First off, I took pictures of nearly every significent drop between the put-in and Temple Canyon Road take-out. It took us 7 1/2 hours, but we stopped to eat twice, and I took a TON of pics. Your times will be lower. This canyon is awsome. The guage above the reservoir way up stream reads 30 cfs, but may have been slightly higher due to small tributaries. The beta in CRC2 is correct that the canyon doesn't really every close in, until the tights. You will know when you reach the tights, without a doubt. The terrain is steep sloping hillsides, giving way to a narrow valley floor with lush green grass banks that range from a few feet to over 30 feet wide. They are 18-24 inches in hight above the creek so unless the creek flashes on you, there is enough soft camping places thought the entire canyon to easily sleep a medium sized city, in comfort. There are game trails along the entire river corridor; sometimes on boths sides, othen at multiple hights due to high water conditions. And an old narrow gauge railbed becomes a trail in the lower half after the tights. I don't reccomd using this because you lose the lush grass feel of the canyon. If you get up to the rail grade, you are well above the influence of the river on steep hills and cliffs. A few junipers and more cactus.
Bring you Tevas or water shoes. We crossed the creek countless dozens of times whenever a rock outcropping blocked the side we were on. Although these all can be climbed up over and around, it was easier to walk through 6 inch deep slow to moderate speed water. The first major drop in the tights will remind many of "The Chutes" on the deckers run, slow water entering, water squeezes the rivier to aless than 10 feet wide and then a pool, only this one is probably a solid class V at higher water. The next mile is a neer non-stop class IV and V monster mash. There is a major waterfall with what may be a tricky landing until good flows. A few more moderate sized falls about the size of the 1st falls in Four-falls in Bailey Canyon. Most are not as ugly as first falls, but one one almost did. Their charaacter will change with more water, maybe for better maybe for worse. I don't know. ---Yeah, keep in mind, when viewing my pics, they are at 30-40 cfs. I don't know what the drops look like at 200+ cfs, when it's more runnable.
This (mile long?) section of the tights will require ALOT of scouting, and at least three or four (for me) portages. Be prepared to eat a meal here. As far as hiking/portages. The enterenc drop has a heavily worn trail. class I portage. Most of the rest is Class II-III portage. You won't need to use a rope. The game trails are still around.
At this point I should make a note of something that occured about 3 miles before we reached the tights. My girlfriend, while wearing Teva's, walking on a smooth part of the trail, caught her pinky-toe on a log. A mile later she notes that it's still hurting. She wiggles it and thinks it feels "crunchy". Wiggles the other one, then the hurt one again. Yep. It's broken. It only hurts if she bumps it and doesn't tell me anything for yet another mile. "My toenail was bleeding a little earlier."
"Is it okay?"
"Yeah, but it's broken"
"No, it always look like that, it's fine"
"I though you said you broke it"
"I did, I broke my toe"
"What do you mean you broke it"
" I broke my toe-toe. The little one"
(blah-blah-blah-about the log.)
"I'm fine, It happened a few mile ago and doesn't really hurt."
"Okay, but let me know if you need any help."
"I'M FINE!" --(said with a big smile)
And she did the whole rest of the hike without a problem.
That's a woman.
So, even in the tights, it's not a difficult hike if you are able to waatch aread and plan a good route. Very beautiful with all the water falls and rapids. No slides, All the rocks are broken/smooth boulders. This is usually a dry creek bed, so vertually no moss either. That made it SO easy to walk in the creek and stand on submurged rocks. No routes were blocked by wood. I pulled out a couple logs and a railroad tie that would be in the way of main slots at higher water. (I did go for one swim at one of the log pulls---It was great---The water temperature was perfect.) In the II-III water below the tights, there are a couple places with wood blocking 1/3 to 1/2 the river, but they are easy to see on the approach and you can easily get around them. One in perticular looks like it has been there for many years and ain't nobody gonna move that big only stump.
My pics are on My webshots website. http://community.webshots.com/user/wolfhowlmoon
Also. The shuttle if you take-out at Temple Canyon is a long one. If the canyon below the road to The Arkansas River is the same as above the road, I'd probably vote to float all the way. It would also knock off about 1/2 hour of road time. River time is always better than road time. I know, it's only class II with a little III down there, but In my opinion, I'll be floating this canyon for more reasons than just the big rapids.
--Oh, and we saw tons of fish. The water was crystal clear. Bring a fishing pole if you plan to spend all day hiking, like we did.