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Monday, October 27, 2008


COON BLUFF Tonto National Forest Sunrise over Coon Bluff is sometimes greeted by a herd of wild mustangs wandering on the shores of the Lower Salt River. Early morning is the best time to sight the horses and a seat on top of Coon Bluff offers the best vantage point for viewing the elusive beasts. Coon Bluff’s rugged escarpment flanks the river and is one of several scenic high points along a maze of unofficial trails that meander through the desert terrain above the confluence of the Verde and Salt Rivers. To reach the bluff, just follow the wide paths uphill and take your pick of the many options along the ridges. There are several spur trails that lead down to the water. There, water birds and raptors chatter in the mesquite trees that thrive along the sandy shore. Although sighting a bald eagle or a turkey vulture is pretty common, catching a glimpse of the mustangs requires more patience. On days when they show up, they appear like ghosts and then disappear back into the desert in a flash of commotion that leaves behind hoof prints and a cloud of dust. LENGTH: 3 miles round trip RATING: moderate ELEVATION : 1,486' - 1,593' GETTING THERE: From Phoenix, go east on US 60 to the Power Road exit. Continue north on Power Road, which will turn into the Bush Highway, and then turn left on the Phon D. Sutton Recreation Site Road (Granite Reef Dam Rd). Drive about 100 feet and park in the corralled dirt lot just before the gate. The hike starts at the generic trail sign. INFO:  Mesa Ranger District, Tonto National Forest, 480-610-3300!ut/p/c5/04_SB8K8xLLM9MSSzPy8xBz9CP0os3gDfxMDT8MwRydLA1cj72BTSw8jAwgAykeaxcN4jhYG_h4eYX5hPgYwefy6w0H24dcPNgEHcDTQ9_PIz03VL8iNMMgycVQEAIzTHkw!/dl3/d3/L2dJQSEvUUt3QS9ZQnZ3LzZfME80MEkxVkFCOTBFMktTNUJIMjAwMDAwMDA!/?ss=110312&ttype=recarea&recid=35399&actid=43&navtype=BROWSEBYSUBJECT&position=BROWSEBYSUBJECT&navid=110190000000000&pnavid=110000000000000&cid=FSE_003723&pname=Tonto+National+Forest+-+Coon+Bluff

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