4,937 forum posts
Today I hitchhiked down from here in Flagstaff Az to the West Fork of Oak Creek Canyon. It took me about 40 minutes to get a ride after catching the bus to the southern edge of town. The fellows who picked me up gave me a ride to the trailhead.
It was a nice morning, not too cool out but not too hot yet. The first part of the trail meanders along thru an old ranchhouse site with a few old sheds, Apple orchards and old sandstone sheds before gently roaming thru the woods of Sycamore,Ponderosa,Gamble Oaks, Maples and Balsom Firs.
The trail follows the creeks wide open canyon for about 2 miles crossing the creek numerous times and going up and around little shelves of sandstone leaning out over the water below. After about an hours walk the trail comes to where the canyon narrows abruptly and now its a route thru the creekbed itself.
The canyon walls here and there are eroded back like subway walls with tower high cliffs above thousands of feet. There is often long expanses of sandstone underlaying the creekbed with different layers here and there. Sometimes the layers are verticle with the exposed edges being worn down at different angles and most of the time its hornzonal making the walking very easy. Sometimes where the water id very shallow the mosses and algaes make the bottom very slick to walk on.
I walked about a toatl of 5 miles up the canyon which reminded me of parts of the Narrows of the Virgin in Zion National Park.
It was very quiet and beautiful up there and I saw no one and no sign of any human use. Not one bit of trash or even old rusted steel machine parts. There are numerous of these in the backwaters of Zion and the Grand Staircase.
I turned around at about 11 am as I came to a spot where the walls for a short distance were close together and the water became about 5 feet deep. Most of the way to here it was only 2 feet at the most. I stopped at 1130 and ate lunch and continued on down the canyon back to the highway.
I hope to return again in the next couple weeks with some friends and go camping, passing the deep holes and spending the night in West Oak Creeks deeper inner reaches.