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Box Canyon - Mogollon Rim
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mini location map2019-05-31
17 by photographer avatarkingsnake
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Box Canyon - Mogollon RimPayson, AZ
Payson, AZ
Hiking avatar May 31 2019
Hiking5.93 Miles 631 AEG
Hiking5.93 Miles   3 Hrs   4 Mns   1.93 mph
631 ft AEG
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
I always plan my canyon crawls so that the hard part is outbound, while the return is (preferably) on a forest road or (hopefully) an easy, unobstructed, canyon, such as nearby Fred Haught Canyon.

The drive in on FR 300 / Rim Road was the worst I’ve ever experienced. There were more, and bigger, pot holes, plus multiple deep cross cuts in the road. It was so bad that for the first time, I saw a “car not allowed” type sign at the turn off from AZ-87 onto Rim Road. Somehow, someone got a Fiat 500(!) — you know, with tiny kids’ tricycle tires — into Kehl Springs Campground. That’s nuts. Rim Road was so bad, we took FR 141H and FR 141 back to AZ-87 after I returned from my hike. Seriously, they ought to consider paving Rim Road. 🚜

Canyon crawling Box Canyon starts by heading out the back of the trailhead, past the fire rings, aiming for the low point in the terrain which, at the trailhead, is an almost imperceptible crease.

After a ½ mile, I started encountering small, shallow, pools with no trickle, which were easily avoided. The first pool was also where I spotted the first mylar balloon (of five on the day). God doesn’t pluck them from the sky, you know. I hope your Valentines Day sucked.

Box Canyon was so mellow, I was thinking I might skate all the way to General Springs Canyon. It did not help that I was misreading my GPS, thinking I had gone about twice as far as I had. At the ¾ mile mark, Box Canyon began tightening up, with deadfall, that at least initially was easily avoided.

A mile down Box Canyon, I came to the first pour. Though not nearly as large as the pour I found off McCarty Draw, it had an overhang and was too high for me to descend. I bypassed it to the right. The second pour is only 150 yds. further down Box Canyon. I bypassed it to the left, then backtracked to its base. The second pour was wider, higher, more verdant, and had a slight, but audible, flow. I had places to go, or I could have sat on the moss, under the overhang, all day. 😌

After a mile of canyon crawling, Box Canyon finally began opening up. A creek meandered between flat, grassy banks. I found a good back support rock, and sat down for a shady break. Walking on rocks, and limboing under deadfall, had my right knee aching. After some consideration, I decided to only do half my intended Figure 8.

From my break spot, the creek meandered back & forth across the cienega for the final ¾ of a mile to General Springs Canyon. I had to cross the creek several times, but I always managed to find a narrow spot I was able to step across. The pools also got larger, one of which had fairly loud flow.

When I reached the mouth of Box Canyon, I headed up a rocky draw. Though rocky, the draw was actually an easy ascent, and there were a number of large flat areas that would make great camp spots. I took my lunch break there. Two day old Arby’s Classic Beef & Cheddar never tasted so good! 🍔

Properly refreshed with a hiking beer — Newcastle Brown Ale, apparently now contract brewed by Lagunitas — I pounded up the 200 ft. bluff to FR 395, and two miles back to the trailhead in only 45 minutes, aching knee and all. 💪

Hike Video: [ youtube video ]
Fire Burn Area & Recovery
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Isolated
There may have been more mylar balloons than flowers.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Box Canyon Light flow Light flow
Lots of water in the small creek which flows through the cienega just above the mouth of the canyon. Some audible flow. Water looked pretty clear.
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