East Clear Creek Hot
To get to the trailhead: from the Phoenix area, take HWY-87 Northeast through Payson, Pine, and Strawberry towards Winslow, AZ. Just before reaching Winslow, turn right on HWY-99. After driving 4.4 miles, you will pass McHood Park Lake and pass over a bridge over East Clear Creek. Keep your eye out for mile marker 37. After passing mile marker 37 drive 0.3 miles and turn right next to some obvious sandstone rocks. After driving 0.2 miles on this dirt road, you will keep left at the next set of graffiti covered sandstone rocks. From here on, take the right forks and drive an additional 0.5 miles to a flat area near a drainage. You will be following this drainage into the creek.
If swimming through a desert canyon appeals to you, then you'll like this hike.
The route finding could be a little tricky here. We didn't have much trouble finding an easy scramble route down a drainage into the canyon. The rest of the canyon looks to be sheer 200 ft cliff walls, so be aware of flash flood danger in this canyon.
According to Tyler Williams, you can hike and swim upstream at least four miles. When we came here on a hot day in July, the water was much too high for anything except swimming. So we entertained ourselves jumping off rocks into the deep pool and swam.
Bring your swim suit (or not!) and enjoy the cool, refreshing dip.