Photographs7 views of Willis Creek
MapTopoQuest topographic map of Willis Creek
The depth of the clear, fast-flowing water is typically just 1-2 inches, and the canyon floor has no mud or potholes, just clean sand and small pebbles so walking is quite easy. Near the road, the creek drops 3 feet into a narrow sandstone channel which deepens gradually, the enclosing cliffs becoming up to 30 feet high. Occasional small waterfalls form where the floor drops over small chokestones, and the canyon has several quite lengthy curving, narrow passageways, nicely illuminated when the sun shines, and always very photogenic. After one mile the creek is joined by Averett Canyon from the north and thereafter becomes wider and more V-shaped. Trees and bushes grow around the streambed and the drainage remains similar in character for the next mile, to the confluence with larger Sheep Creek.
Two loop hikes are possible - either the 14 mile circuit of Bull Valley Gorge/Sheep Creek/Willis Creek (best done in this clockwise direction as the gorge is easier descended than ascended), a journey that includes 2 miles of road walking, or the much shorter 4 mile trip through Averett Canyon and Willis Creek. Averett has no narrow sections but is still quite pretty, and has the extra feature of a historic memorial, to a Mormon settler (Elijah Everett) who was killed by Indians in 1866. A dryfall near the junction with Willis Creek presents quite an obstacle so again this loop is easier done in this direction.