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  1. #1
    dejoha's Avatar
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    Arizona West Fork of Oak Creek - Trip Planning

    Okay, since no one else is posting this, I'm going to start it. I was serious when I said a let's do an HF group hang in the West Fork of Oak Creek.

    I just got off the phone with the Red Rock Ranger District and they confirmed that the fire ban will be lifted as of Wed, July 21, 2010. After that, we can build LNT fires 6 miles past the trail head. Camping is also permitted past the 6 mile mark.

    Basic trail information and directions are available on the Coconino National Park website. They also have a PDF download for the full trail. A bit more information is available on Hike Arizona.

    I believe Te-wa proposed hiking the entire trail and setting up a shuttle at the end. The Ranger said Forest Road 535 intersects the end of the trail, but other sources say Forest Road 231. I'm not an expert with these roads, but FR 231 looks remote, so getting a shuttle there will be tricky, I think.

    Overnight parking is permitted at the Call of the Canyon Day-Use Area, we just need to inform the attendant how long we are staying.

    For those considering the full trail, here are a few warnings I pulled from the PDF:

    • Swimming in at least 3 cold pools is required; a person must be a strong swimmer and well prepared. A floatation device such as a small inflatable raft, a river dry bag or two air mattresses works well. Water proof backpacks can also be used.
    • Only occasional sunlight reaches the canyon floor, a hot day may still seem cool. Make sure you have
    • Dry clothes and avoid hypothermia. This trip should only be attempted in warm weather (June through Sept). Do not attempt the trip if flood conditions are predicted.
    • There are miles of difficult boulder hopping which causing trauma to the knees and numerous deep pools need to be wadded causing a person to be wet and cold much of the time.


    The entire trail is listed as 14 miles long from Forest Road 231 to HWY 89A.

    Personally, I'd like to do the entire trip--swimming and all--but I have to be home Sunday, so this would have to be a Friday-Saturday trip for me.

    An option that might work for most people is that those who want the swimming would start the trip on a Friday from FR 231 and hike down the canyon to a pre-arranged half-way point. The non-swimmers could come up on Saturday and hike up from the parking lot off HWY 89A. Those that want to stay for an extended trip can camp Saturday night and hike out Sunday.

    That works for me, but not everyone can take a half- or full-day off on Friday. Another option is a Saturday-Sunday trip. I would still have to start on Friday, but we could still meet at a pre-arranged point.

    A full hike with swimming should be undertaken soon, while the weather is warm. The last two weekends in August work for me -- Aug 20-21, or Aug 27-28.

    Thoughts?

  2. #2
    Senior Member te-wa's Avatar
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    ok, two things. i quoted an ill informed statement, that fires are a no-no. this is true only for the first 6 miles in from the E. end.
    second, 231 is Woody Mtn. Rd, and is passable with medium clearance.
    good thing about 231, it is just outside the Red Rocks wilderness boundary, so no red rock pass needed. this saves $5 per vehicle, per day.
    the west side of fr 231 is actually Prescott nat'l forest.

  3. #3
    New Member fishcranium's Avatar
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    I just did this hike a few weeks ago. It was about 12 miles. The upstream most 5 miles are boulder hopping with a few long swims. The vegetation has overgrown many of the boulders making hiking quite slow and treacherous. There are some areas of thorny hiking. Folks with bad knees or ankles beware. The downstream most 7 miles are an easy hike for those that want to hike up to join those coming from the upper end.

    The pools are "refreshing" and some swimming in required so beware of hypothermia in the cooler afternoons of monsoon season. This is a large watershed and flash floods during monsoon season are always a risk.

    This hike is beautiful and there are some nice trout in the lowermost 6 miles of creek for those that are interested.

    If anyone has question, please feel free to PM me and I will do my best to answer them. I will see if I can find some photos.
    If I lose 12 more ounces in this pack and gear I can bring one more beer.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Roadtorque's Avatar
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    Sounds great. I will keep an eye on this thread. I'm planning a return trip up there so my wife can see the canyon. I would be up for a group hang as well. I dont think one weekend would be any better for me than the other so I wont cast my vote. Friday-Sat works perfect for me as I also have other obligations each Sunday. Although I want to do the entire canyon I need to take a look at my gear first. Thanks for getting this thread going. I've been meaning to get a summer hang together but have been to busy.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Roadtorque's Avatar
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    Just giving this a bump. I wonder if lack of thread activity means the dates don't work so well for people

  6. #6
    dejoha's Avatar
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    I was actually wondering if there was any further interest. Is there any interest in doing this before the summer ends?

  7. #7
    Senior Member Roadtorque's Avatar
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    If summer doesn't work for people lets keep this in mind for a fall hike. It should be amazing that time of year and we wont have to deal with thunderstorms. On the flip side the canyon temps would be cooler so a full canyon hike might not be doable.

  8. #8
    dejoha's Avatar
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    That works for me. When is the best time to catch the fall foliage in the canyon? If we move to fall, I propose we don't do the full canyon as the water temps will be much cooler; just hike up from the parking lot and find a spot 6-7 miles up the canyon?

  9. #9
    Senior Member Roadtorque's Avatar
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    I've only read that it is a beautiful hike in the fall time. I have not hiked it myself. Being from Flagstaff you might have a better idea of when the trees are changing color. I would guess towards the middle to end of October?

  10. #10
    dejoha's Avatar
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    I've only been in the state a little over a year, and I understand Sedona gets color at a different time than Flagstaff. Our spring is delayed by a few months, but I think our fall is sped up. In other words, I have no clear idea.

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