There is one swim about 1.5 miles from the road where FR95 crosses near the Blue Range reservoir, and some decent trail for the next 5ish miles. From there, east Clear creek gets significantly overgrown and wild on its way to Leonard Canyon, with some wades but no swims. There is one road at Mack's crossing that is your last touch of civilization. With them increasing their water pumping from the reservoir you will run into large dry stretches in summer, and have to deal with a variety of conditions by the time you reach Willow Canyon. From there are mixed conditions, and Grasshopper has a trail report from fall on about the next 6ish miles below Hamilton crossing. Below that I know of no hikers for the next 30ish miles - but it is pretty serious entrapment as it appears to be inescapable for long stretches. The lower section as it nears Winslow is going to require swimming, a lot, culminating in an option to swim around 1-2 miles for the last hurrah. There's some minor private property issues around the sinkholes area. The 50 miles on your map probably adds up to 80 if you take into account the meandering.
The walls do indeed get tall and more spectacular the further in you go. However you will get into some real remote and rugged territory - it is slow going in sections and lots of locust bush to keep you company and lots of flash flood danger in that long stretch in the middle.
Since you have no history of trips posted on the website, I will caution you that off trail backpacking is not for beginners, definitely it looks on paper to be a flash flood kill zone for the middle and lower sections, but also a risk of running out of water in the middle sections if doing it later in the season after the monsoons. Save this trip until you've got a good handle on things and have built up your strength and experience.
Last edited by nonot
on Jan 29 2018 10:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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