Hellsgate Wilderness Trails

Payson, Arizona 85547

Hellsgate Wilderness Trails

Hellsgate Wilderness Trails Professional Review and Guide

"Knifing down off the mogollon rim to the Salt River, Tonto Creek is the centerpiece of the Hellsgate Wilderness. Cutting deeply into granite, Tonto and its main tributary, Haigler Creek, have carved deep canyons that rise in places to more than 1,500 feet above the stream bottoms. The wilderness derives its name from the turbulent confluence of Tonto and Haigler Creeks, which pioneer settlers dubbed Hells Gate.

Plants associated with the Sonoran Desert—saguaro cactus, ocotillo, agave, and cholla—grow in the lower elevations of the wilderness. The riparian gallery features willow, sycamore, cottonwood, ash, and Arizona walnut. At mid-level elevations you find scrub oak, alligator juniper, piñon, and manzanita. Ponderosa pine and Douglas fir grow in the higher, cooler elevations."

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Trail Information

Nearby City
Several options
Trail Type
Easy to Difficult
Skill Level
3,000 feet
Trailhead Elevation
6,400 feet
Top Elevation
Tonto National Forest, Payson Ranger District
Local Contacts
USGS Diamond Butte, McDonald Mountain, Sheep Basin Mountain, Buzzard Roost Mesa, Payson South, Gisela
Local Maps

Activity Feed

Oct 2018