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Maxwell Trail #37 - 21 members in 72 triplogs have rated this an average 3.8 ( 1 to 5 best )
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May 19 2007
te_wa
avatar

 Guides 3
 Photos 977
 Triplogs 295

48 male
 Joined Aug 22 2003
 221b Baker St.
Maxwell Trail #37Payson, AZ
Payson, AZ
Hiking avatar May 19 2007
te_wa
Hiking0.70 Miles 700 AEG
Hiking0.70 Miles
700 ft AEG
 no routes
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
_____________________
:D
May 19 2007
braknstuf
avatar

 Triplogs 2

41 male
 Joined May 04 2007
 Phoenix, az
Maxwell Trail #37Payson, AZ
Payson, AZ
Backpack avatar May 19 2007
braknstuf
Backpack0.70 Miles 700 AEG
Backpack0.70 Miles
700 ft AEG
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Went with Mike on a group hike to Maxwell - Had a great time, drank a few beers, and ate well. This is a must see canyon, definatly a hike I will do again. The canyon was a bit crowded this trip but we managed to find a suitable campsite upstream.
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Sep 30 2006
Vaporman
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 Guides 2
 Routes 4
 Photos 8,687
 Triplogs 931

40 male
 Joined Mar 28 2005
 SLC, Utah
Maxwell Trail #37Payson, AZ
Payson, AZ
Hiking avatar Sep 30 2006
Vaporman
Hiking8.00 Miles 700 AEG
Hiking8.00 Miles   8 Hrs   45 Mns   0.91 mph
700 ft AEG
 no routesno photosets
Partners none no partners
I spent the night at the TH and then arose the next chilly morning, compared to PHX, and dropped down into West Clear Creek exactly where I left it when I did the Willow Valley loop two months ago. I hiked downstream past Tramway trail, FR 142E, Bear Canyon, and almost to Wilbur Canyon in the vicinity of where I hiked up from the Calloway Trail earlier this summer. There's a sweet side canyon just upstream from the 142E canyon with a dry waterfall and a half dozen good campsites in the area. The morning temperatures are getting cooler as Fall is setting in and the water is still very cold as always. Luckily, this section of WCC has good use trails and all of the pools can be avoided, making this stretch of the creek a great destination for backpacking. :D

I've basically explored most of WCC from Willow Valley down to the Calloway Trail, now I just need to venture more in the mid to lower sections from Calloway down to WCC #17.
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Yea, canyoneering is an extreme sport... EXTREMELY dramatic!!! =p
Aug 13 2006
Vaporman
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 Guides 2
 Routes 4
 Photos 8,687
 Triplogs 931

40 male
 Joined Mar 28 2005
 SLC, Utah
Willow ValleyPayson, AZ
Payson, AZ
Hiking avatar Aug 13 2006
Vaporman
Hiking9.50 Miles 760 AEG
Hiking9.50 Miles   7 Hrs      1.36 mph
760 ft AEG
 no routes
Linked linked
Partners none no partners
Another amazing canyon experinece up in the West Clear Creek Wilderness. :D We camped at Maxwell tank and hit the 'trail' about 7am on an overcast morning. The side canyon down to Willow Valley involves about a half mile of bushwacking thru thorny New Mexico Locust. Then you drop into the dry part of Willow Valley and hit the narrow section fairly quickly which has three swimmers. Even in the summer, a wetsuit is highly recommended. The canyon stays very narrow for the next couple miles, but is mostly dry and doesn't have any mandatory swimmers. Eventually the canyon floor widens up a bit, you hit more pools that can mostly be avoided, and the creek starts flowing (most likely due to springs feeding some of those large pools). There are many good camping spots in this area with a descent use trail along the side of the creek. The creek just keeps going and bending until you reach the confluence of Clover Creek. You head downstream a bit on WCC and find the Maxwell trail just before the creek bends to the left. We ran across a family at the bottom of Maxwell and the mother said the classic lines of "What are you guys doing?" and "You know you're getting your gear wet!", hehe. The hike out on Maxwell is steep, but is to be expected considering how high the canyon walls are. As we hit the rim, we saw a large thunderstorm dumping upstream from where we just were. :o We then hiked the remaining of the loop, 3 miles on forest roads, back to Maxwell tank where we left the truck. This has to be my favorite WCC route yet. I can't wait to get back up here and explore some more. I'm definetly doing this one again next year. 8)
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Yea, canyoneering is an extreme sport... EXTREMELY dramatic!!! =p
Jul 07 2006
blskywtwtr
avatar

 Guides 1
 Photos 19
 Triplogs 4

63 male
 Joined Mar 11 2006
 Phoenix, AZ
Maxwell Trail #37Payson, AZ
Payson, AZ
Backpack avatar Jul 07 2006
blskywtwtr
Backpack0.70 Miles 700 AEG
Backpack0.70 Miles      45 Mns   0.93 mph
700 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Backpacked in w/ my 9 y.o daughter the weekend after the 4th of July - only saw 2 other day hikers on our overnight. 20 minutes in, and 45 minutes out with a kid who did very well and can't wait to go back. Keep in mind this is a girl who likes to hike Squaw and Camelback / Echo.

Great campsites available on both sides of the creek. Fishing was unproductive with the tackle we brought, but we easily caught plenty of crawdads. It's easy to move up and down the creek for about 1/2 mile on trail, but turns into brushwhacking and streambed hopping in short order. The trail down is steep enough to get your attention, but short.

Waited out a rainstorm as we packed up Saturday afternoon. Remember the old Flagstaff adage; "if you don't like the weather, wait ten minutes". It worked. Timing was perfect for a dry exit.

Entry road 81E is great up to the Tramway trail / Maxwell trail fork, then it quickly turns rocky. 4wd not required, but that level of ground clearance give a lot of peace of mind for parts of the last 2 miles.
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May 30 2006
kylemorgan
avatar

 Triplogs 4

38 male
 Joined Nov 19 2005
 Raleigh, NC
Maxwell Trail #37Payson, AZ
Payson, AZ
Backpack avatar May 30 2006
kylemorgan
Backpack0.70 Miles 700 AEG
Backpack0.70 Miles1 Day         
700 ft AEG
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Had trouble finding the trail head. A few more "Y's" than listed. Beautiful views, sprained my ankle, had to leave a day early. Worth the drive from Phoenix. I am a literary genius.
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"Efficiency is for robots....be effective." Mike Rowe
May 29 2006
te_wa
avatar

 Guides 3
 Photos 977
 Triplogs 295

48 male
 Joined Aug 22 2003
 221b Baker St.
Maxwell Trail #37Payson, AZ
Payson, AZ
Backpack avatar May 29 2006
te_wa
Backpack0.70 Miles 700 AEG
Backpack0.70 Miles      40 Mns   1.05 mph
700 ft AEG
 no routes
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
upstream to a camp on Willow Creek. Nice temps and views. 1.5 miles one-way.
_____________________
:D
Apr 24 2006
desertlavender
avatar

 Photos 109
 Triplogs 23

65 female
 Joined Nov 29 2004
 Tucson, AZ
Maxwell Trail #37Payson, AZ
Payson, AZ
Hiking avatar Apr 24 2006
desertlavender
Hiking0.70 Miles 700 AEG
Hiking0.70 Miles2 Days         
700 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Maxwell Trail, April 22-23, 2006

The Maxwell and Tramway Trails take off northwest of Payson from Forest Route 81E. An azcentral.com article recommended these trails for a "less crowded, more intimate look" at West Clear Creek. We met two fishermen on our way down and didn't see another soul for the rest of the trip.

The trail begins by threading along a narrow shelf that drops 700' to the canyon floor. The towering sandstone spires and dense forest cover contrast sharply with the classic high desert environment on the west end of the creek.

Take note of the "double portholes" across from the Maxwell Trail outlet -- it's not easy to spot the trail from the opposite direction.

After a dry spring, the water was relatively low. Although there were numerous pools, many of them were a little skanky, but there were notable exceptions.

There is a faint trail that crosses back and forth across the stream, so we barely got our feet wet. Excellent campsites abound on gravel bars and stone shelves above the river.

About 3/4 mile downstream, a sizable canyon enters from the north. Just this side of the canyon, there is a large campsite under a rock overhang. There are countless petroglyphs at the base of the cliff, so it looks like this shelf has been a popular camping spot for many generations.

We should have passed the tramway -- an overhead cable that was part of a tram system used to stock the creek from the 1940s through the mid-60s. But there was no sign of the tram or the trail, although we did find loops of heavy duty cable on the south shore.

About two miles downstream, the trail disappeared and serious wading would have been required. We decided to backtrack and camp on the gravel bar by the first deep pool.

The return trip was easier than expected and only took us about 40 minutes. We profited by exploring the tip of the peninsula overlooking the confluence of West Clear Creek and Willow Valley.

This is a wonderful area that we will undoubtedly revisit in warmer weather.

P.S. Gourmet coffee has arrived in Payson. The Roadrunner is on the east side of 87 just south of junction with 260, and the Espresso Cafe is on the west side just north of the junction. The Roadrunner has outdoor tables and the Espresso Cafe is open on Sunday. Full story with photos at http://www.desertlavender.com/west_clear_creek/maxwell_trail.asp
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Sep 10 2005
AZOutdoorsman
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 Guides 3
 Photos 2,110
 Triplogs 113

male
 Joined Jan 16 2004
 Chandler, AZ
Maxwell Trail #37Payson, AZ
Payson, AZ
Hiking avatar Sep 10 2005
AZOutdoorsman
Hiking4.00 Miles 700 AEG
Hiking4.00 Miles
700 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Hiked a little ways downstream, upstream, and explored a side canyon. West Clear Creek is awesome! : )
_____________________
Oct 17 2004
te_wa
avatar

 Guides 3
 Photos 977
 Triplogs 295

48 male
 Joined Aug 22 2003
 221b Baker St.
Maxwell Trail #37Payson, AZ
Payson, AZ
Backpack avatar Oct 17 2004
te_wa
Backpack0.70 Miles 700 AEG
Backpack0.70 Miles      20 Mns   2.10 mph
700 ft AEG
 no routes
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
this trail ends at the bottom of West clear creek canyon, but we continued upstream for about .5 mile. There are a few scattered campsites near the creeks. One or more deep pools will produce trout, I caught a rainbow and Andrew cooked and ate it. The trip back up the canyon is shaded in spots, fairly steep but nothing to call difficult because it is so short. A good solid backpack for a lazy weekend, a group of five from AZW went on this one.

A side note: it is popular belief that you need a 4x4 to go up your driveway. This area IS passible with a passenger car, a pickup 4x2 is all you need unless it snows.
_____________________
:D
Oct 17 2004
fairweather858
avatar

 Guides 1
 Photos 303
 Triplogs 80

31 male
 Joined Jul 22 2003
 Scottsdale
Maxwell Trail #37Payson, AZ
Payson, AZ
Hiking avatar Oct 17 2004
fairweather8588
Hiking3.00 Miles 700 AEG
Hiking3.00 Miles
700 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Went with Mike, and really enjoyed the fall colors. The first of many hikes to come with the AZW gang
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No man should go through life without once experiencing healthy, even bored solitude in the wilderness, finding himself depending solely on himself and thereby learning his true and hidden strength

Kerouac
Apr 06 2003
Pitch
avatar

 Triplogs 1

38 male
 Joined Apr 07 2003
 Flagstaff, AZ
Maxwell Trail #37Payson, AZ
Payson, AZ
Hiking avatar Apr 06 2003
Pitch
Hiking0.70 Miles 700 AEG
Hiking0.70 Miles   2 Hrs      0.35 mph
700 ft AEG
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
This is a short but sweet hike. It starts at the rim of the West Clear Creek Canyon and drops feet to the West Clear Creek. According to the "Flagstaff Hikes" book all cars should be able to make it to the trailhead at the rim of the canyon but unless you have a 4wd vehicle you'll have to park about 2 miles before the end of the road because it got so rough. It ends up making the hike a bit longer but it's fairly flat and the scenery is nice. There are also a few side roads but as long as you keep taking the right fork your on the right track.
The trail drops down immidiately from the trailhead and follows along the sheer cliffside of the canyon profiding some beutiful views of the area. At the bottom, the shallow creek slowly meanders around each bend. If the temperature were a bit warmer it would make for a great swim at the end of a hike. The creek is shallow enough that you could most likely do a loop hike with the tramway trail which is only a few miles away. That would be a trip for later in the season though.
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average hiking speed 1.27 mph
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WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.

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