Escape: Winslow, Arizona

June 6, 2014 |
Clear Creek, a mere five miles from Winslow, AZ. photo: Niccole Radhe

Clear Creek, a mere five miles from Winslow, AZ.
photo: Niccole Radhe

The Eagles’ famous 1972 debut single Take It Easy helped put Winslow, Arizona on the map. Whether or not you have been to this quaint little town, those lyrics probably become alive in your mind when Winslow is mentioned: “Well, I’m a standing on a corner in Winslow, Arizona and such a fine sight to see.” The song wasn’t really centered around Winslow, it was all about love, and love is exactly what you will feel when your toes touch Clear Creek’s cool water; an oasis just five miles from Winslow.

Here you can escape from the Tucson heat and take a dive into a deep, refreshing river. Whether you like to kayak, canoe, rock climb, cliff dive, paddle board, swim or just relax on the rocks, this is a place that should be on your summer bucket list! Clear Creek Canyon is surprisingly not overwhelmed by tourists and there are no buildings or businesses for miles, just a serene creek in Northern Arizona.

A great place to start your adventure after a four and a half-hour drive is at McHood Park, where the slow river ends in a large and calm reservoir. This is one of the best places to relax in Arizona. Here you can have a barbeque or picnic under a covered ramada, fish off the shore or head out on a four-wheel adventure through the seemingly deserted dirt roads and take a hike to peer down into the dramatic depths of the rocky canyon.

Camping is free at McHood Park and Winslow is only five miles away for lodging. One day is not enough to discover all that this area has to offer so make a weekend out of it. Within a one-hour drive is the world famous Meteor Crater, the Petrified Forest, Little Painted Desert and Jack’s Canyon. If you are in need of rental gear for Clear Creek or rock climbing it would be a good idea to rent in Phoenix or Flagstaff before heading up. Winslow is not the bustling railroad central of Arizona that it once was, but the history is rich and the future seems even richer.

There is a Renaissance happening under the quietness of Winslow as the restored 1930s La Posada Hotel, with the help of the Winslow Arts Trust, is rising as a Northern Arizona art tourist destination. The town of Winslow itself is not a nightlife mecca, so if you are a fun-seeking night owl you should head back to Flagstaff where there is always something exciting going on at night. Flagstaff also has many awesome outdoor attractions if you want to continue your adventure in the Coconino National Forest. Northern Arizona has a lot to offer, it’s not too far from home, and the weather is amazing during June, July and August. Get out and have a great time with family and friends at Clear Creek Canyon this summer!

Making Your Escape

From Tucson, take I-10 west to Phoenix then go north on AZ-87 N, follow through Payson and when you get to the traffic circle (about 189 miles) continue straight on AZ-87 N, and after another 90 miles you arrive in Winslow. To get to McHood Park turn right onto AZ-99 N and you will see McHood park on your left. You can turn before or after the bridge to get to the reservoir, fishing and picnicking areas. This area has restrooms and is great for swimming, jumping off the rocks or putting water craft into the river. For those who are interested in hiking around the canyons, off-roading, four wheeling and rock climbing, take the first dirt road om your right after the bridge, but be sure to take the first dirt road to your right before the McHood Bridge if you do not have 4-wheel drive. From here, Flagstaff and other really great attractions are only an hour away. Happy trails!

Check out for information on the town and other area attractions.