Descending from Flagstaff to Winslow, Arizona on the historic Route 66 is a slow and beautiful transition into the desert. Once you take the exit into Winslow, you just have to snap a selfie on the Standin’ on the Corner Park. Afterward, cruise out to the lake–that’s right, the lake!Clear Creek Reservoir is less than 10 minutes from town, and unless a fellow traveler told you about it, you might not even know it was there. The deep blue lake carves through beautiful Coconino Sandstone cliffs and McHood Park. Some even refer to the lake as a miniature Lake Powell.
This article was created in partnership with the Winslow Chamber of Commerce, Arizona.
All photos provided by the Winslow Chamber of Commerce and Clear Creek Rentals.
“Deep Water Soloing”
If you’re familiar with rock climbing, you may already be acquainted with the idea of “soloing”–that is–climbing without any ropes or belay assistance. Within Clear Creek Canyon, climbers can cruise out on a boat, climb the smooth rock walls, and release into the cool water below. The deep water offers climbers a refreshing safety net. A new olympic sport? Not likely, but definitely a unique outdoor activity!
Clear Creek Reservoir
You don’t have to be a thrill seeker to enjoy the fruits of Clear Creek Reservoir. While “deep water soloing” has become increasingly popular, there are a plethora of other ways to enjoy the water. Kayaking, paddle boarding, and jet skiing are all fantastic means to explore the miniature canyon. The friendly folks at Clear Creek Rentals in Winslow can supply the human-powered gear if needed. Otherwise, you can swim, fish, or just simply indulge in the simplicity of the area. If you choose to cruise up the canyon, keep your eyes peeled for petroglyphs on the wall!
Dispersed camping is available in McHood Park on the reservoir for free. Furthermore, camping in the desert is a wonderful experience, from the magenta skies at dusk to a ceiling of stars at night.
Another highly underrated outdoor area near Winslow is Jack’s Canyon–a sport climber’s paradise! While there isn’t a deep reservoir running throughout, there is a creek and plenty of walls to keep you busy during the day. The limestone/sandstone canyon is full of intermediate-level climbing, only 30 miles south of Winslow. Jacks Canyon is a true desert treat, in that it can be enjoyed year-round. There is also a series of hiking trails that wind through the canyon offering sweeping views of the rock walls and the wash below. Dispersed camping is also available at Jack’s Canyon, and also free!
There are so many great desert destinations around the USA, but Winslow offers a much quieter, and unique alternative. In one moment you can stand in a classic Eagle’s song, and another be swimming through a canyon, staring up at ancient petroglyphs. Winslow is accommodating to travelers, from the unique accommodations and food options to the friendly folks at the Chamber.