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A City River
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.
I did this hike because my brother has become very interested in the rivers 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 an excellent 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 is 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, useful 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 very comfortable for an easy hike.
Obviously, there is a river on this hike, but I would definitely not drink from 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!
Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.