Hell's Gate Canyon


This run stretches 23 miles from Bear Flats campground to the town of Gisela.  I counted 6 distinct gorges, but there are numerous mini-gorges, so it depends on how you count them.  Endless horizon lines provide a plethora of class IV drops with around a dozen larger rapids in the class V range.  The run is typically done in 2-3 days.  We ran it in 2 days with about 9 hours on the water the first day and 6.5 hours the second.  We had a group of 3, kept a brisk pace, and had one member who'd done the run before.  Unless you have a very health flow, be prepared for lots of mank on this run, but the payoff is numerous quality drops and stunning desert canyons that very few people have ever accessed.

Suggested river levels for paddling this section of the Tonto Creek are between a bare minimum of 300cfs and a high of 2,000cfs. River conditions sourced from USGS 09499000, the Tonto Creek Abv Gun Creek Remember only watercraft are permitted at Hell's Gate Canyon.

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Area Hydrology

Gauge Streamflow Stage
East Verde R Div From East Clear Cr Nr Pine
USGS 09507580
1 cfs 7.2 ft
Verde River Blw Bartlett Dam
USGS 09510000
134 cfs 1.1 ft
Verde River Near Camp Verde
USGS 09506000
43 cfs 3.4 ft
Cherry Creek Near Globe
USGS 09497980
5 cfs 2.2 ft
Tonto Creek Abv Gun Creek
USGS 09499000
7 cfs 3.1 ft
East Verde River Near Childs
USGS 09507980
7 cfs 10.3 ft
Salt River Near Roosevelt
USGS 09498500
142 cfs 6.5 ft
Verde River Near Scottsdale
USGS 09511300
83 cfs 0.7 ft
Queen Creek Below Whitlow Dam Nr Superior
USGS 09478500
2 cfs 1.0 ft
Oak Creek Near Sedona
USGS 09504420
29 cfs 2.1 ft
Snotel Site Snowpack 24hr Change

Outdoor Recreation

Campground Campsites Reservations Toilets Showers Elevation
Bachelors Cove 100 2,133 ft
Water Wheel 20 4,967 ft
Orange Peel 20 2,121 ft
Bermuda Flat None 2,143 ft
Mills Cove 10 2,176 ft
Second Crossing 10 5,086 ft
Cholla 206 2,196 ft
Kehl Springs 8 7,457 ft
Cholla Bay 20 2,149 ft
Third Crossing 10 5,140 ft
First Crossing 7 4,865 ft
Houston Mesa 30 5,039 ft
Indian Point 54 2,188 ft
Flowing Springs 40 4,580 ft
Ski Area Snowpack Air Temperature 5 Day Forecast
River Run Streamflow Length Class
Hell's Gate Canyon 14.9cfs 23.0 Mi V
Christopher Creek 443.0cfs 6.0 Mi V
Christopher Creek 443.0cfs 6.0 Mi V
Christopher Creek 443.0cfs 6.0 Mi V
Lower Salt 575.0cfs 14.0 Mi I