Gila River - Lower Box Canyon

by  swsalley
  • Aerial photo of Lower Box Canyon from Nichols Canyon area.

    Aerial photo of Lower Box Canyon from Nichols Canyon area.

  • Guide map

    Guide map

A self-supported trip created by swsalley

Trip Overview

Stunningly beautiful stretch of the Gila River through the Lower Box Canyon (, highly recommend! Camped over night on the road (32.6478,-108.9261) off of the Sunset Canal up to the diversion dam (32.6411,-108.9208), parked a shuttle vehicle close by (32.6423,-108.9219), couldn't drive all the way up to the dam due to water coming off irrigation canal. Drove county road A027 to Redrock, this road would be difficult to drive if wet. Put-in at Redrock bridge, parked vehicle south of bridge along Game Department Road (32.6933,-108.7319) next time would park north of bridge at the community trash dumpster area. Note, this is all private ranch land first 7 river miles stocked with cattle. Started float at 8:10a, moderate paddling at 150 cfs, river drops 10-15 feet per mile, 16.5 river miles to diversion dam, Class I to I+, pulled off river at 5:10pm. Lunch at Nichols Canyon area (12:30), short hikes up Box Canyon (1:40p) and Cottonwood Canyon (4:20p). Alluvium flood plain bottom till you get past Nichols Canyon after which the river is more channelized with a bedrock bottom. Half dozen or so tree strainers hanging over the river are the main hazards to avoid. Having a GPS marking Nichols, Box, and Cottonwood Canyon was helpful.

Safety Notes

Electric fence wire crosses river at 32.6546, -108.8339, you should see it coming. Half dozen or so tree strainers over river to avoid. A couple flat bottoming out stretches that we carried rafts over. Diversion dam could be dangerous exit at higher flow.

Gear Notes

Kokopelli Nirvana packrafts, packed with overnight gear if weather turned bad.


150cfs at Redrock guage, chocolate milk turbid river, beautiful 80 degree day, light rain during the last hour of float.

Trip Details

  • Trip Dates: 8/15/2021-8/16/2021
  • Sport/Activity: Kayaking, Rafting
  • Skill Level: Intermediate
  • Water Type: River/Creek (Up to Class II)

Trip Location