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Haigler Creek Hellsgate Wilderness
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mini location map2018-09-02
27 by photographer avatarBiFrost
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Haigler Creek Hellsgate WildernessPayson, AZ
Payson, AZ
Canyoneering avatar Sep 02 2018
BiFrost
Canyoneering10.90 Miles 3,108 AEG
Canyoneering10.90 Miles   10 Hrs   30 Mns   1.13 mph
3,108 ft AEG      52 Mns Break
 
1st trip
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slowandsteady
We car camped on the ridge by Smoky Hollow TH and the goal was to do about 10 mile loop that included Haigler Creek. Sunday morning we headed out hiking the Lost Camp Mountain ridgeline which follows an old road passed a tank. The road continues past the tank but eventually stopped near the base of Lost Camp Mountain. Looking at the topo and satellite it looked easiest to go over the mountain and it turned out to be an easy climb. From the top we continued down the ridge toward Lost Camp Canyon. It was a good route until about the last 200 feet where we had some small cliff bands and scree to the bottom but despite that it was overall decent route. There were some small pools in Lost Camp Canyon but we only had to go about tenth of mile to the confluence with Haigler Creek.

Once in Haigler Creek we headed downstream for the rest of the day. The water was little murky probably from recent rain but definitely not muddy. Some really long pools to enjoy and the occasional cascade usually preceding the pools. Very slow going as other triplogs have mentioned sometimes under a mile an hour. However, we did take our time and a break near one of the better cascades. After the break it was more of the same with pool after pool and a thunderstorm started to build. Fortunately it only rained for about 20 minutes while we were swimming the pools. Finally made it down to Haigler Creek and Tonto Creek confluence a little past 4pm.

We checked out Tonto Creek briefly but unfortunately with the hike out of the canyon still to come we didn’t have time to check out the Hellsgate Narrows. However, once we saw Tonto it was chocolate brown so didn’t feel as bad that we missed out. Just another reason to come back preferably not in monsoon season. After a few minutes looking around we started up the Hellsgate Trail #37 out of the canyon. It’s a little brushy at times and there is one spot of faint trail but otherwise easy to follow. Eventually the trail switchbacks out of the side canyon and up on the ridge and turns into old road. So the last 2 miles or so is old road and very easy to follow. Arrived back at the car camp spot about 615 with enough daylight for happy hour!
Flora
Flora
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