West Clear Creek Wilderness off Bull Pen Road East of Camp Verde, Arizona
West Clear Creek along West Clear Creek Trail
RV camping off Bull Pen Road
West Clear Creek Canyon from the east end of West Clear Creek Trail
West Clear Creek and the colorful canyon walls
West Clear Creek Wilderness features colorful red rock and sparkling clear water. The cool creek water is quite soothing on a hot day. You can wade and even swim where there are deep pools. Hiking, backpacking, fishing, photography, and just taking in the spectacular scenery are popular activities. There are a handful of great spots for RV camping along Forest Road 215 (Bull Pen Road) west of the wilderness area.
RV Campsite GPS Coordinates: N 34 32.734’ W 111 44.919’
Elevation: 3570 feet
Campsite Location: East of Camp Verde and just west of West Clear Creek Wilderness in the Coconino National Forest. My campsite is located where Forest Road 618 and Forest Road 215 (Bull Pen Road) meet.
I arrived here on April 21st and plan to stay until May 5th. This is a beautiful area in mountainous terrain and a convenient spot for accessing West Clear Creek and the wilderness area. The only downside is that traffic can be heavy along the road I’m camped off of, Bull Pen Road (FR-215). The traffic is mainly only a problem Friday through Sunday and when the weather is nice.
It’s about a ½ hour bike ride to the creek from here. West Clear Creek Canyon is awesome and the water is so clear, it looks clean enough to drink. I’ve only seen the wider western section so far; it’s definitely worth exploring more. The canyon gets very narrow, and I’ve heard you may have to swim through some deep pools to pass through.
Yesterday I biked from my campsite to the West Clear Creek Trailhead at the end of Forest Road 215 (Bull Pen Road) and did a 10 hour loop hike. I hiked east along the creek trail (West Clear Creek Trail #17) and north following the trail up and out of the canyon to FR 214A. I then took FR 214A west to FR 214 and then took this road to the Blodgett Basin Trail which led me back down to where I started; down in the canyon and next to the creek.
It was a tough hike, mainly because of the length and because the sections going in and out of the canyon had lots of loose rock. A hiking stick or trekking pole is a good idea here.
I had excellent views of the creek up close and from above, especially from the top of FR 214. Once I reached FR 214A I felt I was on top of the rim as I saw no higher mountains, and it was much more windy. It was also mostly flat. The forest is much thicker up here. There were no tall ponderosa pines, but many more trees than back at my campsite. At the eastern end of West Clear Creek Trail I could see where the canyon became noticeably more narrow; there was also much more red rock. It looks like a tough hike if one was to continue up the canyon heading east. There is no trail here, only the creek as a guide.
The hike was quite a good workout and my feet and legs were getting sore and weak near the end. It would be better to make this an overnight hike next time!
Weather: High close to 90, windy, and sunny. It was the warmest day so far this year here in Arizona. Yesterday was in the mid 80s, sunny, and windy in the afternoon.