and then scramble back out. Soon you will see your truck by the gate. You have canyoneered, swum, and hiked about eight miles.

Conclusion WCC via Meadow Canyon is yet another amAZing adventure. It contains three distinct segments. In the first segment, you tackle some intermediate to more advanced rappelling opportunities in Meadow Canyon. In the second segment, you enjoy being wet most of the time as you head up WCC. In the third segment, you march and march some more back to your truck. If you parked under/near the power lines as we did, be careful when you get back to the truck. Ours was electrically charged when we came back, and it shocked the hell out of some of us!

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 canyon trip to support this local community.

2009-08-01 PhilipMueller
    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
    Strictly 4x4

    To canyon trip
    From Phoenix, take I-17 N to Camp Verde to exit 287. Turn right (E) onto Highway 260. Follow 260 to just before post 245, where you will turn left onto an unnamed dirt road. There is an unlocked gate that you will have to open/close. Once on the dirt road, take an immediate left and follow this rutted dirt track 1.2 miles until you reach the power lines. Turn right and follow the road that runs beneath the power lines. Drive about 0.3 miles under the power lines and then park near a gate that you will see to your left. On foot, open/close the gate and hike down a rough road about 0.2 miles to a pond. (Don't attempt to drive this little stretch. It is not worth it!) At the pond, look to your right and bushwhack your way into the rocky streambed. Let the adventure begin!

    Note: You MUST use a 4 Wheel/AWD, high clearance vehicle for this adventure. Also, we don't recommend driving these "roads" at night (as we did).
    page created by PhilipMueller on Aug 01 2009 10:12 pm
    90+° 8am - 6pm kills
    prehydrate & stay hydrated

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