Hike to and Swim at the Bull Pen, AZ

10 miles 350 ft gain

Added by Aaron Maltby

Some of the highlights of this hike are: beautiful scenery, amazing swimming holes, a super fun rope swing, and cliff jumping.

This trail starts at the end of Bullpen Rd and your adventure begins in beautiful thickets of trees and plants. The going is easy and the tempting sound of rushing water is on your right as you continue parallel to West Clear Creek. The trail will veer left up a rocky old service road but pay attention, there will be a side trail marked with a cairn on your right about halfway up the hill. Continue on longer and your first views of the beautiful creek and a nice swimming hole will be on your right.

If you still aren't satisfied, the gem of Bullpen is still farther on your right. Again veer right at the next fork and an old service zip line should be on your right. Follow that down to the water and behold the gem of Bullpen! Enjoy the refreshing water by taking a swim or swing on in on the rope swing! But for those feeling adventurous feel free to do a little cliff jumping!

If you're looking for a nice secluded place for a picnic or just a little solitude continue up the creek further and explore what lush and beautiful views West Clear Creek has to offer.

Read More

Tags

Chillin
Fishing
Swimming
Hiking
Bathrooms
Dog Friendly
Family Friendly
Forest
River
Scenic
Cliff Jumping
Swimming Hole

Reviews

Leave a Review

Overall rating: 

🥇Top Contributor

2 months ago

Beautiful Canyon

The entire canyon along West Clear Creek is beautiful. Bull Pen is a popular area to swim in the summer months and can get quite crowded. Fun to explore along the creek

🥈 Contributor

about 3 years ago

Awesome Rope Swing!

We barely made it there in our Honda Civic. Long road when you have to dodge every bump! There were plenty of other passenger cars there though. There are plenty of side chutes that drop into the creek, but the best one has a big rock cliff to jump off of, and a really fun Rope Swing.

Fantastic once we figured out where we were going

The trail itself was interesting because being a more "inside person" I am not used to navigating trails or the outdoors in general. This was our first outdoor adventure and from the reviews, I thought this would be a safe day trip. Well I was mostly right. The service road is very very rocky and I was unprepared for that in my little Mazda2. But we made it and the car did ok. It's a little nerve wracking when a giant truck decides to fly past you as you're on the very edge of a cliff though. Regardless. We got to the trailhead and started to make our way to the swimming hole. From different reviews I was generally able to navigate us without a map (there is no cell service to use the gps map I have planned to use) until about halfway there when we came to what was supposed to be a fork in the road and it was actually a trident. Keeping right at that fork was not a good idea because we came to a part of the river covered in spider nests which was not a great time for an arachnophobe like me. But we made it out alive after running into a giant crawdad and then running away. After some backtracking we ran into some girls leaving the spot and they pointed us in the right direction. We made it to the first swimming spot where we met a nice family that directed us to the cliff jumping spot. When we did get to the main swimming hole there were quite a few people there with their kids but we didn't feel crowded at all. The water was chilly but fantastic against the summer heat. It's such a beautiful area that's tucked against the valley wall. We were quite far from our home in Casa Grande but it was absolutely worth it. We were able to swim for hours and jump the cliffs and admire everything around us for hours before gathering some rocks for our collection and head home. It started to rain just as we were leaving which was a little scary going back up the service road but my trooper little car got us there. Overall, I am so happy we made the journey up here and will definitely be coming back. Next time, we'll be bringing my dog. She can't swim but loves to splash in the water so the little pebble beach area next to the main swimming hole will be perfect for her. She'll love it just as much as we do.

Great Swimming Place

It takes some time to get there but it is worth it!

Stay Nearby

Camp Verde, Arizona

Clear Creek Group (Az)

Overview This cozy group campground is tucked in the Lower Sonoran Desert along the banks of the fresh, chilly Clear Creek. Campers can wade in the creek, fish, or curl up with a book under the umb...

Happy Jack, Arizona

Apache Maid Cabin

Overview This rustic forest cabin is located at the eastern base of Apache Maid Mountain, just two hours north of Phoenix and near the popular red rock canyons and outdoor recreation opportunities ...

Mayer, Arizona

Sycamore Cabin

Overview Sycamore Cabin provides a unique recreation opportunity and lodging experience for visitors to Prescott National Forest. In 1938, the Civilian Conservation Corps constructed the cabin, whi...

Sedona, Arizona

Crescent Moon Ranch (Az)

Overview Crescent Moon Ranch is an exceptional year-round place to stay in beautiful Sedona. The central Arizona facility is a rustic, historic ranch house adjacent to Oak Creek and near the base o...

Nearby Adventures

  • Hike to Montezuma's Well

    This trail takes you to the rim of Montezuma Well, a massive collapsed limestone sinkhole. The springs at the bottom of the sinkhole feed a large pond which supports a unique aquatic habitat in this dry landscape. Scientists are still baffled as t...

    0.5 miles 117 ft gain

  • Hike to 'The Crack' at Wet Beaver Creek

    'The Crack' is a cliff jumper's dream, but it also offers something for everyone, with smooth rocks for sunbathing and shallow waters for wading. To get to The Crack, it's about a 3.5-mile hike each way, making it slightly less popular than Sedona...

    7 miles 500 ft gain

  • Hike to the Crack at Wet Beaver Creek

    As you drive into wet beaver creek you'll follow the signs for the Bell Trailhead. Parking is easy and free (no permit required), just follow signs for Beaver Creek Work Center and you will find the marked parking lot (there are also overflow park...

    7 miles 500 ft gain

  • Explore Montezuma's Castle National Monument

    Montezuma Castle is actually one of the United State's first National Monuments. This five story 50 room cliff dwelling is one of the best preserved in all of North America. There is a short interpretive walk along the cliff in which one can see t...