Explore the most popular trails in Hells Canyon Wilderness with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

A scenic portion of the Hieroglyphic Mountain Range, this area is home to numerous peaks, mostly over 3,000 feet, encircling and isolating Burro Flats from the rest of the world. Hells Canyon is further isolated by private land on its southern, eastern, and northern sides. The most prominent of the peaks are Garfias Mountain at 3,381 feet and Hellgate Mountain at 3,339 feet. Several cliffs on the mountains attract climbers, and the canyons make for relatively easy hiking. Most of this Wilderness is covered by Sonoran Desert vegetation: saguaro, paloverde, barrel cactus, ocotillo, and desert grasses. Easily accessible, primitive camping sites are plentiful.

hiking
off trail
over grown
rocky
5 days ago

great trail, alot of fun if you like trail finding and going your own way. even with the map from here still lots of off trail unless you keep the map up all the time. either way good hike not difficult and not very challenging getting to the top

no shade
6 days ago

Right side of loop is better marked. watch for carns, there are lots of burro trails, but trail loops around a small hill and general direction is clear. great wildlife, easy to walk. Make sure to download maps and have adequate battery. I had GPS but no cell service.

hiking
10 days ago

So very difficult to keep on trail. Absolutely no cell service and my alltrails app stopped tracking too so it was a little scary towards the end. I eventually bushwhacked up and over the last “mountain”’to find my direction and cut my own path back to the car. I did eventually pick it back up close to the parking lot. I did enjoy the first part of the trail. Got great pics of the burros too. I will not go back alone to this trail.

ohv/off road driving
13 days ago

This was my husband and my first off road jeep trip. It was a very enjoyable drive. We got to look at a lot a scenery, do a few small climbs, cross some very shallow creeks, and go places that we had not been before. This is a great starter trail. There were several OHVs and a few dirt bikes.

hiking
18 days ago

Can’t wait to do the whole trail. Agree with previous reviews, path is in good shape but you do appreciate some of the cairns. Awesome views and cactus specimens. We started counter clockwise, and only able to go 1 mile in due to elderly hiker in our property, but they managed well as the first part is easy. I look forward to moderate sections.

Great hike with incredible views. I went counter clockwise trail was pretty well marked, a few times I had to use the GPS map. I spent an hour up top soaking in the 260 views, well worth the hike. I did not see a single person on this trail, only a wild burro. It's a long trail but not that difficult, rocky towards the top. I used a headlamp for the last mile out. I will definitely be back.

hiking
no shade
off trail
over grown
rocky
scramble
2 months ago

ohv/off road driving
2 months ago

Easy drive but dusty. Well graded in most places.

ohv/off road driving
4 months ago

great scenic drive. can do road in a car. no 4x4 needed.

ohv/off road driving
4 months ago

great trail very pretty, two wheel drive the whole way, however be careful of monsoon season, half the road towards lake pleasant goes through washes. took us three hours from our house in Avondale and back. it was super fun, highly recommend it.

hiking
no shade
5 months ago

Thankfully I had my AllTrails app because it is easy to get off trail. The trail is fairly level with promises of elevation gain later. Views from the top are gorgeous and well worth the mileage it takes to get to them. Bring plenty of water/snacks since there's not much shade and you'll be out there awhile. Be sure you have a way to keep on trail since there are a lot other of paths from the donkeys - we were super grateful for the cairns. Yes, we saw wild donkeys too!

Fun trail.. lights bumps in a few spots but other then that, very smooth. Well kept up road. Saw some wildlife. No 4x4 needed. Did this in a 2019 Jeep Grand Cherokee.

ohv/off road driving
8 months ago

Great road and great scenery. This was accessible by most cars. Nothing hard in this run. Most of the road had just been scraped so it was relativity smooth.

ohv/off road driving
9 months ago

1st time taking out our new Jeep. Perfect trail! Easy! Beautiful scenery!

hiking
9 months ago

The entire time i was on this 9 mile loop never saw any other hikers. Very green with several meadows of wild flowers. Went counter clockwise and lost the return trail after 1.4 miles. I then went cross country to pickup the trail i came in on. Lots of mountain scenery as well. Even ran into pools of running water.

The entire time i was on this 9 mile loop never saw any other hikers. Very green with several meadows of wild flowers. Went counter clockwise and lost the return trail after 1.4 miles, from the junction. I then went cross country to pickup the trail i came in on. The reason was because of only two hours of daylight left. Lots of mountain scenery as well. Even ran into pools of running water. I would never hike a spotty trail like this without a paper USGS map and a compass. Also enough extra supplies plus food and water to spend a night if became lost, vs risking injury coming out at night even with a headlamp.

on Walkin' Jim Trail

hiking
10 months ago

I hiked the Walkin' Jim Trail loop today with my dog Mica. I have been coming out to Cottonwood Creek in the winter for about 10 years now, and just last weekend found out the Walkin Jim Trail was a loop; talked to a guy in the parking lot who told me so. Of course there are not any hiking trail signs in the parking lot, so it is hard to even know it is an official trail. So, this weekend was clear and the high was only going to be 70 degrees, so it sounded like a good day to hike the 8.3 mile loop. It took us about 3.25 hours to complete the loop; with just a few stops to take pictures, drink water, and eat some nuts. The area was green and spotted with wildflowers from winter rains, with some water in the washes, which Mica needed. We hiked in the clockwise direction (went left from parking lot), which is more physically strenuous in the first quarter, then if going in the counterclockwise direction. The first quarter has a lot of ups and downs until you get to a bedrock seep, then the gradient eases up a little bit. This bedrock seep use to be more cienega-like, with bunch grasses and nearby mesquites and riparian trees. But all of that disappeared, likely because of ungulate grazing and the drought. Maybe a quarter mile past that bedrock seep is another one. In the second quarter of the trail (same direction), there is a hidden small cave-alcove just off the trail. I just happened on the spot a few years ago, and went to it again today. Also in the second quarter, the trail meets Little Jim trail, which you can take if you want a shorter loop. And the trail also crosses the Spring Valley jeep trail; which thankfully is not used much. About midway through the hike, is the junction of Big Jim and Walkin Jim trails; there are some great views of the mountains to the west. In the third quarter, there are good views, and at one point the trail goes partly around a red rock knoll, which has lots of lichen growing on it. Approaching the fourth quarter, you cross a wash, go up hill, and then go through a gate (or under it) in a barb wire fence. After that, the fourth quarter of the trail is very easy hiking, and easy to follow. The trail in this section is mostly on the bench to the north of Cottonwood Creek. Note that within the first half of the trail (if hiking in clockwise direction), a lot of forbs have grown over the trail, which can make it a bit hard to follow. So, pay attention to the natural trail depression, and the numerous cairns along the way. Even if you do temporarily get off the trail, you can just back track a few feet, and find it again. Overall the trail is moderate for physical exertion.

It is a long walk to the peak but very worth while. The second half of the trip is more scenic because it is among the taller mountains. Reminds me very much of the scenery in the more popular Superstition Wilderness on the east side of Phoenix. You will likely have the entire trail to yourself. Thank goodness for the GPS and red trail line on all trails. I got confused on the climb down and had a panicky feeling that I would be falling off the edge in the dark but fortunately the app pointed me back to the trail. The view into Hell's Canyon Wilderness is dramatic. I shared the peak with circling vultures and speedy swifts but nobody for miles. Be sure to let someone know where you are hiking because it is unlikely that help will just wander by. Watch and listen for wild Donkeys and deer.

hiking
10 months ago

Amazing views and talk about not a sole in sight, wow. Finding the trail at times took a few looks but with the app it made it fairly easy to tell when you wondered. Will do this one again

ohv/off road driving
10 months ago

We drove the entire loop on Castle Hot Springs Road with no problems. Road conditions were mostly good, some areas slightly washed out from the recent rains. River beds, creek beds, and washes still had some water running across the road, but it was shallow and we were able to cross with no problems. We have a Jeep but didn't need to put it in four wheel drive at all. It's a nice drive, a lot of interesting sights to see. We even saw a group of wild horses with one burro hanging out with them!. If you're looking for an easy drive, I highly recommend this trail.

ohv/off road driving
10 months ago

Road construction on the western part of the drive. Otherwise it is a nice drive with lots of well graded roads. Some areas are prone to flash flooding.

hiking
no shade
rocky
scramble
11 months ago

My legs are sore. Fun hike. Didn't see anyone else out there but birds and burros. Take Walkin Jim Trail to Big Jim Trail. Big Jim trail is the out and back trail to the peak that connects with the Walkin Jim Loop. The trail pretty much vanishes once you get close to the peak but its alright...just go up! The view of Lake Pleasant at the top is well worth it in my opinion. I would recommend it.

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