Christopher Creek

Location: Tonto National Forest
Rating: Intermediate 3B II
Length: 2-6 hours
Longest Rappel: 40ft (12m)
Start: Christopher Creek Campground
End:  Loop
Permits: None
Wet Suit: Not needed (Recommended in colder weather)
Shuttle: No (optional)

Overview: A nice short canyon with many pools, some narrows, swimming, wadding, and some short rappels. The rappels can be avoided by skirting the outside of the canyon – not sure why you would do that though. I guess in December it may be too chilly to enter, but really where’s the adventure in skirting around the canyon? The Creek is very popular so you may see crowds at the entrance to the creek. Jumping down and into pools can be fun, but also dangerous. Be cautious if attempting to jump several feet into these pools. Always best if the water is clear and you are positive that it’s deep enough.

Approach: Payson is south of Flagstaff along Hwy260. From Payson head east on Hwy260 to mile marker 271 and park on the side of the highway. Or, continue east and turn right toward Christopher Creek Campground. From the parking at mile marker 271 head south along social trails to the creek bottom. Or, from the campground drop into Christopher Creek and head west along the creek bed. From the HYW mile marker 271 the hike is only a few miles in total. From the campground you’ll ad a few more miles and hiking back along the Hwy 260 might not be as fun as you like so a shuttle may be an option. The end of the Christopher Creek Narrows marks your exit. Spring Creek enter on the north. This is the exit rout. Follow spring creek about 15min before skirting up the west side of the slope looking for social trials on out.


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