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Friday, September 19, 2008


Typical hiking scene in the gorge
JUG TRAIL Salome Wilderness Overlooking Roosevelt Lake, the Salome Wilderness offers solitude, fabulous geological features and a variety of vegetation zones. Blazing hot during the summer months, inaccessible in spring due to high run-off and occasionally buried in snow in winter, there is a narrow window of opportunity to visit this rugged area. The Jug Trail is a 2.2-mile-long old Jeep road that descends along a ridge to Salome Creek. Along the way, stunning views of the Salome “Jug”, a water-filled ravine carved out of pink and white granite dominate. The official trail ends at the wilderness sign just before a cattle gate, but it is possible to extend the hike by following informal footpaths along the rim of the canyon. For a more challenging adventure, follow the obvious spurs that lead down to the creek. Some hand-over-foot scrambling is necessary to get to the water, but it’s not too difficult for reasonably fit hikers. It’s wise to check with the ranger before visiting the area because flooding can make the access roads impassable. LENGTH: 4.5 miles round-trip ELEVATION:  3,330' - 2,680' RATING: moderate GETTING THERE: From Fountain Hills, go north on SR87 to the SR188 junction. Drive south on SR188 to milepost 255 and then turn left onto A+ (A-Cross) Road (FR 60). Continue 1 mile uphill on A+ Road (rugged dirt) to the ford of Tonto Creek--do not attempt to cross when flooded! Once over the ford, continue another  10 miles to the signed “A Cross” trailhead on the left.
INFO:  Tonto Basin Ranger District, Tonto National Forest, 928-467-3200

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