An Extraordinary Pool Hopping, Rock Sliding, Waterfall Adventure Canyoneering The Salome Jug

With scorching temperatures and blazing heat, yes, summers in Arizona are in deed extremely hot! However, did you also know that in Arizona you can find something to do in the great outdoors, virtually any time of the year, even during the summer? More than any other geologic feature, Arizona is an amazing land filled with many beautiful and remote back country wildernesses and gorgeous slot canyons and gorges scattered throughout the state. So while temperatures may be heating up during the day in excess of 100 degrees in the desert, the month of June, before summer rain storms arrive, is actually an excellent time to go canyoneering and exploring some of these remote wilderness canyons and gorges, with many of them containing deep pools of cool, refreshing water!

Located in the Sierra Ancha Mountain range, northeast of Phoenix, is the Salome Wilderness consisting of roughly about 18,500 acres. Within the Salome wilderness following along the lower reaches of Salome Creek, you’ll find the “Jug”, a beautiful slot canyon, with narrow towering walls of pinkish-tinted granite stone, and along its approximately one mile stretch, many pools of deep, cool water! So if you would consider yourself to be at least a moderate-advanced level hiker and in relatively good physical shape & condition, and you’re up for more of a challenge, an extraordinary pool hopping, rock sliding, waterfall adventure, and an excellent intermediate level canyoneering hike I recommend, is the Salome Jug, at Lower Salome Creek, in the Salome Wilderness, Arizona.

On a beautiful Saturday morning, in early June, meetyou I met up with the TLC Hiking Club, led and organized by Eric Kinneman, at the Fort McDowell Casino, northeast of Phoenix, at 6 am. After all attending members had arrived, and after receiving a quick overview of our day’s canyoneering adventure, we got into our vehicles and left the casino by about 6:45 am, and headed north on Arizona Highway Route 87, also known as the Beeline Highway.

We drove up the scenic Beeline Highway, one of my favorite highways, Ciberseguridad en Colombia until we arrived at state route 188, and made a right, heading south, in the direction for Roosevelt Lake. Continuing past the town of Punkin Center approximately 8 miles, we came to our next turn off, A-Cross Road, made a left and drove on this very rugged, mountainous, and at times very narrow, dirt road where a high clearance vehicle or a 4 wheel drive was highly advised. I really enjoyed this off roading adventure because the scenery looking up and out into the distance, and down below, of Roosevelt Lake, Arizona’s most largest lake, was truly gorgeous! We continued on A-Cross Road, (aka “60” but this is still A-Cross Road), for a total of about 10 miles and it was approximately by 8 am, that we finally reached the Jug Trailhead and parking area. The Jug Trailhead sits up at the top of a hill at roughly 3,301 feet in elevation, with panoramic views overlooking Roosevelt Lake and the mountainous Salome Wilderness that were absolutely gorgeous! We parked our vehicles in the small parking area, got packed up and after a couple of quick group photo shots, we hit the trail.

Eric Kinneman began our day’s canyoneering adventure by leading us from the trailhead, Maui waterfalls down hill on the Jug Trail #61, a very scenic old jeep trail, that descends and switchbacks rather moderately as it takes you further and further out into the remote and very rugged, Salome Wilderness. We trekked down hill, roughly about 800 feet in elevation for 2 miles until we arrived at Salome Creek where glimpses of the beginning of the Jug Canyon first came into view. As I neared the bottom of the hill, I looked down into the rock canyon below and there it was, absolutely gorgeous and rugged looking! What an amazing adventure this was going to be I thought to myself.

The Jug is a semi-technical canyon, The Wedding Planner and rated by the American Canyoneering Association, as a 3B-CIII canyon requiring one technical rappel. When you translate this rating, it means it’s an intermediate canyoneering, moderate-strenuous hike, with water that has no current or light current or with still pools to strong current depending on the time of the year and water levels and flow rates. We did this hike in early summer when the day time air temperatures are high and the current and water level is low, which is much safer particularly for anyone who is new to canyoneering or may only have a beginning to moderate level of canyoneering experience behind them. And, on this early June day, we actually found the water level to be about 9-12 inches lower than normal due to having had a very dry winter season this past year. However, please note, this is NOT a hike you want to try to take on yourself unless you have someone with the experience and expertise to guide you, or you have the prior technical canyoneering experience yourself because the Jug contains one technical rappel at a 27 foot water fall cliff. So whether you rappel it, descend it by rope or decide to jump it, please be aware, 8811 this IS very risky and dangerous, even if you have years of experience and know what you are doing. So assess your abilities wisely and use good judgment in deciding whether to do this hike or not, for your own safety.

After reaching Salome Creek at the bottom of the hill, and the beginning of the Jug canyon, we immediately veered off to the left, following along the creek’s bottom, jumping up and over large rocks and boulders for just a short ways until we came to our first set of pools which went from being first knee high to waist high deep rather quickly! However, the water felt great on this very hot summer day and we happily waded from pool to refreshing pool as we very carefully and also cautiously crossed over the large rocks and boulders in the water, 1185 many of which were covered with green algae and very slippery, as a result of the low water level with still pools.


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