The Wet Beaver Wilderness area features a steep walled canyon of Supai sandstone and shale that winds up to the rim of the Colorado Plateau. Rolling along the bottom of the canyon is the Wet Beaver Creek, a perennial stream that ultimately runs into the Verde River. First though it creates the magic that blessed water brings to the desert – life abundant. Green cottonwood, sycamore and alder trees arch over the creek in a protective canopy vivid against the red cliffs. You start your hike along an old jeep trail above the stream. Two miles in a large sign proclaims the wilderness area. From there the trail narrows and climbs, clinging to the north shoulder of the canyon. Every so often a side trail cuts off towards the creek below, but the high ground offers terrific vistas. Ultimately the trail drops to the water at Bell’s Crossing. Hot as the June morning is, when you descend beneath the trees you enter a cool green world of shade, breezes and the marvelous music of water. Three other hikers lounge on the rocks, but there is room for all. Downstream some big old boulders provide the perfect spot to relax, where the creek tumbles by in a great noisy hurry, stirring a breeze that ruffles leaves overhead. A nearby side canyon holds a large pool, wide and flat. Pollywogs wriggle and crayfish lurk in the sand while junior sized fish dart among the rocks. A place like this just soothes away all those knots in your muscles and your mind. You can really relax and enjoy. But, mindful of the gathering heat, you eventually head back, enjoying the westerly views of the canyon. A half mile detour down the Weir Trail leads to another beautiful pool, reflecting the rosy rock face that kisses the still surface. Wet your long sleeved shirt and wide brimmed hat in the cool water in preparation for the last couple of miles. Even the lizards are looking for shade. There are lots of people coming in now, hikers and swimmers with kids and dogs in tow, all headed for the miraculous water.
The trailhead is easy to access, just off of the I-17 at the Sedona Exit 298. Go east on Forest Service Road 618 a little more than a mile and a half and you will see a sign for the old Beaver Creek Ranger Station. Turn left and find the parking lot and outhouse.