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Willow Springs Canyon - Mogollon Rim
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mini location map2018-06-12
17 by photographer avatarkelly14
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Willow Springs Canyon - Mogollon RimPayson, AZ
Payson, AZ
Hiking avatar Jun 12 2018
kelly14
Hiking6.59 Miles 297 AEG
Hiking6.59 Miles   4 Hrs   21 Mns   1.91 mph
297 ft AEG      54 Mns Break
 
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Hiked Willow Springs Canyon yesterday and even though it was the hottest day of the year so far it paid off! Didn't want to park at the lake thinking it might be a zoo so instead parked at Rimtop Trailhead which worked out well there wasn't another car there when we started our hike.

The first leg of our hike was very very hot. You are in the woods but I think like others have previously stated the trees are thinned out in a kind of weird almost ugly way that doesn't provide much shade either. Eventually closer to the canyon we hit thicker forest which provided some well needed shade. Boy that area could use a prescribed fire though there was so many pockets of clustered small dried up ponderosas.

We kept trucking till we hit the little drainage that we wanted and followed it down to Paradise! aka Willow Springs Canyon. It was amazing down here. Creek was flowing the entire way and the water was nice and cold. Fish were literally jumping out of the water too. And at this point the west side of the canyon was completely shaded. It honestly felt 15-20F colder down here in the shade by the creek vs up top in the sun. On our way out we encountered 1 other hiker(which was a surprise)and a family fishing at the dam. The crowds never seem to leave the lake which is awesome.

On our hike back we just off trailed it and stumbled upon a huge grove of aspen (surrounded by tall fence to keep the elk out I assume) and spooked a herd of at least 30 elk! Lake 3 was bone dry but was an amazing beautiful meadow with aspens around it. And directly east of where we parked at rimtop trailhead was a beautiful patch of forest of firs and spruces with a little meadow in it that was spectacular! Saw it on google maps and had to check it out.

I would highly recommend this hike for the summer. 2 hours from phoenix and you are at 7500ft and have a flowing mountain stream? Heaven!
Fauna
Fauna
Elk

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max Willow Springs Canyon Medium flow Medium flow
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