CHEVELON CREEK IN GILA COUNTY, ARIZONA

Chevelon flows though a very rough, difficult to access canyon that's just over ten miles Chevelon Canyon Lake. You have to hike down some very steep declines to access the canyon.

This may be Arizona's best  brown trout stream. There are some rainbows but the stream has far more brown trout than rainbows. The fish can move back and forth to the depths of the lake which is a big help during the summer months when the water temperature in Chevelon Creek gets rather high. Rainbows move out of the lake to and move upstream during the Spring to spawn.

To the north (close to Winslow, Arizona) where Chevelon Creek starts there is an abundant amount of petroglyphs that have been left behind by many Native American Tribes.

Access Points

Photo Credit:  Cameron Davis

You can reach the canyon via state #260 from Payson. Exit  on forest road #300 and then on 169. One more turn on 119 will get you there if your not already lost. Seriously, it is well worth the trip. Fly fishing Chevelon Creek gives you some great opportunities to catch a good size brown trout. It is also a beautiful place to fish.

History Chevelon Canyon & Creek

Photo Credit:  Cameron Davis

 B.C. 3,000

  • When visiting Chevelon Canyon located at the West side of Chevelon Canyon Ranch (Unit 8) you may encounter many of the oldest ancient petroglyphs in the Southwest. Some of these petroglyphs have been dated to be over 5,000 years. Many of the petroglyphs are unique to this canyon only. Farther to the North, Chevelon Canyon has perhaps the largest collection of petroglyphs in the Southwest and is within the National Register of Rock Art. We are not talking about a few petroglyphs but we are talking about over 4,000 of these rock drawings. The anthologists from Flagstaff visited Chevelon Canyon within the Rock Art Ranch 8 years ago to validate these beautiful drawings. They had figured that they would take 4 to 5 months to identify all the drawings in the Canyon. They spent 5 years recording all these drawings. There are over 20 tribes represented within the canyon. Black Canyon (the closest canyon to the main entry) has some petroglyphs, painted pottery shards, flint arrowheads and spear points which can be found along the scenic canyon watercourse as well.

 
B.C. 1200

  • The Anasazi (ah-nuh-SAH-zee) a distinctive American Indian civilization and culture existed near by and within some areas of what is called Chevelon Canyon Ranch today; from about 1200 B.C. to A.D. 1300.

 
A.D. 1300

  • Modern scientists are not certain why the Anasazi left the area, though most think they were either starved out or forced out. The Anasazi left little writing except for the symbolic pictographs and petroglyphs on rock walls. Tree-ring dating tells us that there was a 50-year drought commencing in A.D. 1130 and another from about A.D. 1275 to 1300. So more than likely, the severe droughts were probably a major factor in their departure.

 
1851

  • According to Capt. Lorenzo Sitgreaves in 1851, the canyon (Chevelon Canyon) got its name from that of a trapper called Chevelon. One of the best trappers at the time, very well known within the region, in fact several landmark and other locations within Arizona were named after him.

 
1853

  • In 1853, the United States acquired the upper part of Arizona from Mexico through the Gadsden Purchase. This included the Navajo County portion of today's Arizona.

 
1871

  • What is now Navajo County was first included in Yavapai County. In 1879, the area was made part of the newly formed Apache County. Holbrook, the county seat, had been founded in 1871.

 
1895

  • Navajo County was formed on March 21, 1895. By the time it became Navajo County, the railroad had crossed the county for more than a decade, and North America's third largest ranch, the Aztec Land and Cattle Company near Holbrook, had been established. Backed by Easterners, Aztec bought 1 million acres of land from the railroad at 50 cents an acre (which included the Chevelon Canyon Ranch area we know 

History provided by:  Chevelon Canyon Ranch

Chevelon Creek Hiking

Photo Credit:  Cameron Davis

Possible hike in the area.

 

Start at Deer lake by FR169 / FR180. 

Go up to FR169 to FR169B. Along FR169B, there’s an unnamed road that goes to an overlook of Circle Bar Draw. You can climb a little down the canyon to get better pictures. 

 

Then head over to the dam. From the dam, go down the spillway to the Chevelon Creek. There is a big pool of water, but no running water at this point.


You will come to an old ATV trail. The ATV trail followed the creek, then it climbed out on the East side of it. It can be a slow moving climb in the heat. The ATV trail loops around to a south and hugs the eastern side of the lake. 

Follow the trail until it starts to pull away from the lake. If you are are looking for a perfect lunch spot you may have to bushwhack to the rim. The awesome lunch spot is at: N34 30.380 W110 49.095 

hat the eastern side of Chevelon canyon lake is nicer than the western. I like the views from top of the canyon than from the dam.

Chevelon Creek Fish Species

Photo Credit:  Cameron Davis

Stocked with Rainbow Trout, Brown Trout, and Brook Trout.  

Chevelon Creek Fishing Strategy

Photo Credit:  Cameron Davis

The fishing season runs year-round.

Spring:
Fly fishing Chevelon Creek is best just after the snow melts enough to travel on the access roads.

Summer:
The water can get low and too warm during the Summer but if temperatures are reasonable, it is a good time to catch a brown trout. Fish under low light conditions, cloudy, or early and late. Most of the fish will be in the pools.

Fall:
Fishing remains good because brown trout spawn.in the 

Fall and Winter:
The season is open year-round but it is very doubtful you can access the stream during the Winter months

Chevelon Creek Boating Options

Photo Credit:  Cameron Davis

There is no boating on the creek.  

Chevelon Creek Camping Options

Photo Credit:  Cameron Davis

Chevelon Canyon Campground is a primitive campground with six sites and a vault toilet. Each site has a picnic table and fire ring. Chevelon Crossing Campground, on FR 504 near its junction with FR 169, is another primitive campground with five sites and a toilet. Camping is free at both of these campgrounds. Access is restricted in the winter when roads are closed due to snow, generally November to late April.

Chevelon Creek Swimming Holes

Photo Credit:  Cameron Davis

There are several large pools, but it takes some hiking.