By: Paul S. Cilwa Viewed: 11/15/2019
Topics/Keywords: #SaltRiverCanyon #Arizona Page Views: 2297
A visit to Arizona's beautiful Salt River Canyon.
Map showing location of Salt River Canyon.

On our way to the Snowflake/Show Low/Petrified Forest area from Phoenix, we often travel along US 60 through the Salt River Canyon. This exquisite spot, located at the border between the Fort Apache and San Carlos Indian Reservations, is used as a jewelry mall on weekends by locals, and a picnic spot by locals as well as by passers-through.

A close-up of the map shows how precipitous the descent and climb is from the rim of the canyon:

Map showing detail of Salt River Canyon Bridge.

Traveling north on US 60, the rest area (not marked on my map) is located just before the bridge over the river. It is clean, but they are pit toilets; there is no running water.

As near to the bridge as you are, there is still a steep, concrete stairway that leads from the rest area to the river.

Even at the river itself, you are still fairly high in altitude, so be sure and allow plenty of time to climb back up the stairs—and, unless you are accustomed to long-distance running in places like Denver or Flagstaff, expect to be out-of-breath and sweating when you get back to the top.

Or maybe that's just me.

In any case, little guys (like our Zachary) will not be able to resist the lure of the stairs, so if you have one with you, you may as well be resigned to the fact that you will be using them.

I am partial to the view at the bottoms of canyons, anyway; but this one is particularly beautiful. Perhaps it is the knowledge that one is distant from the trappings of modern commercialism. While the Native Americans do sell jewelry at the rest area; they have made and traded jewelry for centuries; and, thankfully, have resisted the urge to add T-shirts to their inventory.

Halfway up the south slope of the canyon, at one of the many scenic view turnouts, is a spectacular view of the river far below.

I definitely recommend planning an hour stop at the scenic spot if you are passing through the area. Bring a camera; and if you like, bring a picnic lunch as well.

Meanwhile, this wasn't our last visit…here are a few more: