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Hell's Gate Trail #37
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2020-08-15  
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mini location map2018-05-28
7 by photographer avatarnonot
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Hell's Gate Trail #37Payson, AZ
Payson, AZ
Backpack avatar May 28 2018
nonot
Backpack10.39 Miles 2,699 AEG
Backpack10.39 Miles3 Days         
2,699 ft AEG45 LBS Pack
 
1st trip
Partners none no partners
Went down Hellsgate via the Young side. The roads to the trailhead are not great, but also aren't the worst I've ever driven. Definitely 4wd though.

Surprisingly despite what I imagine is almost no visitation, this side of the trail is in pristine shape the first 2 miles, likely due to well thought out construction. The last half mile to the creek suffers from erosion and overgrown bushes. Also, the trail stays high on ledges, where HAZbot suggests it goes down the main drainage. This was much easier than anticipated and I was happy with the way my trip had started.

I was surprised to find 15 cows grazing in Haigler creek around the Tonto intersection. I thought grazing was illegal in a wilderness area in the protected riparian areas. They sure made a mess of things as all the campsites have been filled with cowpies. They were very annoying and one might have a leg injury but it was hard to tell.

The next day I headed up Haigler, I made maybe 2ish miles in 6 hours. It sure is beautiful but all the swimming and head-high poison ivy on the brief respites from swimming really slowed me down. Worried about making my planned exit spot I scoped out a doable exit route and cut short my day, deciding to leave the rest of my trip for another time. I discovered my drybag leaked which left me in a sticky situation with a soaked sleeping bag. Luckily it doesn't get that cold down there and I had enough other stuff that was able to dry out before nightfall to get through the night relatively comfortably.

Last day I climbed and bushwhacked my way back to the road. Smartest decision I made the whole trip was to start the bushwhack climbing before sunrise to take advantage of the shade. Not a route I would recommend but it did get me back.

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Fuller Mesa Tank Number Two 1-25% full 1-25% full
a tiny bit of green disgusting water

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max Haigler Creek Medium flow Medium flow
600 cfm estimated

dry Hell Tank Dry Dry
I didn't see any water in this area of the drainage, but the map suggests this is way up the side of the canyon. I didn't leave the trail to investigate.



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