Christopher Creek, Arizona, US
|Usual Difficulty||V (for normal flows)|
|Avg. Gradient||126 fpm|
|Max Gradient||350 fpm|
|TONTO CREEK ABOVE GUN CREEK, NEAR ROOSEVELT, AZ|
|usgs-09499000||100 - 1000 cfs||V||01h06m||22 cfs (too low)|
A spectacular steep creek through a spectacular box canyon. This creek didn't start getting
attention until Bret Howard, Roy Lippman, Tyler Williams, Hut Wade and Mark Knight attempted it
first in '05. Roy broke his leg on the 4th or 5th drop (a 10-footer into a shallow pool).
Evan Stafford, Kyle McCutchen and Todd G completed the first d shortly after. It has been on the
radar of steep creekers, worldwide, ever since its opening and dramatic spring events.
Put In: Christopher Creek Campground off the 260 about 21 miles east of Payson, AZ. Do not put in or linger at the Scout Camp (It is private property).
Take Out: On Tonto Creek at Bear Flats (may require a 4 wheel drive) or hike out at Spring Creek back to you car on the 260.
Photos and Video can be found here:
COKayaking: First Successful Descent Report excellent descriptions and photos.
Huckin Huge Films: 2Descent Christopher Creek
Huckin Huge Films: Risen Sun promo
|Mile||Rapid Name||Class||Features (Legend)|
|0.0||Christopher Creek Campground||N/A|
|1.4||Start of Box Canyon||V|
|2.6||Tonto Creek Confluence||N/A|
|4.3||Bear Flat Subdivision||N/A|
|5.4||Bear Flat Campground||N/A|
The campground is about 1/4 mile down from the highway, so even if the gate is locked in the winter it is a fairly short walk to the creek.
Elevation: 5640 feet.
A scenic gorge that drops about 50 feet in half a mile.
Elevation: 5605 feet
The creek levels out past some sort of ranch on river right.
Elevation: 5562 feet.
The excitement really starts here. The creek drops 310 feet in the next 6/10s of a mile.
Elevation: 5510 ft.
Spring Creek comes in from river right very close to the end of the Box Canyon. It is fairly short but steep hike up this drainage to highway 260.
Elevation: 5200 feet.
Tonto Creek comes in from river right. Average gradient is 60 feet per mile from here to Bear Flat Campground.
Elevation: 5125 feet.
Private homes border the creek from here down to Bear Flat campground.
Elevation: 5000 feet.
A road fords the creek from left to right. The undeveloped campground is next to the road, on river right.
Elevation: 4960 feet.
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