Tonto Creek


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This incredibly scenic waterway starts near the Mogollon Rim and cuts through one of the most remote and spectacular wilderness areas in Arizona before dumping into the Salt River near Roosevelt Lake.  Most of the creek through the Hellsgate Wilderness is Class V territory, and by reputation one of the greatest wilderness runs anywhere for serious boaters.  Fortunately for us mere mortals, there's an excellent Class III+ run through a spectacular gorge near the town of Punkin Center that can be done in a day.  This is one of the closest stretches of serious whitewater to the Phoenix metro area, so please treat it with the respect it deserves. 

This creek only runs during spring run-off.  Most of the year the flow is not high enough for boating.  However, in these conditions its possible to hike the creek from the top down, from Bear Flat to Hellsgate to Gisela.  This hike ranks up there as one of the finest backcountry trips in the state - AZ's equivalent to the Zion Narrows.  This is a great way to explore the Class V wilderness section without needing to have Class V skills.

Run Name Class Current Flow Status
Lower Tonto Gorge III+ 0.0 CFS
@ 10-01-2023 15:15
Too Low
Don't Bother