Rare Salt River Canyon Snow - Fiberglass RV


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Old 01-06-2015, 11:10 AM   #1
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Rare Snow in AZ's Salt River Canyon

Salt River Canyon is one of the lesser-known treasures of our state. Here it is decorated in rare low-elevation snow we received on New Year's Day. I'm so glad the state finally re-opened the spectacular overlook and rest station at the bottom of the canyon.

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I am blessed to call this land home!
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Old 01-06-2015, 12:24 PM   #2
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Us to.

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Old 01-06-2015, 03:51 PM   #3
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Nice, David. Going to be down that way in February at Lost Dutchman. Kind of hoping we don't have that view while we're there! Brrr...
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Old 01-07-2015, 10:06 AM   #4
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Thanks for the pictures, Jon. Glad to see that AZ is getting some winter precipitation. We raft the wilderness section of Salt River Canyon whenever possible. Not only is it a challenge to draw a lottery permit from the Forest Service, but having enough snowmelt for a floatable spring run-off is very hit or miss. The Upper Salt is one of the finest whitewater runs in the southwest when there is enough water. Let it snow!
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Old 01-07-2015, 12:26 PM   #5
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Sadly, we seem to be headed into the same weather pattern as last winter: numerous small storms early, and then a long, warm, dry spell. In spite of several early storms, Sunrise Park Resort still hasn't been able to open all of their ski runs. Hope that changes. As you say, let it snow!
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Old 01-07-2015, 06:55 PM   #6
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What's the elevation around there?
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Old 01-07-2015, 09:05 PM   #7
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Rare Salt River Canyon Snow

Good question... rough guess 3500' at the bottom of the canyon. Snow level in that storm was 3000-3500', pretty low for an early season storm. May have been even lower, judging by David B's pic of the Superstition Mountains. There was even a dusting in Wickenburg, NW of Phoenix, and flakes fell in parts of Phoenix. I live about an hour's drive from the canyon at 5300', and the surrounding mountains range to over 10,000'.
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Old 01-07-2015, 10:10 PM   #8
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Our home sits at 2,000 ft., and the Superstition Mountains rise from there to over 5,000 ft., which ended up with 3 to 4 inches on it. It only lasted that day on most of it, and was gone from the shady side completely in two days....we are back to 75 degrees this week.
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Old 01-07-2015, 10:56 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David and Nancy View Post
We raft the wilderness section of Salt River Canyon whenever possible. Not only is it a challenge to draw a lottery permit from the Forest Service, but having enough snowmelt for a floatable spring run-off is very hit or miss. The Upper Salt is one of the finest whitewater runs in the southwest when there is enough water. Let it snow!

When you say "upper Salt" where are you talking? I have rafted from just below the bridge you see in the 2nd photo (on US-60) down past the salt banks, but that is tribal land, not USFS.
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Old 01-08-2015, 09:17 AM   #10
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The section that requires a Forest Service permit starts near the US 60 bridge about 50 miles north of Globe. For the first day of the trip, it's Apache reservation on the north side of the river and National Forest on the south side. In order to launch here, you have to draw the Forest Service permit and also buy a permit from the Apaches. The float goes about 60 miles and takes out just above Roosevelt Lake. There is excellent class 3 and 4 whitewater when the run-off is good. I lived in Arizona from 73 to 86 and ran it many times before the current permit requirements started. There was a class 5/6 drop named Quartzite Falls that had to be portaged and discouraged a lot of novices from attempting the run. Somebody dynamited that rapid and then the demand increased, requiring more regulation to prevent impacts from over-crowding.


Sorry to hear that Sunrise still has no snow pack. That area is a good barometer for forecasting spring flow in the Salt River. Current snowpack report from USGS for upper Salt River Basin is at only 39% of average. But, as you know, sometimes Arizona gets the biggest snow dumps in late winter and early spring.
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Old 01-08-2015, 11:00 AM   #11
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I remember hearing about the incident at Quartzite Falls, but I've never been past the Salt Banks on the river. In what part of Arizona did you live? I have been in the Whiteriver area for 31 years, since 1984.
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Old 01-08-2015, 12:15 PM   #12
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I was a northern Arizona guy. I went to NAU in Flagstaff and then was a ranger at the Grand Canyon for years. That's where I got involved with the whitewater crowd.
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