Hells Gate Trail

HARD 10 reviews
#1 of 2 trails in

Hells Gate Trail is a 16 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Payson, Arizona that features beautiful wild flowers and is only recommended for very experienced adventurers. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

DISTANCE
16.0 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
3782 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dogs on leash

backpacking

birding

camping

hiking

nature trips

trail running

walking

views

wild flowers

wildlife

rocky

backpacking
1 month ago

This trail is not for beginners! I did it as an overnight in August and enjoyed it immensely. Hikers should be highly aware of snakes (heard a rattler right outside my tent down in the canyon), wasps, and the heat. The water was dark brown in the creek, wonderful to swim in, and good for drinking as long as you have proper water purification. DO NOT attempt this trail during the rainy season--after mile 5 (out of 8.5 one-way), you descend 3k feet into Hell's Canyon and camp next to the creek, which would be deadly if the water were to suddenly rise from flash flooding. The trail has a lot of scree and is pretty exposed, so you're doing it in August heat like me, make sure to soak your clothing/hat at every opportunity and drink lots of electrolytes. Last but not least--trekking poles are highly recommended! When you do this trail, you can say you've been to the gates of Hell and back! :)

hiking
2 months ago

I did this as an overnight hike over Easter weekend. only 2 reasons for 4 instead of 5 stars first the distance on this site as well as the signs at the TH are wrong and it is in fact closer to 8.5mi one way. The second complaint is that in some areas it becomes quite difficult to see the trail and the cairns were few and far too far between. This trail is all about the destination, I spent the night under the stars at the confluence and couldn't have asked for a prettier view. I would only recommend this trail to experienced hikers who come prepared with trekking poles and a method of water purification.

hiking
2 months ago

backpacking
3 months ago

Challenging hike, the mileage on this app is not accurate, it's about 8 miles one way. Bring plenty of water and prepare for a rewarding experience!!

hiking
6 months ago

Went in doing a day hike. Did 5 miles in. Definitely will go back. The views were beautiful. Bring enough water. The uphill and downhill on the rocks can be a little tricky. So worth it!

6 months ago

backpacking
11 months ago

hiking
Tuesday, September 06, 2016

We only went in about 3 miles as we were not really prepped for a long 2-day hike. But, it was truly fabulous and I can't wait to do this hike properly!

Monday, June 20, 2016

One Hell of a hike. Ran out of water half way back and temps were much hotter in the wilderness than in Payson. Wow, a serious hike and not for beginners or unprepared hikers. Camped at the creek! Definitely worth the near death experience.

hiking
Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Tough and Hot trail not for a beginner. But once you get there the water is worth it. We camped where the two creeks meet. Nice water holes and a few little water falls. Temp was around 95 Degrees F.