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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.

Kinder Crossing Trail #19, AZ

no permit
514 68 3
Guide 68 Triplogs  3 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Payson > Clints Well
3.6 of 5 by 26
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Difficulty 2.5 of 5
Route Finding 2 of 5
Distance One Way 1.95 miles
Trailhead Elevation 6,914 feet
Elevation Gain -535 feet
Accumulated Gain 584 feet
Avg Time One Way 1 - 2 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 3.9
Interest Perennial Creek
Backpack Yes & Connecting
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Photos Viewed All Mine Following
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35  2019-09-01 johnny88
10  2019-07-22
Kinder - ECC - Yeager
12  2018-04-25 Stoic
8  2016-09-05 arizona_water
9  2016-08-31
Kinder Horse Loop
25  2016-07-16
ECC-Horse Crossing-Blue Ridge Loop
5  2015-09-12 friendofThunderg
39  2015-05-29
Kinder Crossing Trail #19 - East Access
Page 1,  2,  3,  4,  5
Author Paintninaz
author avatar Guides 1
Routes 2
Photos 51
Trips 192 map ( 1,790 miles )
Age 56 Female Gender
Location Phoenix, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   May, Jun, Aug, Sep → 10 AM
Seasons   Late Spring to Autumn
Sun  6:12am - 6:22pm
Official Route
6 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Geology Nearby
Meteorology Nearby
Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby
Deep in the Arizona Forest
by Paintninaz

Likely In-Season!
Page stats reflect full the true one-way trail from the popular western trailhead to the less used eastern trailhead. The popular out-n-back hike from the western trailhead to the creek and back has nearly identical stats.

Looking for a "beat the heat" getaway? Try Kinder Crossing Trail # 19 in the cool pines North of Strawberry/Pine. A group of us went up on a mid-August Sunday morning and spent the day hiking, playing in the water and just enjoying the cooler temps.

The trailhead at the top of the canyon is well marked and points you to the right across a small meadow of fallen trees to where you will begin your descent into the canyon. This first portion of the trail is pretty easy as you gradually slope down the canyon. There is an overlook point where you can get a good glimpse of your destination point, East Clear Creek, below. From this point it sure looks like a long ways down! As the trail continues on, the terrain becomes a bit more rocky and the grade a bit steeper, the trail then turns into a series of switchbacks which are lined with boulders and large slabs of rock, all of which remained steady and didn't pose any slippery footing problems for anyone in our group. Almost before you know it you're at the bottom of the trail and are greeted by a picturesque creek surrounded by steep canyon walls, awesome rock formations and a beautiful little swimming hole!!

The trail continues to the left along the creek a little ways, and with some searching through the bramble patches crosses the creek. Here we found a couple of large webbed cocoons, which proved useful as markers for us on the return trip as the crossing is even less distinguishable from the other side of the creek! Once across the creek, several larger swimming holes offered even more picture opportunities and tempted a couple of our group members to shed their shoes and test the waters. WARNING: the crawdads in these waters were very aggressive and on the attack, make sure to count your toes when you've finished swimming! With the canyon walls and the creek on one side of you, the other side provided a campground and a large grassy pasture and what appears to be the remains of a house foundation, just enough to stir up the imagination!

Follow the little marked trail back to the creek, and allow several attempts to find that crossing and you're back at the base of the trail looking up at what will become the actual "hike". Sure you came down that way, it seemed short, remember? Well, the trek back up is a bit more work, making you glad it was a short trail after all!

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

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2002-08-20 Paintninaz
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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 of 20 deeper Triplog Reviews
Kinder Crossing Trail #19
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Kinder Horse Loop
Had to be in Pine this a.m. so I decided to drive a little further north and hike this quick loop with the pooch. Conditions were perfect and in the 60s upon arrival. The road to the Kinder TH (95T I believe) was a little muddy but in good shape for this time of year. The trail is in good shape as well. We had a few bushwacking sections as we made our way along ECC, nothing to obstructive though. Lots of water present and the creek is lined with various wildflowers. Had a few wet crossings along the way. Rosie was in heaven chasing bugs and splashing around. Some intimidating looking clouds scooted by us but stayed far enough to keep us dry as we exited the canyon. The road walk back to the vehicle was enjoyable. Didn't see a single camper, hiker or even vehicle all day. Nice to have a busy place all to ourselves. FR513B was in bad shape being rutted out and full of big puddles. Cows everywhere too. Made it back to the vehicle as the skies really started to get dark. Got to the 87 in time for a downpour that lasted almost until Strawberry. Well timed and a gorgeous day along ECC.
Kinder Crossing Trail #19
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ECC-Horse Crossing-Blue Ridge Loop
I threw out a bunch of options this week and this was the one that stuck. The 6.5 mile drive on FR95 is more like the I-95 "expressway". You could probably drive a sports car on it right now.

Tall Pines and water were the theme for the day. We were the first vehicle in the 17 space paved parking. We were in the creek almost immediately. For the first 6.8 miles, we were able to cross or bypass water, never getting deeper than our knees. The Canyons and views are real sweet here. At about the 4 mile mark, you hit the western section of the Kinder Crossing Trail #19. surprisingly, we never saw anyone here.

At Horse Crossing Trail #20, Chums topped off his water and we made the short lived .8 mile 500+ ft climb to FR513B above.

Next it's off to the Moqui Lookout tower. We had a discussion with Forest Service Law enforcement as to why the road/gate was closed to the tower. We determined that no "Suspicious Package" under the lookout tower was going to stop us. The Suspicious Package ended up being someones lunch.

The views from this tower were especially good. Some of the best I've seen from this Keeps 132' tall, 14' x 14' perch.

The potentially tricky part of the day was next. We had to scrabble off the top of the Rim and get down to the CC Cragin Reservoir. Chums overlaid the Property map on my GPS track and we were able to skirt the Private Property and find an old unmarked "use road", I'd seen on the Satellite Views. It worked out better than expected.

We stopped and checked out the Blue Ridge Dam for a bit and made our final push down ECC back to the vehicle. On this stretch, we had out deepest crossing of the day, up to our waist. The 2.5 miles clicked off pretty quickly.

Temps on the Garmin recorded 70 for a low, to the mid 90's a few times on the day. When in the wind, shade and/or water, it was very comfortable.
Kinder Crossing Trail #19
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Wanted to get a quick hike in before the thunderstorms fired up. It's been about five years since I last did this trail and it was nice to come back. A real scenic spot along East Clear Creek awaits at the bottom. I tried to do some exploring up and down the creek, but brush blocked both directions. Didn't want to turn a quick hike into an all day affair, so I hung out at the bottom for a while then headed out. Lots of crawdads in the creek.

Quite a bit more than I was expecting
Kinder Crossing Trail #19
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Kinder Horse Loop
Nice day spent in the high country. Our original plan was to follow East Clear Creek to the north and return via the Horse Crossing Trail. We started hiking up the creek and found the vegetation very thick and difficult. On top of the that the creek was flowing high and fast. We decided to change our plan and make a loop using forest roads. This turned out to be a great option. This loop involved Kinder Crossing and Horse Crossing. We had to cross the creek twice and the water came up to our thighs. It was very cold, my legs were numb by the time I reached the other side. Besides that everything was straightforward. The trails leading to and from both crossings are in good shape and easy to follow. They're steep though. Nice day in the cooler temps!
Kinder Crossing Trail #19
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Kinder Horse Loop
Planned on doing a loop utilizing the Kinder and Horse Crossing trails across East Clear Creek. From what I had read, I didn't expect to find a route at all on the two eastern trails, but was pleasantly surprised to find both trailheads signed and both trails well-marked, well-traveled, and well-maintained.

I didn't remember there being so much water, but didn't realize how much higher it was until getting home and looking at photos from previous trips. I'm not sure where the water is coming from--it hasn't rained up there in several days, so it wasn't recent storm runoff, and the reservoir is nearly empty and is not feeding the creek. Whereas previous trips you could cross the creek by rock-hopping, this time required wading in water over waist deep and fighting a surprisingly strong current. The strong current resulted in a dangerous mishap to one of us, but I'll let him explain it in his own triplog.

The roads used to make the loop connections to the two trails are pretty boring but go by fairly quickly. We missed where the trail crosses the creek at Horse Crossing, but managed to get across just about where it starts heading up the east side. I went back to find where we were supposed to cross and found the spot, but there is no way I would have tried to cross there. The depth and current made it unsafe. Where we crossed was a bit wider and just shallow enough to keep the boys dry. Which was important as the water was Colorado River cold. 9L and I both had numb legs and feet after crossing -- after just 15-20 seconds in the water. I know it was not over 55, and may have been in the upper 40s. That was very surprising to me for mid-summer up there!

All in all a great day though. Better than the other hike alternative proposed for this weekend!
Kinder Crossing Trail #19
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Heading back to Tucson from Flagstaff, I was determined to hike Kinder Crossing. Parked on FR 95 at the turnoff for Kinder and started hiking down the road at sunset. Took a swim in East Clear Creek at dusk and then hiked back out. Made it home at 1:30 am, thus ending an 800 mile, 52 hour road trip. Rolling into work 7 hours later was painful. Great trip!

Flagstaff road trip, hike 4 of 4
Kinder Crossing Trail #19
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Having concluded my Tramway-Maxwell trip early in the day, I journeyed east to the western trailhead of Kinder Crossing Trail. I quickly reached the deserted canyon bottom, where I roamed around for a bit, checking out the grassy flat and a bit of Yaeger Canyon. I went for one last swim in the big pool at the foot of the trail, then climbed atop a boulder. A hummingbird buzzed past. Noisy birds called from the cliffs. Puffy clouds floated overhead. I was totally at peace. It had been a great weekend.

After hiking out, I stopped for dinner at Long Valley Cafe in Clints Well. Good food, and a great trip.
Kinder Crossing Trail #19
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East Clear Creek Kinder Loop
I've been wanting to find the eastern trail and TH for Kinder Crossing since my last attempt in 2010. Also wanted to see some more of the East Clear Creek area, because it's pretty special.

I saw an old trail line on the MyTOPO layer that looked like it should be the eastern trail out of East Clear Creek. I drew it up in Route Manager, loaded it in my GPS, and hit the road.

Funny thing happened (at least for me) if you make the drive to the East side of East Clear Creek, you can actually follow signs to the Eastern TH. :sl: . What a novel idea! The road you take to get to the TH does not show up on TOPO maps, but is very obvious in Satellite view.
The trail I'd drawn up off of MyTopo was in an entirely different location. That'll have to wait for another trip up there to see if it exists.

The trail down the East side of Kinder Is well signed at the top, Cairned getting down to the creek. If someone was trying to find this route going up from the creek, it would be near impossible without a GPS track.

The views for the walkabout in the creek were superb. Green everywhere, water everywhere, high canyon walls with interesting rock formations, just a pleasant walk downstream going North. We passed up numerous top notch empty campsites and only a pair of fishermen for humans on our almost 6 mile walk in the creek.

Most of it was actually not IN the creek. There were game/fishermen's trails most of the way. There were only a few spots North of Horse Crossing Trail, where it was mandatory to walk in the creek. I'd suggest that if you go, plan on crossing the water and getting wet. It takes less time than looking for a dry spot to cross and sooner or later you are going to get wet. Nothing was deeper that calf high.

We found one campsite where someone had taken a lot of time to make a crayfish catcher and fish spear.

On the Northern end of our loop, we exited the creek to the west and followed FR's back south to the Kinder Crossing Trail. Kinder Crossing is a special area down by the creek. It can also be popular with non-hikers in street shoes.

I was glad to finally be able to find the eastern Kinder Crossing Trail and enjoy another day in the East Clear Creek area. Thanks for joining my Joe, and for not even once complaining all day.
Kinder Crossing Trail #19
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Kinder Clear Creek Kaboodle
Bruce put together a nice loop through East Clear Creek which I've never hiked. We started on the east side and were surprised to find Kinder Crossing Trail #19 has an eastern trailhead.

We hiked 0.5mi down to the creek. Then followed 5.6mi NE before taking out on the left. FS roads were followed back to Kinder TH and down #19. Bruce completed the creek stretch and I took an elk route directly up.

I'm excited to have finally learned up a little on this area. The thick pine scented forest upon arrival was memorable. The bottom of Kinder has the most character hands down. It gets a solid 4 out of 5 hazopelli, the rest of the creek is more in the 3 range for myself. The further NE we went the canyon seemed to get less exciting. What it does offer is more oaks and I imagine Autumn is special. I most enjoyed crossing paths with several feeder springs and some magnificent pines in our journey!

I'll go with moderate. Wild Bergamot was seen throughout the hike and heavy in areas. Brown Eyed-Susan or similar was noted on occasion in addition to hemlock and several others.
Kinder Crossing Trail #19
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This hike may have been short but it was awesome compared to our Dane Canyon hike this morning! Once down to the creek we continued downstream a ways to find a location where we were alone and could just lay down on the 'beach' of stones and breathe in the sights and sounds. The very high gusts of wind added to the outdoorsy feel. If we had stopped here on the way to Dane we may have stayed in the area the whole day. We'll probably be back again, only during the week or a less popular time of the year as it was pretty busy. (And I can understand why)

Permit $$

Map Drive
FR / Jeep Road - Car possible when dry

To hike
From Strawberry, drive north on Hwy 87 just past the Blue Ridge Ranger Station. Turn right (south) on Forest Rd. 95, follow this dirt/gravel road 4.2 miles to the signed Kinder Crossing Trail turnoff then turn left. Continue on this dirt road about another 0.75 miles to the trailhead sign.
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