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West Clear Creek Trail #17 / Blodgett Basin Trail #31

Trailhead: Bullpen Campground

Length: 12.7 miles roundtrip

Difficulty: Moderate

Wilderness Area: West Clear Creek Wilderness Area

Journal: "Intrepid Explorers", "Sterile Skunks" and "West Clear Creek Revisited"

West Clear Creek

Directions to Trailhead:

From Camp Verde, go east 5 miles on AZ 260 to FR 618. Turn north on FR 618 and drive 2.3 miles to FR 215. Go 4 miles east on FR 215 to the Bull Pen dispersed camping area. Park here.

Trail Description:

This is truly an incredible trip. Mainly moderate, with one very steep climb.

From the trailhead, West Clear Creek Trail #17 follows a very wide maintained path. Older guides describe the trail going around "private property". That has changed -- the state bought the land and now you walk right across it. About .4 miles in you will see and old cabin that has cactus growing from the roof.

At .8 miles, you will come to the first of four creek crossings. The water is usually cold and at least knee deep. After you cross, you follow the cairns as you walk through a rock area. The second crossing is easy to miss (we did!) But you should cross back rather quickly.

Following the north side of the creek, the trail wanders though a nice riparian area until at about 2.5 miles you cross back to the south side. The trail is a bit overgrown in this area.

The trail stays on the south side for 2.5 miles to the final creek crossing. This one was very tricky. Very deep holes were everywhere. You must pick your route carefully! After the final crossing, there are no good areas to camp, so you need to pick one before this point.

From the final crossing the trail pulls away from the water for approximately 1.2 miles. Then the fun begins! Over the next 1.7 miles, the trail climbs 1800 feet. It is long and up hill with nary a break and little shade, When you think you've reached the top -- Surprise! -- the trail drops down across a wash and starts climbing again. It took us 3 hours to do this 1.7 mile stretch. When you finally reach the end of West Clear Creek #17 at FR 214A, you'll be ready for a break.

Follow 214A 1.5 miles W to FR 214. Turn left of FR 214 and go downhill approximately 1 mile to the Blodgett Basin Trail #31. Blodgett Basin Trail climbs around a hill and then drops down into Blodgett Basin. The trail is very overgrown in the middle but has many cairns. It finally switchbacks down to the Bull Pen camping area.

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