Once on the floor of the canyon it wanders downstream along Fish Creek past pools, riffles, and stepping-stone stream crossings to the point where this tributary and the Black River join. Along the way it passes an area where what is reported to have been a tornado left its mark on the forest. Dozens of downed trees make the point that nature can bring change to the forest in a number of ways.
Travelers along this trail should know that they have the Arizona Chapter of the Sierra Club to thank for the considerable sections of it that are in good to excellent shape. Although the Fish Creek Trail has been used by the Forest Service for over 50 years for moving fire fighters and other personnel through the backcountry, it fell into disrepair after 1970 when maintenance was discontinued for lack of funds and use. At that point the task of keeping the trail open was left to ranchers who continued to use it to move cattle between Fish Bench and the Fish Creek drainage. The trail stayed open but became quite rough in a number of places. During the summers of 1990 and 1991 three volunteer work groups, consisting of two Sierra Club and one American Hiking Society trips, were successful in restoring and reconstructing the entire 5.5 miles from the junction with Fish Bench Trail # 320 to the Black River.
Fish Creek harbors a pure population of Arizona's state fish, the Apache trout. The Arizona Game and Fish Department has installed a barrier across the creek to keep introduced rainbow trout from swimming upstream from the Black River and hybridizing with the population of threatened natives. You'll find this pleasant path an excellent place to enjoy a day trip or an overnight hike.
0.0 mile: Depart Hannagan Campground or Trailhead.
1.5 mile: Junction with Fish Creek Bench Trail (# 320).
4.5 miles: Tornado damage
5.5 miles: Old cattle camp.
6.4 miles: Confluence of Fish Creek and Black River.
USGS Map: Hoodoo Knoll
At a Glance
May through October
Length: 11.8 miles
Elevation: 6,800 feet - 8,400 feet
Because FR 24 was damaged by post-Wallow Fire flooding and is clsoed between the junction with FR26 and FR 24U, Fish Creek Trail may only be accessed via the Hannagan Meadow area. The south terminus of the trail may be access via the Acker Lake Trailhead, located on US 191 immediately south of Hannagan Meadow Campground.
The trail may also be accessed via Fish Bench Trail # 320:
On US 191 just north of Hannagan Meadow Lodge, take FR 576 north to the junction with FR 24. Turn north (right) on FR 24 to FR 24U. Turn west (left) onto FR 24U to the Fish Bench Trailhead. Follow Fish Bench Trail # 320 .8 miles to it's junction with Fish Creek Trail # 60.