Kuma explores The Bell Trail at Wet Beaver Creek
Kuma explores The Bell Trail at Wet Beaver Creek.
Told by Kuma & Written by Lorraine Bossé-Smith
When my family headed up north and took the Sedona exit, I thought we were heading to Sedona because I know that drive well. However, instead of turning left at the Sedona exit off I-17, we went to the right. What was this, uncharted territory? I was alert and ready!
We followed signs toward the Wet Beaver Creek Wilderness area and went only two miles from I-17 until we turned left (just past the one-lane bridge). We passed the Bell Trail overflow parking area and went straight to the main parking lot that has a human restroom. Apparently in the summer, this trail is heavily trafficked with folks desiring to go for a swim, so get there early to find a parking spot. We lucked out and had the trail to ourselves other than a Boy Scout Troup, and they were going to the campground. There’s no fee, and you can only camp in one designated area. Otherwise, the rest of the wilderness is day use only.
The temps were cool; Yeah baby, this was my kind of day! Off we went but not before reading about the trail. Charles Bell made this particular trail back in 1932 to move cattle through the Wet Beaver Creek Wilderness area to the rim. It has a 2,100 elevation gain and is rocky. Oh, this was all sounding great to me, so off we went. I guess it’s still used to move cattle, but I smelled none today.
The trail starts off nice and sandy and follows Beaver Creek. You can hear it, but there isn’t much access to it until the “Y” that veers you off to the Weir Trail. We stayed on the Bell Trail, which then begins to ascend up into the hills. Like Sedona, the rock is red, and we saw beautiful formations. Sedona can get pretty busy, so this was a nice change. Nothing but nature.
We saw the junction where you could hike up and camp. The trail is very well marked, so just keep following the Bell Trail up, and up we went. Humans will want sturdy shoes, as the trail does get rocky. Because of the creek, the canyon is green with lots of vegetation. I bet it would be spectacular in the spring and fall.
The trail goes six miles to the rim and is an out and back. We opted to go four and have lunch at the swimming hole. To find it, take the walking path to your left just before the creek crossing. It’s the only time you would cross, so if you come to it, go back about 10 feet. Just up the short hill is the swimming hole, an oasis in the desert.
My daddy let me jump in and swim around, and we had the place to ourselves. It was so awesome. Woof! Then mom broke out our picnic lunch, and we sat warming ourselves in the sun on the rock. It took us about one and a half hours to get here at about a three-mile-an-hour pace. Allow plenty of time if you go because heading back is rocky and slow going.
After a lovely break, we began hiking back out the four miles. My mom twisted her ankle on the rocks. Thankfully, she’s tough and walked it off. Go mommy.
We enjoyed a quiet and peaceful hike back to the car with the sun getting low. This was such a great hike that I was amped up and couldn’t sleep for the drive home, which was only about an hour. When I got home, I had to zoom around the house in a celebratory dance. Yes, Bell Trail at Beaver Creek gets high marks on the Kuma scale.
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