White box to hanging gardens is now one of my favorite hikes in Arizona. Head east of camp verde AZ to the lush oasis that is West Clear Creek. The hike begins after a long and very rough road at the rim of West Clear Creek Canyon. The route is very steep and very slippery so watch your footing. On this particular day the sun was coming and going often due to the ever changing cloud cover, which was a good and bad. The water of west clear creek can get quite chilly so if you hike this canyon be sure to do it in a warm month. Once you get to the bottom of the canyon we began our hike down stream, boulder hopping and wading when necessary. West Clear Creek is a beautiful canyon with sections crossing through desert or dense forest. As we hiked further down stream the walls began to slowly close in on us until we got to our first set of narrows. At this point we began inflating our inner tubes we brought with us to help us cross through some of these swims. There are a total of 9 swimming sections before you get to hanging gardens. Some are very short and some (the white box) are much longer. As we stood at the beginning of the white box we stood in awe at the beauty of the sheer walls and different sediment layers that could be seen. Now for our journey through the white box. Make sure to bring tubes, especially if you are not the strongest swimmer. The water in the white box is very deep and can be very cold, it also is around 100-200 yards in length. After about an hour of swimming and rock hopping we finally made it to hanging gardens! It was a much short hike than expected but did not fall short in fun or beauty. Hanging gardens is a natural spring that flows into west clear creek in a series of small water falls. You can swim or float under the falls and enjoy being in nature. There is also a rope swing and a nice camp site right at hanging gardens so there was plenty of fun to be had! After a few trips off the rope swing and some snacks we began our hike back to the truck!
If you are planning to do this hike expect to get wet and to have to do ALOT of swimming!