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Clear Creek

Intermediate
 4.6 (5)

The only trail across the Tonto Platform that leads to the tallest seasonal waterfall in the park.


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Map Key

8.8

Miles

14.1

KM

Point to Point

4,246' 1,294 m

High

2,651' 808 m

Low

2,716' 828 m

Up

1,727' 526 m

Down

10%

Avg Grade (5°)

87%

Max Grade (41°)

Dogs Unknown

Features River/Creek · Views · Waterfall · Wildlife

Southern aspect means a full day of sun, best times to hike this trail is extremely early in the morning or in the evening.

Description

The trailhead is approximately mile north of Phantom Ranch on the North Kaibab Trail. The junction is marked by a wooden sign.

From the junction with the North Kaibab Trail, the Clear Creek Trail climbs through a series of switchbacks to the southeast towards Phantom Overlook (a sharp switchback with a landing where there are a few stone benches; from this point there is a good view looking straight down at Phantom Ranch). After passing Phantom Overlook, the trail continues up to the base of the Tapeats and then traverses to the east for another mile to the Tonto Platform. While walking along the base of the Tapeats, hikers are exposed to the Great Unconformity, a gap in the geologic record spanning more than 1 billion years. After a final ascent to the top of the Tapeats, the trail contours along the Tonto Platform, crossing Sumner Wash and two minor drainages. The trail turns to the north when it intersects with Clear Creek drainage below Demaray Point. When Clear Creek Canyon appears on the right, hikers are still only half way to their destination. From here, the trail crosses shallow Zoroaster Canyon and then continues over an unnamed drainage to the north. Finally, at the end of the Tonto traverse, the trail drops into a drainage by traversing a long slope of brilliantly orange-colored Hakatai Shale. The trail ends at a dry tributary creek bed, looking up this drainage one can see Brahma Temple. From here there is no trail, so it is necessary to hike down the drainage for approximately 150 meters to its confluence with Clear Creek. Most backpackers camp at the many impacted sites just downstream from the confluence.

A faint route continues downstream to the confluence with the east fork of Clear Creek. Hiking to the Colorado River via the creek requires scrambling and numerous creek crossings. It is approximately six miles one way. A quarter mile from the river there is a pour off that requires a fifteen foot down climb. This climb can be wet and icy, so use extreme caution, and don't attempt if you don't feel comfortable with free climbing. Allow a full day to complete this hike.

Many hikers also day hike up Clear Creek toward Cheyava Falls (800 feet tall when flowing). This is a five mile hike one-way and follows the creek bed. Allow a full day to complete this hike. Cheyava Falls only flows in the spring after winters with high snowfall.

Contacts

Shared By:

Nicholas Shannon

Trail Ratings

  4.6 from 5 votes

#11

in North Rim

#5720

Overall
  4.6 from 5 votes
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Trail Rankings

#11

in North Rim

#152

in Arizona

#5,720

Overall
22 Views Last Month
1,441 Since May 4, 2015
Intermediate

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Photos

Taking in the scenery.
May 6, 2015 near Grand C…, AZ
The traverse.
May 6, 2015 near Grand C…, AZ
Grand Canyon National Park - Clear Creek Trail.
May 6, 2015 near Grand C…, AZ
A rest to enjoy the view.
May 6, 2015 near Grand C…, AZ
Some cool geology in Grand Canyon.
May 6, 2015 near Grand C…, AZ
The view upriver.
May 6, 2015 near Grand C…, AZ

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Check-Ins

Feb 4, 2018
Jordan Lewis
Oct 11, 2017
Matt Buzza
Awesome views of the zoraster temple and tonto plateau. Very few people too, which was nice. Good weather in October, would be very hot in the summer. 9mi
Oct 10, 2017
Matt Buzza
Jun 26, 2016
Zhe Li
Jan 15, 2016
Colin Reisenauer
8.8mi
Jan 11, 2016
William Malco
Nov 16, 2015
Sam Haralson
Oct 14, 2014
erikjoot
Nice hike! Waterfall is seasonal and was dry in October.