The Salt River – Arizona

We had brought some rain with us from St. Louis to Phoenix on our first day in Arizona and on our second day, it was still a bit cooler than normal, but the sun was shining. We decided to check out a few recreation areas along the Salt River.

The Salt River starts in the White Mountains, flows through Phoenix and after 200 miles, empties into the Gila River. We first stopped at the Goldfield Recreation Area in the Tonto National Forest. After a short walk, the river comes into view. There were several people kayaking!

If you walk west a bit along the river, a huge mountain looms off in the distance. If anyone knows what this mountain is, leave a comment below! I could not figure it out!

The next place that we went to was the Phon D. Sutton Recreation Area. We ate a quick lunch and then went exploring! I loved this area! It reminded me a lot of Johnson Shut-In’s if you are from the St. Louis area. There is no defined trail, but you can climb over boulders and rocks and make your way along the river.

We even saw some wild horses! This area was really neat and a great “outdoor playground” for kids!

Our final stop along the Salt River was the Water Users Recreation Area. This place was my favorite of the three! Sharp, rugged rocks line the opposite shore and the scenery is stunning!

I’ll go on record and say I never knew Arizona could be so beautiful!

A short hike leads from the parking lot down to the river.

Just behind the pavilion is an overlook where you can see Four Peaks! The mountains were even snow capped while we were there!

As a reminder, a pass is needed to enjoy the recreation areas in the Tonto National Forest. You can pick one of these up for a small fee at the local gas stations or some of the areas have fee stations as well.

Categories: Salt RiverTags: , , ,


  1. Looks like a beautiful place to visit while in Arizona!


  2. I cant tell you how much I would love to be there right now 🙂 Thank you for sharing this place with us.


  3. Looks spectacular! Hope I get to Arizona one day.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. If the mountain is to your left, it is Red Mountain, on the Resavation, it is beautiful out there ,I myself have been out there slot

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I lived in Scottsdale, not far from the Salt River! Going to the Salt River is one of my favorite things to do… If you get a chance check out the Salt River tubing… The place is incredible and the beauty of the desert and the Majestic mountains, are something I consider a must see! Love Love Love Arizona! I have been to nearly every state in the country and AZ is at the top of my list, for Adventures, Hiking, Wild Mustangs, and Red Rock Mountains!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I volunteer with the Salt River Wild Horse management group. The horses you saw were part of the Salt River herd. There are over 400 horses in this herd. We have a wonderful Facebook page. I go to the river 3-4 days a week. It is a very nice river to kayak also Monday through Friday. Saturday and Sunday get crazy with the kids and party animals. Arizona is a lovely state with many activities to do outdoors.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much for this comment!! I love learning more about this area as it was so beautiful!! Also, thank you for volunteering! I bet that is such a rewarding experience. Thanks for reading!


  7. The mountain you mentioned in the first round of pictures is called Red Mountain and is sacred to the Pima natives living in this area. The mountain is on the Salt River Indian Community and the river is protected by the Tribal Police and often restricted to Tribal members only.

    Liked by 1 person

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