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Tonto Creek Hellsgate Wilderness, AZ
mini location map2020-08-15
9 by photographer avatarBiFrost
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Tonto Creek Hellsgate Wilderness, AZ 
Tonto Creek Hellsgate Wilderness, AZ
 
Backpack avatar Aug 15 2020
BiFrost
Backpack9.62 Miles 1,620 AEG
Backpack9.62 Miles2 Days         
1,620 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
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Ventured into Tonto Creek and Hellsgate Wilderness with a few friends. Instead of going in from the Little Green Valley on the Payson side we hit the dirt roads on the Young side for access at Smoky Hollow trailhead. The drive is longer and more tedious than the Payson side but the hike is shorter. Of course, being August it was hot but the water temps more than compensated. We set up camp at the confluence of Tonto and Haigler creeks at the entrance to Hells Gate.

Next day we ventured up Tonto Creek into Hells Gate and basically floated around the pools all day. Very relaxing way to spend the day avoiding the heat. After exploring some and mostly floating we headed back to camp for another warm night. This is the first trip where I did not bring a sleeping bag. I just used a liner that was my sleeping bag and it worked out great.

Next morning, we packed up and headed out. It was hot but really not that bad and we had some early cloud cover from developing storms that kept it cooler. A few rain drops as we reached the vehicles but nothing significant. One side not about this trip is normally I would avoid places like Tonto in the middle of monsoon. The water is usually mucked up and the threat of flash flood. However, the lack of rain/monsoon activity made this more like a June trip. Fun weekend for all!!
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