West Clear Creek Hike near Strawberry and Pine, Arizona

August 18, 2010

So as it typically goes during summer in Arizona, it was HOT and we were itching to get out of town and cool down. After picking up a copy of Phoenix Magazine’s Summer Hiking Guide, we started looking at some places we thought we could head to for a day trip.


I’ve never been up toward Payson, so decided to check out the area around West Clear Creek, slightly past Payson close to the towns of Strawberry and Pine (sounds like they should join forces and develop beauty products). One hike really stood out to us, called Headwaters Trail. The photo in the magazine was taken at the bottom of the canyon looking up at the lush, green canyon walls and the shear sandstone cliffs. Sign me up!

So on Sunday, we woke up and dressed in shorts and short sleeves and packed our Camelbacks. We drove out East on Shea through Fountain Hills, catching the Beeline Highway (AZ 87) up to Payson. The clouds were rolling in fast and sure enough, it started to rain. Then it started to REALLY rain and we almost couldn’t see the car in front of us. It was beautiful! The desert was a vibrant green you would never expect in the middle of summer, plus with the mountains and the rain it could have been anywhere BUT Arizona.

Arizona Desert Rain

You would never expect to find a canyon in the middle of the forest. I guess that’s what the pioneers were thinking when they came to the Grand Canyon (hopefully during the day). We parked in the completely deserted “parking lot” and realized it was going to be a lot cooler than we had anticipated. Oops. It was still drizzling slightly and would stay that way the entire day, but it was so refreshing to breathe in CLEAN air and feel COLD!

The descent into the canyon was just like the magazine said…insane. But the end result was completely worth it. I think the photos describe it better than I can…

West Clear Water Creek Canyon

West Clear Creek Canyon

Crossing the "Bridge"

Crossing the "Bridge"

Posing in the Rain - West Clear Water Creek

Posing in the Rain

Making the Almost Vertical Trek Up

Making the Almost Vertical Trek Up



Playing with Macro

Playing with Macro

Where to next?


One Response to “West Clear Creek Hike near Strawberry and Pine, Arizona”

  1. spacephx said

    Thanks for the great photos and info. I definitely need to add this to my list of destinations!

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