Saturday, September 29, 2007

Hike #11: Historic Bell Trail, Wet Beaver Creek Wilderness, Coconino National Forest

Length: 7 miles

The Bell Trail, which weaves through the cliffs surrounding the Wet Beaver Creek, is just a few miles north of the West Clear Creek Trail. While the West Clear Creeks Trail runs directly along the creek with the cliffs towering overhead, the Bell Trail sit high atop the cliffs with the creek running far below.

The trail itself can nicely be divided into three sections. The first section runs through open mountains, blanketed in massive amounts of prickly pear cacti. Perhaps the highlight of this first portion is a large igneous boulder covered in ancient petroglyphs. The middle section of the trail slowly climbs through some of the most beautiful red cliffs I've yet to see in Arizona. The trail's narrow ledge allows for spectacular beauty from both above and below...just be careful not to fall off while you're staring with awe at the cliffs overhead! Finally, the trails descends to the lower cliffs immediately next to the creek. From here, you can either jump in for a relaxing swim in the deep cool water or merely enjoy the amazing view. Overall, these diverse elements combine
for an exciting and surprising hiking experience!

For anyone actually considering hiking this trail, I definitely recommend this guide. Mr. Reynolds did an excellent job of describing this trail with extremely helpful instructions that gave the distance between landmarks in time rather than mileage. (It's much easier to gauge how long you've traveled rather than how far!)

To view more of my pictures of the Bell Trail, click here.


  1. Ok, if I ever go visit my sis in Arizona, I am definitely coming to visit you, too, so you can take me hiking! Your blog makes me totally want to do it, but darn Texas has no great trails!

  2. Is that pic of Grasshopper Point?

    If not, how do I get there?!?


  3. That picture is 4 miles in on the bell trail. Locals call it "The Crack" or "Keyholes"

  4. I was just there this weekend...Sad to say The national forest closed this area to over night camping and fires.. There reason "This order is necessary to protect the public’s health and safety from unsanitary conditions and exposure to wildland fire."
    Next to the creek were there is water??? Now there hasn't been a fire in or around this area in the last 30 yrs. I am a native and was shocked and upset to find one of the last great spots taken away again by the National Forest in this state. You can still go but only for the day. If you want to camp you have to hike 1.5 miles distance from the creek were there is no water or past all of the good pools to swim in...were talking 6 to 7 miles back. Sorry guys this was a beautiful place to backpack and camp a year ago... It still is a great place to visit for the day.

  5. Oh I for got to say who is allowed to camp there....EXEMPTIONS:

    Pursuant to 36 CFR § 261.50(e), the following persons are exempt from this
    closure order:

    1. Persons with a Forest Service permit specifically authorizing the prohibited
    act or

    2. Any Federal, State or Local Officer or member of an organized firefighting
    force in the performance of an official duty.

    but not anyone else

  6. Thank you for the excellent info. My family are planning to head up there from Prescott next weekend. Your post was the clincher.

  7. I was not aware of the camping restrictions. I have backpacked this creekbed from top to bottom (but there is no trail and the going is extremely stenuous). I am not certain the camping restrictions aren't a good thing. The last time I was there, there were campers a mile upstream from Bell Crossing who had left a blazing fire going while they swam downstream. The camping was never good at this location anyhow; the crossing is extremely crowded. If you desire a Beaver Creek backcountry experience it is still possible; you will just have to hike back into the remote areas of the wilderness vs the short hike up to Bell Crossing... In other words, the Forest Service did not ruin the camping here - it was an increasing number of inconsidered users.

  8. This information was the best I've found on the internet for a discription/information regarding this hike. Thank you for posting it, I've saved your blog to my favorites!

  9. This is a great post. And I'm happy you posted your pictures. I have been camping on Beaver Creek since the late 80's and I am sad to hear idiots had to ruin it. However the fellow above brings up a good point. Has there been a bad fire there since the one in 1984? I can't see any evidence to point to it. I wonder if this was due to pressure from the Academy and them not wanting people to camp there. Either way... the guy above me is right... there are other good spots it just means hiking a ways in. For real adventurers.

  10. We have spent many a great moment rock climbing, fishing and swimming here- I love this place! Unfortunately- every year we hike out with more and more of someone else's trash, beer cans, and plastic- and even found campfires still smoldering. I hope it continues to be a place of beauty- we all need to be more aware of our impact and responsibility.

  11. I love Wet Beaver! I had so much fun, I'm definitely coming back this year!