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Telephone Ridge Trail #103 - Chevelon, AZ

no permit
416 39 5
Guide 39 Triplogs  5 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Payson > Heber
4.1 of 5 by 16
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Difficulty 3 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance Round Trip 2.5 miles
Trailhead Elevation 7,200 feet
Elevation Gain -700 feet
Accumulated Gain 714 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 2
Kokopelli Seeds 6.07
Interest Perennial Creek
Backpack Yes
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Photos Viewed All Mine Following
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10  2019-05-18 LindaAnn
4  2018-08-18 topohiker
14  2018-06-26 topohiker
9  2017-07-08 topohiker
15  2017-07-02
Chevelon Creek
10  2017-06-25 arizona_water
14  2017-05-20
Chevelon Slim Jim
14  2017-05-20 John9L
Page 1,  2,  3,  4
Author AZHikr4444
author avatar Guides 7
Routes 0
Photos 632
Trips 83 map ( 529 miles )
Age 48 Male Gender
Location Cave Creek, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Jun, Jul, Aug, Sep → 9 AM
Seasons   Spring to Autumn
Sun  6:11am - 6:20pm
Official Route
2 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Meteorology Nearby
Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby
Beautiful Chevelon Creek
by AZHikr4444

Likely In-Season!
Telephone Ridge Trail #203 is a trail used mostly by trout fisherman, descending from an unmarked trailhead into Chevelon Canyon about 5-6 miles south of the Lake. The trail heads west from the trailhead, through some nice ponderosas before becoming exposed on the ridge. Be extremely careful coming down this trail! The actual trail winds down a series of switchbacks and at one point, the trail is completely blocked by down trees. It is actually necessary to do some crawling, but hey, you don't mind, do you? About 0.5 miles into the trail, another faint trail branches off to the right. If you take this trail (like we did) you will be following the ridge straight down 700 feet into the Canyon. It is fast and it is a dangerous drop on loose scree, so be careful! I would advise taking the left trail and continuing on the switchbacks. It is slower, and you may have to crawl once or twice, but it will keep you off the exposed ridge and away from the scree.

This was a perfect trail for my first overnight backpack in Arizona. It is short, but strenuous enough to test your resolve, perhaps leading you to question the sanity of lugging 35 pounds into the backcountry when you could be at home watching the Flintstones. With seasoned backpackers like Trish, Shi, her son Issac, and friend Chris helping me, this was the ultimate learning experience.

Okay, back to the hike. I can imagine at one time this section of Chevelon Canyon was breathtaking. While it still retains the natural ruggedness and beauty of the Rim, this particular area has a haunting quality due to the sheer number of downed trees. It seems as though a fire swept through close by, killing the trees but not burning them, so they stood dead until wind toppled them, domino style to the ground. After the trail drops into the Canyon, it merges with the Woods Canyon to Chevelon Lake Trail, meandering along this beautiful creek, through stands of bright green willow and towering rock ledges. There are many wonderful deep pools in Chevelon Creek, just beckoning for a swim. Supposed to be trout in there too! The more adventurous can continue exploring up or down canyon. We decided to camp directly below the ridge, where there is an established rock fire ring, and easy access to the water. The meadow was great for playing Frisbee, and numerous trees were available for a sunny afternoon hammock nap.

When you are all packed up and ready to ascend that thigh busting 1.25 miles to the top, look northeast for a saddle. This is where the trail will begin its switchbacks, and going this direction will keep you off that ridge. Believe me, it is still a good workout (especially with the crawling).

Don't forget to stop at Mad Dawg and Mels in Payson a greasy backpack burger and some sweet potato fries!

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

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

2005-05-15 AZHikr4444
    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 19 deeper Triplog Reviews
    Telephone Ridge Trail #103 - Chevelon
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    After a brief vacation in early summer, I decided to go back to graduate school (part time). So after work everyday, instead of reading and writing triplogs on HAZ, I do homework. Booooo.
    So all that to say, I'm finally starting to post some of my weekend hikes from the past couple of months!

    This was my first time to Chevelon Creek. It was wonderful. We spent Saturday night at the Chevelon Lake campground, hoping to use a fire ring under category 1 fire restrictions in Apache-Sitgreaves NF. However, when we arrived, the camp host had created handwritten notes on all the picnic tables that they were enforcing a no-campfire policy. Fair enough. As a side note, I was surprised by how many insects there were here. We were swarmed as we cooked up some carne asada tacos.
    Anyway...The next morning, we hiked down Telephone Ridge. We made our way along the creek for a short while until we found a nice spot to sit down with our feet in the water and read books while the clouds blew in. There were great flows in the creek.

    Note about the access road: it's in great shape. We took a low-clearance passenger vehicle on it, no problem. Of course, after some monsoon rains, it might be pretty rough.
    Telephone Ridge Trail #103 - Chevelon
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Headed back to Chevelon for what has turned out to be an annual event. A group of eight of us had a wonderful time enjoying this amazing canyon!

    Several of us met at the trailhead on Saturday morning and made the hike in. The Telephone Ridge Trail is very short with a solid drop into Chevelon Canyon. Once down we set up camp and spent a few minutes relaxing before making a day hike up canyon. It’s very easy going and very scenic. There are use trails along the shore for the most part but they thin out as you continue south. After a couple of hours of exploring we turned around and headed back to camp where we settled in for the evening with a wonderful campfire.

    The next day started slowly as we were in no rush. Everyone enjoyed breakfast around the campfire and then packed up camp. The hike out took more effort as you climb out of the canyon. It’s over by the time you have a good sweat going. We were all back to the trailhead by late morning and said our goodbyes.

    I really enjoy Chevelon. It’s a nice change of pace as this is a very easy hike. Thanks to everyone for coming out.
    Telephone Ridge Trail #103 - Chevelon
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Chevelon Slim Jim
    Another spring weekend at Chevelon Creek. This time I explored the fantastic Slim Jim Ridge, an unusually long, straight, and narrow butterknife ridge with fantastic views of Chevelon Creek below.

    There's an interesting structure at the top of the ridge that hasn't been used in several years. Perhaps Slim Jim used to live there!?

    I decided to wing it on the way back down, choosing a very steep descent across from Larsen Ridge into the lower part of Long Tom Canyon. As always, the creek route back to camp was perfect.

    Never any complaints here.
    Telephone Ridge Trail #103 - Chevelon
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Whitney & I were wanting a weekend away from husbands and kids, but weren't actually wanting to work too hard. I tossed out a few easy suggestions, and this fit the bill. I had not been on this trail since 2005 (although an unreliable source says it was 2007, but this is why he's unreliable), and didn't really remember much about it, but recalled that I did enjoy it each time I camped down here.

    FR119 has some deep ruts and holes, but is manageable when dry in a high-clearance vehicle, 4wd may be needed if wet or muddy. We got started around noon, it's a quick descent down to the creek, a little narrow in places but not bad, and picked a place to camp around 1:00. After that, we walked up and down the creek both directions from our camp, and I pointed out some of the other spots I've camped in the past. We also found some good places to bring the kids for swimming next summer. --Stats above include the mileage we walked along the creek.-- There are some fall colors, but they seem to be past peak already?

    After that, we sat around and relaxed, not doing much of anything, then made dinner, enjoyed the moon rise, and went to bed as the fire died down. We headed back up to the car shortly after waking up this morning. Not a bad climb out, but warm in the sun even though it was in the 50's. Very enjoyable quick overnight trip!

    Some color, but seems to be mostly muted/faded.
    Telephone Ridge Trail #103 - Chevelon
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Larson Chevelon Loop
    Nice quick overnight to Chevelon creek from the Telephone trail. Glad ALMAL was able to make it as we would have all starved without his monster catch! :app:

    Absolutely delicious fish and damn near 20" which is pretty good for a trout in my book. Surprisingly popular down there this weekend, with a non-wilderness-approved group of boy scouts, and at least 3 other groups of 2. Some possibly more amorous and revealing than others. :o

    I learned a lot about how to catch fish as well as those toys in the crane vending machines at walmart. Gonna put that to good use in the future! :)

    Saturday I headed upstream to Larson Ridge and hiked the ridge road for a while before dropping back down to the creek. Enjoyed a few miles along the creek. Multiple awesome fishing holes and campsites along the way. For the most part there is a use trail away from the creek that allows for fairly high-speed travel, but of course the highlights are along the creek, and that's a bouldery, slower-moving route.

    I now only have about 4 miles of Chevelon Canyon between Woods Canyon and the lake that I haven't hiked. Should be able to knock that out in a relatively easy day sometime.

    Good to see Joelle and Nick again, and to meet Darren. Thanks to 9L for the planning, yadda yadda.

    *stats are only for the saturday day hike as described and shown on the linked gps track.
    Telephone Ridge Trail #103 - Chevelon
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    We hit Chevelon last year and had such a wonderful time we decided to make a return trip with a larger group. We put together a great group of ten people and spent a night in the canyon with relatively perfect weather other than the wind.

    A group of five of us in two vehicles left Tempe on Saturday morning and made the drive to the trailhead. The road in is in good shape as long as you pick careful lines and avoid the handful of muddy holes. We met FOTG & Jackie at the trailhead and hiked down soon after. The hike in is very short but steep and only takes about 20 minutes. Once down we set up camp and settled in. From there Claire, Nick, Joelle & myself went down canyon for Chevelon Lake. We took our time as we took a variety of pics and took a break at the lake to enjoy a cold beer. From there we hiked back to camp & settled in for the evening.

    Once back at camp we met the entire group except Almal who was still fishing. He returned soon after carrying a large Brown Trout! It was an amazing catch and there was plenty to go around. I watched him clean the fish and then prep it for cooking over the fire. He added garlic, butter & seasoning and was cooking the trout soon after. The rest of us cooked dinner as well. Some people brought dehydrated dinners and others brought hot dogs. It was a very active scene with all the food over the fire. Once the trout was cooked we all dug in and it was spectacular! The catch was fresh and it tasted like Salmon. So delicious! After dinner we spent the rest of the evening enjoying the fire and cold beers.

    We woke on Sunday and had a lazy morning. Everyone made breakfast and then started packing up camp. From there it was time to hike back to the rim. The hike up is steep but fairly short. I would guess everyone was back on the rim before 11am. After that it was every car for themselves. Claire, Darren & myself made the drive out & made a quick loop of Woods Canyon Lake before returning to Phoenix.

    This was a really fun weekend with a great group and some mellow hiking. It’s a nice change of pace after hitting the LCR last weekend and carrying all the water. I’d like to return again next year but I want to camp farther up canyon. Thanks everyone for coming out it was a lot of fun!
    Telephone Ridge Trail #103 - Chevelon
    rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5
    So I contacted everyone signed up for this trip, and we agreed to postpone it a week.

    As it turns out, the trip went terrible, first of all the backpacking part was way too easy, down the short trail to a creekside camp. Then there was the horrible scenery, the old growth pines, the pristine creek with cool water, expansive meadows filled with wildflowers, who wants to put up with that? Then there is the fact that there is a pretty decent trail up and down the canyon, with access routes at Trail 180 and Larson Ridge. And it didn't even rain on me on Saturday. Glad all you folks avoided signing up.
    Telephone Ridge Trail #103 - Chevelon
    rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5
    Shortest backpacking trip ever~ and the hike to Goldstrike Hotsprings is really short.
    It was nice to have a short hike in to set up base camp so we could do some exploring in the area.

    Once we got settled in at camp we walked up to check out the lake. Along the way, we spooked a herd of Elk and watched them run away from us. We got to the lake and at some point, (since I was the only one who brought a beer) I decided to stop and enjoy the views with my beer. I sat there for a bit and took everything in while the others went on ahead a little bit. By the time they came back I had just finished up my beer and was ready to head back to camp with them.
    We got back to camp around 5PM and started a fire and had dinner. We stayed up for several hours drinking beer and burning some nice oak. lol. Oh, yah, -there also was some fishing at some point. 8)

    The next morning 3 of us walked upstream to explore while Kyle and Lilly stayed at camp. My Tevas are awesome for all the water crossings-Except- I did trap a minnow in one Teva during one crossing. :o
    The trip upstream has nice views, some more awesome campsites and nice pools of water.

    Back at camp we took our time getting packed, drank the last of the beers and drowned the what was left of our fire.

    This was a really relaxing, fun trip with great company- Id be happy to come back here again at some point
    Thanks Chumley for organizing this trip and for driving us :)
    Telephone Ridge Trail #103 - Chevelon
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    This was my first trip to Chevelon Canyon and I was blown away by the diversity and beauty of the area.

    We drove up on Saturday morning and were greeted to relatively heavy snow on FR300. The road was in decent shape and there was an endless parade of cars, trucks and RV's on their way out. We got a good laugh at a Honda Civic making for the exit. I thought for sure it would get stuck. Along the drive all of us thought to ourselves this might be a bad idea but it was fine. It helped that we followed FR169 farther north to FR119. We took FR180 out on Sunday and this road was a mud hole and slow going.

    We parked at the trailhead and snow was all over the place. The sun was shining through and melting the snow fast. We made a muddy decent down the Telephone Ridge Trail and selected the campsite to the right. We set everything up and then made the walk down canyon to Chevelon Lake. The going is relatively easy and we passed a herd of 20 female elks. The lake looked so inviting for swimming and I wish I had a kayak. We eventually returned to camp and set in for the evening with a fire and good beer and good company. It was a little chilly away from the fire but I expected much worse.

    The next day was a relaxing morning. We all woke on our own and chilled around the fire. Around mid-morning Chumley, Claire and I hiked up canyon. This was another relaxing hike and you have to cross the creek a few times. We all ended up getting our feet wet because it was much easier and quicker. At roughly 1.5 miles up canyon Chumley took off for the rim to explore an exit route. Claire and I continued another half mile and found more cool campsites with log couches and good fishing/swimming hole. I could spend days down here!

    Later in the day we all regrouped at camp and then packed up and made the hike out. The hike back to the truck was only 1.2 miles and about 800 ft up. We all joked that this is the shortest backpacking trip we've ever done. It was well worth it!
    Telephone Ridge Trail #103 - Chevelon
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Super fun overnight in an amazing location. The drive in was an adventure with as much as 6 inches of snow. All the roads up there are completely destroyed. The rim road will be an absolute mess until it gets graded again. The car wash attendent is gonna hate me tomorrow. :y:

    By the time we got to the trailhead, we had dropped enough elevation that the snow was patchy, and the hike went a bit slow due to the snow and mud. But camp was set up quickly and we tried our luck at fishing, but the midday light wasn't good so we headed downstream to the lake. There are two creek crossings but we managed both without getting wet. A few hours later, 9L and I tried our luck with the fish again, and this time luck was on our side. 9L struck first, and I followed up just a few minutes later! Woot! Dinner! :y:

    In the morning we headed upstream and I investigated the Larson Ridge route that ALMAL had inquired about. Nice to know of alternative access point. Plenty of camp sites down here, and the first couple miles south was reminiscent of the Houston Brothers trail. I should come back here more often :)

    Permit $$

    Map Drive
    High Clearance possible when dry

    To hike
    Take 260 east from Payson approx. 29 miles to the Forest Road 300 (Rim Road) turnoff. Take a left, and follow FR300 for approximately 8.5 miles. Take a right onto Forest Road 169 for another 7.0 miles. Watch for the turnoff for Forest Road 119 and take a right. Only a small brown sign marks this road. Follow 119 for approximately 3 miles, being careful to follow the arrows at the junction with FR180. Forest Road 119 is a dirt and very rugged road. It is not strictly 4 x 4, but a high clearance vehicle is required, especially to negotiate the puddles over the last 1 mile.
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