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Toms Creek Canyon to WCC, AZ

Guide 10 Triplogs  1 Active Topic
  3.6 of 5 
no permit
1 Active
59 10 0
Canyons are inherently risky. Flash floods occur without notice on sunny days. Technical skills & surrounding topography knowledge required yet does not eliminate risk.
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Difficulty 3.5 of 5
Route Finding 3 of 5
Distance Round Trip 13 miles
Trailhead Elevation 6,680 feet
Elevation Gain 1 feet
Accumulated Gain 1,000 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 8 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 18
Interest Off-Trail Hiking & Seasonal Creek
Backpack Possible - Not Popular
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Photos Viewed All Mine Following
Inaugural Calculation on Button Tap!
11  2020-07-11
Pivot - Toms - HnD - Corduroy
4  2015-07-25
Pivot Rock Canyon
14  2014-09-21
Pivot Rock Canyon
52  2013-06-19 Bradshaws
54  2011-04-16
Willow Valley
7  2009-08-09 nonot
Author nonot
author avatar Guides 93
Routes 236
Photos 2,001
Trips 479 map ( 4,543 miles )
Age Male Gender
Location Phoenix, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Apr, May, Aug, Sep → 8 AM
Seasons   Late Spring to Early Autumn
Sun  5:13am - 7:41pm
Official Route
0 Alternative

West Clear Creek the hard way.
by nonot

A trip down Toms Creek to Clover Creek and down Clover until you reach the confluence with Willow Valley and arrive in West Clear Creek.

This is a slightly challenging route and is entirely off-trail. You don't want to be in this canyon in a flash flood; check the weather report carefully for any signs of rain before you go. It will be easier going downstream than going upstream. There were no particularly difficult obstacles when the canyon was ascended mostly dry in early August 2009.

From FR142, walk the rancher's road to your north. You may see cows in the area (cows are not exceptionally bright animals, so don't spook them). The dirt road lasts about 3/4 of a mile and is easy to follow. Eventually, the road ends, and the canyon begins. It is relatively pleasant at first. The water is shallow and cool, and the trail is easy and obvious. You walk in grassy little pockets for a while.

Then, it gets harder. A few logs are strewn about, and some boulders block the canyon from time to time. You will have to scramble around them. After a short bit of this, the easy canyoneering resumes, and you are strolling along in the grass. A large open area is found to your right looking down the canyon, where there is a wide expanse of flat ground and one or two campfire rings.

Continue going down the canyon. Unfortunately, it gets tougher, much tougher. The rocks and logs get more numerous. The canyon gets a bit steeper. Bypass trails will help amongst the most difficult obstacles. Water appears infrequently. First, you generally see scuzzy pools, and then further downstream, it will be clear and flowing, and then it will disappear underground.

The canyon begins to twist and turn, the walls become higher, and eventually, you realize you cannot escape the canyon after you have gone two miles. The canyon bottom gets rocky, and you are scrambling along boulders and ledges. Finally, the last 0.5 miles before you reach Clover Canyon, decent game trails appear, along with an old cow skeleton. Use these trails and enjoy finally getting out of the rock-hopping creekbed. It is about 3.5 miles to Clover Canyon.

At Clover Canyon, the trail continues going upstream but doesn't follow it per this hike description. As soon as you reach the Clover Creek creekbed, turn left and rock-hop/bushwhack another 3 miles downstream until you reach WCC.

Water sources
Good water was found throughout the first 3 miles of this canyon. Near Clover and in Clover was dry until you got very close to West Clear Creek.

The wide-open field found about 1-1.5 miles in (you will know it when you get there, it's impossible to miss) and just upstream in Clover Creek where Toms and Clover meet are your only two real camping options until you reach WCC itself.

Note: It would be highly advisable to set out a shuttle and go out Maxwell trail. Doing this canyon in both directions is a bit masochistic.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

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

2009-08-09 nonot
    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
    High Clearance possible when dry

    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 nonot on Aug 09 2009 11:42 pm
    90+° 8am - 6pm kills
    help comment issue

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