Sunday, November 29, 2015

Desert Swimming Hole!

While in Camp Verde, Arizona, I decided to research desert swimming holes.  West Clear Creek is the most popular one for the area and you'll soon see why!  To get there you travel east from Camp Verde on Hwy. 260 about 6 miles.  You turn left onto FR 618 and travel about 2 miles through the desert on a dirt road.  You'll then turn right onto FR 215 going about 3 miles over ridges and down through desert valleys to discover what is known as the Bull Pen and West Clear Creek Wilderness Area.  You will end up on the creek's edge with easy access to the water.  
Here is the road in on FR 618.
This is further in and probably on FR 215.  We were glad to be in our pick-up truck to cross the dry rocky stream bed at the bottom of this hill. 
About the time you've crossed a few desert ridges and valleys and start to think you're getting a little too deep into the desert, you come over a rise to see this beautiful green canyon valley!
 Here is the road descending into the canyon!
What a cool refreshing treat to see West Clear Creek running below this canopy of trees!  This fast moving water goes to the right of a small island.  It is almost magical!
This calmer part of the creek runs to the far side of the island.  It looks great for putting inner tubes in on a hot day!  Our dogs seemed to realize how special the water was and enjoyed some romps and swims. 
Roy enjoyed some wading, too!
This area of the creek just upstream from Roy appeared to be at least 5' deep and adequate for our swimming needs.  There were several areas along the creek where groups could park their vehicles and have their own private niche for swimming and having a picnic.  A portion of the creek is maintained as a day use area and two restrooms are provided. 
All along the creek are wonderful pools to discover and hiking trails are provided.  On the left end of the day use area is this gate.  If you are up to a 2/3 mile hike, there is a trail leading back to a 20' deep swimming hole!
Here is an Internet picture of the deep swimming hole.  There are high rock ledges to jump from!  We didn't realize at the time that this swimming area was available, but were so thrilled with the area along the creek that we could drive right up to that we probably wouldn't have hiked there anyway.  That will be an adventure for another day! 
This is a view of the Verde Valley on the way back out to Hwy. 260.  Once we had experienced the route in, the trip back out didn't seem as long or scary.  We'll definitely visit this swimming hole again during warmer weather!