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Upper Miller Canyon
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mini location map2020-08-14
15 by photographer avatarkingsnake
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Upper Miller CanyonPayson, AZ
Payson, AZ
Hiking avatar Aug 14 2020
Hiking8.33 Miles 538 AEG
Hiking8.33 Miles   3 Hrs   30 Mns   2.38 mph
538 ft AEG
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
I have to take Miller Canyon in bite size chunks because it is a 13-mile canyon and a 26-mile round trip is wa-a-ay more than I could chew. No need to repeat my adventure in Willow Springs Canyon ( [ photoset ] ) a month ago. 👋

I started my hike, heading west from the trailhead into an intially steep, but short & obstacle-free draw. In 100 yds., I picked up an obvious old road, that is not on any map. The road petered out in a ¼ mile at a dry tank. Immigrant Spring is 200 yds. past the dry tank, amidst a dense patch of bracken fern, but I could not find it. FR 9366T is on the west side of Immigrant Spring. 🌿

The canyon bottom "downstream" of Immigrant Spring was dry, and there were no flowers.

The first flowers I found in upper Miller Canyon were coneflower, a ½ mile north of Immigrant Spring. I found tons more coneflower the next three miles to FR 141H.

After dodging a few minor obstacles the next ¾ of a mile, upper Miller Canyon opened up quite a bit. Halfway across the ½ mile long open area, I began encountering occasional small pools. (No flow.)

My favorite part of the upper Miller Canyon open area was a 200 ft. long section of exposed creek bottom slick rock. The slick rock marks two miles from the trailhead.

A ¼ mile after the slick rock, following the game trail, while passing by a dead tree trunk, I ducked my head under a branch … right into a swarm of bees. Holy crepe! 🐝

I got out of there quick, but deliberate, being careful not to wave my arms too much, not even normal walking arm swing. I thought I had successfully avoided the swarm, when I came upon the best coneflower patch of the day … where there were more bees. The bee area — marked on the GPS route attached below — is on the east side of upper Miller Canyon, so if I were you, would hike that section on the west side of the creek.

When I reached FR 141H, I’d been hauling a heavy elk rack with me for the past mile, and it was getting much warmer than I expected. (It was in the low 90s). After eating lunch in the shade, rather than follow the long & winding jeep trails on the west side of Miller Canyon, I instead took my more direct alternate route back to the trailhead.

I walked south, up FR 141H, which climbs 300 ft. in 1½ miles, before levelling out a bit. I was looking for a secure spot to stash the elk rack, but didn’t find an easy to spot, easy to remember, but well hidden, location until I came to the cattle gate where FR 141H intersects FR 320. I hid the elk rack behind a burnt log. 👀

The 1½ miles south on FR 320 back to the trailhead are nearly flat, rising only 80 ft. They are, however, quite rocky, so after rehydrating, I took my time driving back to the cattle gate to pick up my prize.

Hike Video:
Named place
Named place
Miller Canyon Mogollon Rim
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Moderate
Tons of coneflower, and plenty of Richardson’s geranium. Plus New Mexico checkermallow, Columbian monkshood, hoary tansy aster, towering Jacob’s ladder, western yarrow, western dayflower, hairy golden aster, and bull thistle.
_____________________ : Everyone's enjoyment of the outdoors is different and should be equally honored.
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