Gila - 03. Virden (NM) 30 miles to US Route 666, 23 miiles to Bonita Creek

Gila, Arizona, US


03. Virden (NM) 30 miles to US Route 666, 23 miiles to Bonita Creek

Usual Difficulty I (for normal flows)
Length 53 Miles

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
usgs-09432000 200 - 10000 cfs I 01h13m 231 cfs (running)
Flow range for best boatability uncertain. Please help your fellow boaters with a comment or report.

River Description

Information from AZ Rivers, Streams, and Wetlands Study, 1989, AZ State Parks

Class: ?
StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2017-07-15 03:52:56


Rapid Descriptions

icon of message No rapids entered. If you know names, and locations of the rapids please contact and advise the StreamTeam member for this run.

User Comments

Users can submit comments.
April 24 2006 (4651 days ago)
Marc McCordDetails
The Gila River is a major waterway for Arizona, though significant flows are rare. This reach
usually runs year-round, depending upon local rainfall, but the best conditions are normally found
in the early to late spring, when snows melt in the San Francisco Mountains of Apache National
Forest in far western New Mexico. The river begins as three forks (North Fork, Middle Fork and
South Fork) north of Silver City and west of Truth of Consequences. From its headwaters the Gila
River flows west through Safford, Florence, Glendale and Yuma, then into California along the
Mexico border to the Colorado River. The Gila River has three major tributaries in the San Carlos,
San Francisco and San Simon Rivers in southeastern Arizona.

From the Virden, New Mexico access off SH 92 (SH 75 in Arizona) to Solomon Pass Road low-water
bridge take-out just north of Solomon, the Gila River flows about 65 miles. The first 40 miles is
in a southeast to northwest direction, turning northeast to southwest about a mile above the Eagle
Creek confluence, then flowing about 13.5 miles to the Dry Canyon boat take-out (BLM) and finally
about 11.5 miles more to the Town of Solomon at US Highway 70 near Rope Lake State Park. Like most
Arizona waterways, the Gila spends most of its life as a dry, sandy riverbed with a lot of small to
large rocks holding it down, but this reach is generally navigable year-round, and after any
significant local rainfall the stream can rise quickly to a Class II to III river with a moderately
strong current. It is free-flowing from its New Mexico headwaters to Ashurst-Hayden Dam about 15
miles below the Town of Kelvin, including the entire run described in this report.

The Gila is very typically Arizona topography - all around the riverbed is miles of Sonoran desert,
rolling hills, small, sandy mountains with scrub brush foliage and a lot of snakes, scorpions and
other unsavory critters that paddlers would usually rather not encounter. The Gila Box area is rife
with an abundance of Arizona sycamores, Goodding willows, Fremont cottonwoods, walnuts, mesquite
and numerous species of ground vegetation that create a green ribbon of plant life along the river
corridor. The Box is home to about 42 mammal, 175 bird, 34 reptile and 10 amphibian species of
wildlife that are supported by native vegetation and the river. Black bears, mule deer, javelina,
Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep, beavers, mountain lions and other such creatures may be seen by a
lucky visitor to this area.

Late fall rains sometimes provide the most dependable flows for boating, but this river can rise
anytime it rains hard, then drop again almost as suddenly. Sustainable flows seldom last for more
than a few days to a few weeks. There are no river-related services along this reach of the

River description provided by <A HREF=>Southwest
Paddler</A> and is used with permission