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Willow Springs Canyon - Mogollon Rim
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mini location map2016-08-13
34 by photographer avatarALMAL
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Willow Springs Canyon - Mogollon RimPayson, AZ
Payson, AZ
Backpack avatar Aug 13 2016
ALMAL
Backpack10.00 Miles 439 AEG
Backpack10.00 Miles
439 ft AEG
 no routes
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
I wanted to explore this upper section of Willow Springs/Chevelon creek and thought this old road (now signed as bike trail) may be the ticket. I was the only vehicle in the trailhead parking lot Saturday morning. Launched the mountain bike and it was smooth sailing down the dirt/gravel road just at 4 miles to it's end. The road was nicely packed all the way. It was mostly flat and easy to navigate. My first glimpse of Chevelon Canyon was spectacular. I could hear running water already. There are a few nice, and one awesome campsite at the end of the road on the edge of the canyon. I quickly realized that the drop down to the creek was more drastic than I had expected. A quick survey on both side of the canyon junction and I did not see any sort of path leading down, probably because it's straight down... Finally, on the Willow Springs side, about 400 yards to the south, there was a faint path, maybe wash leading down. I probably should not have attempted this, but I did. Slid my way down to the creek and headed downstream.
You encounter the first remnants of black irrigation almost immediately. It is absolutely everywhere, on both sides of the creek and in the creek. I also came across 2 propane tanks, 4 plastic tarps on a hillside, a pump sprayer, and an empty bag of ammonium sulfate. I really could not believe how much tubing there is, all of it cut up. The water disappeared just a 100 yards before the confluence. I set up a quick camp at the end of the peninsula, then went further down canyon to explore. It was slow going with dry boulder hopping between game trails on both sides of the creek bed. Surprisingly, about a mile north of camp, the trails became very easy to follow. I could have continued on down but since I still had not reached more water, I went back. I tried my luck fly fishing before dusk and managed to catch 2 very small browns. Much like Horton, this creek is loaded with them. There were several deeper pools with numerous fish. Rain threatened but never fell. This area was incredibly quiet at night.
The hike up was brutal, and the bike ride back pleasant. With very sore quads, I have come to the conclusion that this entry point is not a viable option for through-hiking this beautiful stream system.
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ALMAL's
201 Photosets

  2017-04-19
  2017-04-06
  2017-04-01
  2017-03-25
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  2017-01-07
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  2016-12-23
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  2016-10-29
  2016-10-17
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