“An adventurous hike through a pristine canyon along a clear cold creek.”
— Tilman Giese
River/Creek · Views · Wildflowers
This is one of the hidden treasures in Box - Death Hollow Wilderness. The Box offers a blend of slickrock cliffs and mountain forests along a clear creek. The trail frequently crosses the stream which can mean easy rock hopping in the summer or dangerous wading during the high water season when Pine Creek is a wild torrent.
Need to Know
More than 50 stream crossings make this trail very challenging during high water
This trail can be taken from both the Lower Box Trailhead and Upper Box Trailhead and is a rewarding day trip. Frequent stream crossings as well as sandy paths make this hike far more time-consuming than it appears.
Follow the path from the Lower Box Trailhead. When you reach the left bank of Pine Creek, cross immediately and do not follow the boot-worn paths that continue on the left bank. The next stream cross crossing is just ahead. Use the volcanic boulders to hop across. The trail turns left and The Box opens up a little with pines and Douglas fir on either side of the creek. You'll have to keep crossing the stream regularly, but the trail will guide you where it is easy to cross. After about 4 miles, the trail cross the creek several times in quick succession before you reach Deep Creek which joins from the left. After two more crossings you have longer stretch without water crossings and get to the heart of the canyon.
The canyon slowly narrows and confines Pine Creek. You need cross the stream more frequently again and find your way around fallen trees, roots, boulders, and smaller slides. When you see a grassy slope, you have reach the end of the trail. Keep left up the slope to reach the gravel road and the Upper Box Trailhead.
Typically this route is undertaken as a shuttle, which means that you'll want to plan ahead to organize either a shuttle car or a pickup at the Upper Trailhead, or you'll need to double your distance by heading back the way that you came.