In my last post, I shared how you can tour two historic places in Arizona for one low entry fee. If you’re in the planning stages to visit them on your next RV trek through the area, you have probably noticed they are not really on the road to anywhere and require a detour off Highway 60 to reach.
Part of the adventure involves a section of Highway 60 southwest of the sites, which includes crossing through Salt River Canyon.
Salt River Canyon, which has been described as a mini Grand Canyon, has been carved by years of erosion exposing multicolor layers of the earth and rugged spires.
Unlike the Grand Canyon that has no road to the bottom, Highway 60 dramatically descends via bends and switchbacks 2,000 feet from conifer covered mesas to palm trees and cactuses in the depths of the valley.
Upon reaching the bottom, travelers can stop at the recently renovated Salt Creek Rest Area to let their brakes cool from the long descent into the canyon, stretch their legs, study the interpretive panels, and pose for a photo on the old art deco era Highway 60 bridge which is still open to pedestrians.
The bridge was built in 1934 and spans 454 feet between the canyon walls.
Visiting Salt River Canyon:
Grades in and out of the canyon are up to 6 percent, so exercise caution when descending and climbing out of the canyon with your RV.
Since camping is limited on the reservation, a good place to set up camp when coming/going is Timber Camp Campground located about 10 miles south of the canyon right off Highway 60.
The campground is operated by the US Forest Service and offers many long level spaces suitable for long rigs. Those navigating by GPS will find the campground at N33° 41.267 W110° 34.248
Driving through a mini Grand Canyon and living to tell about it, just another adventure in RVing!
Dave Helgeson’s many roles in the RV industry started before he even had a driver’s license. His grandparents and father owned an RV dealership before the term “RV” had been coined, and Dave played a pivotal role in nearly every position of an RV dealership. He and his wife Cheri launched their own RV dealership in the Pacific Northwest. The duo also spent 29 years overseeing regional RV shows. Dave has also served as President of a local chapter of the Recreational Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA), worked on the board of advisors for the RV Technician Program of a local technical college, and served as a board member of the Manufactured Home and RV Association. Dave’s reputation earned him the title of “The foremost expert on boondocking,” bestowed by RV industry icon, the late Gary Bunzer (The RV Doctor). When he’s not out boondocking, you’ll find Dave in the spotlight at RV shows across the country, giving seminars about all things RVing. He and Cheri currently roam in their fifth travel trailer, with Dave doing all the service, repair and modifications to his own unit.
James Moore says
Thanks for sharing this…terrific resource.
Allan Bowman says
The Salt River Canyon is gorgeous, we’ve been there many times. It has to be one of the most beautiful canyons in the US. Prettier in some ways than the Grand Canyon because it is not so wide but is quite deep. It gives you a sense of true ruggedness and the grandeur of the wild.
Ed Mashburn says
The Salt River Canyon is a wonderful place to visit- all kinds of vehicles and drivers come here to make the up and down drive.
Be advised- there are some very steep grades- make sure your brakes are up to the job. Making the drive back up out of the canyon should be taken slowly- again, very steep grades.
The Salt River Canyon is one of our favorite sites in Arizona.
Mike Richling says
Just drove it a few weeks ago as we headed north. Wonderful drive as long as the driver keeps their eyes on the road and let everyone else look and take pictures. We had a 40′ A class and didn’t have a problem.
It was an unexpected find with lots of changes in terrain. The sights were, WOW, dramatic, and memorable. Worth the drive.
jeff hanson says
It is a glorious and breathtaking drive. I was lucky and got to pass through it twice yesterday on a down and back trip to the Phoenix area. If towing or driving a big rig, do take your time as the descent and ascent are challenging but easily doable if you keep your speed down. There are a lot of pull offs with great views and they offer a way to let traffic pass. The rest area is well kept and generally clean. There is a great overlook of the Salt River which is flowing pretty good right now with the Spring run off. Don’t be afraid of the drive, the views are worth it.
Twila Hobbs says
We have been taking this route between Florence and Show Low several times a year for 3 years and the Timber Camp Campground had never been open when we go by. It is a gorgeous drive that we never tire of.
FLOYD BUSH says
Just a caution. Do Not Confuse Arizona Rt. 88 which runs near Salt river. This is a spectacular Drive but not suitable for RVs.