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Rio Salado Habitat Restoration Area, AZ

no permit
65 13 2
Guide 13 Triplogs  2 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Phoenix > Phoenix SW
2.5 of 5 by 4
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Difficulty 1 of 5
Distance Round Trip 5 miles
Trailhead Elevation 1,050 feet
Elevation Gain 100 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 2-3 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 5.5
Backpack No
Dogs not allowed
feature photo
Photos Viewed All Mine Following
3  2016-07-04 david_allen_3
8  2013-02-10 burntlizard
6  2012-09-08 burntlizard
7  2012-05-26 burntlizard
6  2012-05-13 jochal
5  2012-05-12 burntlizard
11  2012-05-05 burntlizard
10  2008-01-30 david_allen_3
Page 1,  2
Author rally_toad
author avatar Guides 21
Routes 4
Photos 512
Trips 418 map ( 2,555 miles )
Age 28 Male Gender
Location Boulder City, NV
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Dec, Jan, Feb, Nov → 7 AM
Seasons   ALL
Sun  6:10am - 6:38pm
0 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
A City River
by rally_toad

Rio Salado Habitat Restoration Area is located in the heart of Phoenix. There are many ways to get to the park. I went to the parking area on Central Avenue. This park is part of the Phoenix City Preserves System.

The reason I did this hike is my brother has become very interested in the rivers that are in Arizona. I wanted to take him to see part of the Salt River and do some hiking. I researched it online and found out information about Rio Salado. It seemed like a great place for an easy, short, nearby hike along a river. It was all of those things.

The preserve is an almost 600 acre site. In 1993 the city of Phoenix began a project to restore the salt river. The site used to be home to hundreds of dumped tires and a dry riverbed. But through the project the site was cleaned up and water was restored to this area of the Salt River. In total the government has spent almost 100 million dollars on the Rio Salado Habitat Restoration Project.

The Restoration Area includes 5 miles of total trails. Some are paved and others are dirt. The elevation gain on all of the trails are minimal.

This would be a nice place to check out while you are at South Mountain as it is only a few miles down Central ave. We saw many birds while hiking along the river. The area is still a work in progress.

Not a hike that gives a wilderness feel as you will hear and see the roar of traffic most of the time. But a nice river hike in the middle of Phoenix good for if you only have a few hours. Great for birders as we did see some cool birds.

The best time to do this hike would be spring or fall in the morning. Today was an overcast summer day and it was actually very comfortable for an easy hike.

Obviously there is a river on this hike but I would definitely not drink in it.

So if you are heading to South Mountain to do some hiking next time take a few minutes and check out the Rio Salado Habitat Restoration Area!

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2007-08-25 rally_toad
    WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.

    Most recent Triplog Reviews
    Rio Salado Habitat Restoration Area
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Hit the road at 0700 and listened to the Counterparts album ,by the Canadian Trio RUSH, good driving music.

    Heard rumors of an Eastern Phoebe and Winter Wren hanging out by Central Ave, So I had to check it out. I did not see the Phoebe, but found another rare treat and a life bird for me, a Black-throated Grey Warbler. Also saw, another Common Yellowthroat, A flock of Northern Rough-Winged Swallows, Common Moorhen, Blue-Grey Gnatcatcher(life bird), Ruby-Crowned Kinglets, numerous Yellow rumps, Black Phoebe, Black Crowned Night Heron and many more local favorites.
    Rio Salado Habitat Restoration Area
    rating optionrating optionrating optionrated 2rated 2
    I really really enjoy this place. Of course, I am little biased since I just generally love the Salt River and seeing it restored even a tiny bit is exciting. The trails aren't the best here, and there are quite a few homeless people in the area, but nonetheless, the city did a great job with the park.
    Rio Salado Habitat Restoration Area
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Started out early 0615 and headed down I-17. I had Pantera's epic album "Vulgar Display Of Power" in the deck and I was trucking. I know..... that's pretty heavy stuff at 0615, but I am frustrated with the general public and thus, metal soothes my emotions. I kinda validated my frustrations, as I encountered some real wankers driving like it was the Indy 500.

    I ended up parking at the Audubon parking lot on the South side of the river. There are 3 demonstration habitat ponds and I was eager to see what water fowl awaited my arrival.....guess what, nada,zip,no soup for you!! Only a few old coots and Muskrats. The area around the Audubon center is actively inhabited with Jack rabbits and road runners.

    The combination of stiff Westerly wind and the overhead flight pattern from Sky Harbor, surely was the culprit for lacking bird activity.
    Rio Salado Habitat Restoration Area
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Hat's off to the City, for their conservation work. The Central Ave parking area and trail head are nicely designed and it has an adjoining interpretive trail. There is plenty of trees in this area for mucho bird watching, although I always see the same 5 or 6 species 8)

    I did hear an unfamiliar call. So, I looked up a tall tree top and caught a small glimpse of a Western Tanager His call is very distinctive. I stalked him for 20 minutes and finally left disappointed, he was too deep in the brush for any clean photo.

    I spoke to a couple out birding and they said that some Beavers were working just West of the Central Ave bridge. I saw the trees and dam, but no signs of them. The majority of the paved walkway is elevated and some distance from the riparian zone.

    I would like to visit here again.

    Here is a link for the area.

    Permit $$

    Map Drive
    Paved - Car Okay

    To hike
    Take the baseline exit from the I-10. Go west on baseline until you come to central avenue. Turn right on Central and go for 3 miles until you cross the Salt River on a bridge. The trailhead parking is immediately after the bridge. There is a sign.
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