The most popular local trail is the west fork of Oak Creek. It’s relatively flat and, thanks to the high canyon walls and riparian foliage, usually shady – a big plus in the summer months.

The trail has been closed for the last 4 months due to the 21,000 acre Slide Rock fire. The Forest Service was concerned that a sudden storm – common during the summer monsoon season – could cause land slides and flash floods.

But the closure was lifted October 1. On the 2nd I went out with friends and we hiked several miles up the fork. Saw very little fire damage, but were surprised to find a big change in the creek.

There used to be a long, waist-deep pool that stopped most hikers, but no longer. Evidently sediment from the burn zone came down the creek and filled in the pool. Here’s the area now:

Click to enlarge.

Click to enlarge.

I hiked another couple of hundred yards around the bend, but didn’t have time to go further. Maybe this week.