Gila River - Christmas to Winkelman - April, 2009

No trip report to speak of since this section can be done as either a half-day or full-day float. Typically people exit at Winkelman and launch from the Dripping Springs access point. The road and river trip distance is 9.5 miles with the shuttle taking a little over 20 minutes. An alternative launch site is the Christmas RAP but I have no experience with that. Launching there would reduce the river and shuttle distance by a couple of miles. It's an easy shuttle and suitable for city vehicles although Dripping Springs can be sandy/rutted. The river parallels the road and access can be gained at many places between the two RAP's.

There are no rapids on this stretch but there are numerous strainers/sweepers and tight spots. I would rate it an easy class II- due to the strainers. At Dripping Springs there is a massive cottonwood tree spanning the river which is best portaged around. Since it's right at the put-in and rigging can easily be done below the strainer, there is no reason to try and run it. Dripping Springs is located with an Arizona State Trust Land area while the take-out is within a city park so there is no river management authority per se.

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