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Bell Trail to the Crack - Wet Beaver Creek
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mini location map2015-06-27
22 by photographer avatarddgrunning
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Bell Trail to the Crack - Wet Beaver CreekCamp Verde, AZ
Camp Verde, AZ
Hiking avatar Jun 27 2015
ddgrunning
Hiking7.80 Miles 520 AEG
Hiking7.80 Miles   3 Hrs   36 Mns   2.17 mph
520 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Our attempt to get out of the heat of Phoenix failed, since it was about 105 in Camp Verde. BUT, my two kids and I really enjoyed the creek and swimming at the "Crack." I can see why this is a very popular area. We followed the advice on the description to shoot down to the creek early on in the hike, and enjoyed splashing around in the redrock pools and hiking up the creek a bit. I think we kind of "jumped the gun" on going down to the creek and ended up doing a little unnecessary bushwhacking (no biggie), but there are several well-established use paths down to the creek, so next time we won't be in too big of a rush to go "off trail" to the creek. Hiking up the creek was fun, but the mossy rocks are slippery. This is the one time I wish I had brought a hiking pole for some extra stability.

Although we were a little loathe to leave the creek, we definitely wanted to check out the "Crack," so we forced ourselves back up to the trail and marched on. By comparison to the creek-hopping, we found the trail itself to be pretty drab (at least until you get to the wilderness boundary and the Sedona-like redrock hiking, as mentioned in the description). On a hot day like this was, it was very hard to resist the urge to keep going back down to the creek, where the scenery was much more interesting and the shade of cottonwoods and cool water of the creek were constantly calling. But, we had to be back in Phoenix by 5pm, so our time was somewhat limited. And, as we observed all manner of college-aged students attempting to lug full coolers and 5-gallon water jugs up the trail, we decided this "Crack" thing must be pretty darn cool, if these guys were willing to endure the pain-in-the-rear of awkwardly lugging such equipment 3+ miles on the hot, dusty trail.

So, we pressed on and were rewarded with the beautiful oasis that is the Crack. The water was relatively deep at this time (unlike the description), and cliff-jumping opportunities abounded in several places. As we expected, the place was full of masses of humanity, but we joined in and really enjoyed ourselves. Though, it seemed that we missed the apparent entrance requirement that everyone at the Crack have a tattoo of some kind. Really, it was quite striking to me the amount of "body art" strolling around.

Anyway, we jumped; swam; ate lunch; people-watched and generally lounged around till it was time to go. On the way back, we couldn't resist taking a detour down the Weir trail, which led to a nice, shaded area of the creek, with nice little dipping pools and plentiful shaded areas that would be great for a picnic and lounging by the water. Unlike the Crack, we had that area all to ourselves--except for the plentiful crawdads. ;)

The hike out was uneventful, though we came across a woman who had not brought enough water and was suffering a bit in the shade of a tree. I didn't have any water bottles, but had her drink as much as she wanted from my camelback. After the drink, she seemed in good spirits and was only a mile from the TH. She was waiting for her friend, who was a bit further down the trail to return, and was confident she could make it back, so we marched on.

A great, first-time trip to this area. Another one that is going back on my list for a repeat visit.
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