Saturday, July 25, 2009

Hike #44: See Canyon Trail, Tonto National Forest

Length: 7 miles

Just below the Mogollon Rim east of Payson, the See Canyon Trail works it's way through the dense forest along the Christopher Creek and eventually climbs to the Rim's top.

Beginning alongside the creek, the first ½-mile follows a relatively open path surrounded by thick knee-high grass. Due to the proximity to the cool creek, this segment of the trail is immensely popular and likely to be quite crowded; however, the trail soon forks and most people will choose to follow the shorter path leading to the See Canyon Springs (in fact, after this intersection I didn't encounter anyone along the next 3-miles of trail!)

Eventually the trail leaves the main creek bed, following a much smaller stream, which eventually becomes nothing more than a dry riverbed. Along this portion of the trail, the forest becomes quite dense, and the trail can be difficult to follow in many spots; numerous fallen trees and large boulders don't make the passage much easier.

After a couple miles of gradual assent, the trail comes upon the Mogollon Rim and makes a more dramatic climb through slightly less-dense woodlands. Although one expects an amazing Rim view after the difficult climb, the only site to view is a well-traveled forest road. After a brief moment of disappointment at encountering nothing more than a forest road, it's time to turn and follow the same path back to the creek and trailhead.

To view more photos of the See Canyon Trail, click here.

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