The heart of West Clear Creek
Gaining access to the trail head is perhaps the hardest part of the Calloway Trail. Although, after descending 700 ft. in a half mile of trail, the canyon bottom offers challenges of its own.
The Calloway Trail takes you into the central portion of West Clear Creek. Rewarding you with its twisting path downstream to serenity, solitude and canyoneering fun. Coconino sandstone walls encase the lush canyon. The clear cold water invites only the hardiest canyoneers.
Once on the canyon floor you will find yourself at a very shallow part of the creek. Don't be fooled, deeper water awaits downstream. Some of which can be avoided by finding the rudimentary trail that peaks out here and there. We did this as a day hike so we didn't get to go as far as we would've liked, but as for pure canyon splendor, this part of West Clear Creek Rocks!
For the hardcore adventurous types, this trailhead is a good staging point for through treks to Bull Pen or upstream to the Maxwell #37, and Tramway #32 trail heads, or even up to the headwaters of West Clear Creek, Clover Creek and Willow Valley. Mind you you'll be out a week for either of these treks.
Canyon wildlife abounds here, supporting everything from the abundant crawdads, trout, lizards and birds to mountain lion and bear. As with any remote canyon area be careful, rocks here are slippery. If you get injured down in here, you'll have a ways to go to get help or medical attention due to the back roads and the canyon itself. As always pack out what you pack in and pack out any garbage that you see. Please don't build fire rings and scorch the awesome coconino sandstone like some idiot did down here and destroy fire rings if you see them anywhere. They become trash cans for more stupid people. "Boy these beer cans sure are heavier when they're empty, better leave em' here in this fire ring along with the cigarette butts so the forest service trash collection can pick it up." Enough said, have fun and take care of yourself and the canyon.
Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.
Coconino FS Details
The Calloway Trail starts at the north end of the parking area where it affords a good view into the steep-walled canyon of West Clear Creek. Some of the rock strata visible from the rim includes limestone laid when the area was covered by a shallow sea, and sandstone, the result of deposition as ocean sediment and eolian (windblown) accumulation. Notice the cross-bedding apparent in the wind-deposited sandstone. The vegetation on the north-facing slope of Douglas fir, ponderosa pine, and Gambel oak stands in contrast to the vegetation on the hotter and drier south-facing slope across the canyon. Once at the bottom of the canyon, it is possible to access areas up and down stream by wading and boulder hopping. The vegetation near the creek consists of riparian species such as cattails, locust, wild grape, willow, box elder and poison ivy. Learn to identify and avoid this three-leaved plant. The creek provides habitat for suckers, blue gill, and trout.