Camping on the Salt River
I just spent Easter weekend camping at Coon Bluff near the lower Salt River. It’s a beautiful spot for a day trip or overnight camping. Camping, however, is only allowed in-season (October-May) on Friday and Saturday nights. You need a Tonto Pass each day/night you are there. The pass is only eight dollars and is valid for 24 hours.
This is one of those spots I didn’t discover until last year, and it is surprisingly convenient to Phoenix. It is only about a 30 min. drive from Central Phoenix and the surrounding areas. I have taken several friends to this location and many of them did not know it existed. The area is very sandy and has one centralised parking area with two vault toilets, but no running water. There are five established sites with campfire rings and picnic tables, but you can camp and have fires outside of those locations.
It can be cumbersome to haul your camping supplies in from the parking lot, but that is the only downfall in my opinion. One item that is on our camping wish list for next time we venture out to stay in this area is a rugged camp wagon. We’ve been debating between the Coleman Camp Wagon and the TimberRidge Folding Camping Wagon/Cart. Having one of those will certainly make your trip easier.
When the river is low and not flowing too much, Coon Bluff is a great spot to go kayaking, lounge around in a tube, or learn how to skip stones. It’s also known for rock climbing, bird watching, photography. fishing, and spotting wild horses.
First Time Camping in Arizona
If you have never been camping and want to see what that is all about, or perhaps you want to see how your young children will do on their first camping adventure, Coon Bluff is a great spot for a test run. In case of emergency or if your forget something necessary, you can drive into town easily and stock up on ice or firewood.