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Coon Bluff Loop, AZ

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Guide 29 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Phoenix > Mesa NE
Rated
2.9
2.9 of 5 by 9
 
8
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Difficulty 2.5 of 5
Route Finding 2 of 5
Distance Loop 4 miles
Trailhead Elevation 1,402 feet
Elevation Gain 200 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 2 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 5
Interest Off Trail Hiking & Peak
Backpack No
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4  2019-08-15 gummo
14  2019-07-13 adilling
14  2018-12-30
Coon Ridge Salt River Loop
CannondaleKid
10  2018-04-29 jacobemerick
7  2017-12-24 ThirstyLizard
4  2017-09-22 arizona_water
4  2017-02-10 syoung
22  2017-01-08
Coon Bluff - Salt River Loop
CannondaleKid
Page 1,  2,  3
Author sventre
author avatar Guides 13
Routes 67
Photos 403
Trips 61 map ( 272 miles )
Age Male Gender
Location Mesa, AZ
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Preferred   Oct, Nov, Dec, Jan → Early
Seasons   Late Autumn to Late Spring
Sun  6:14am - 6:25pm
Official Route
 
0 Alternative
 
Water
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Flora Nearby
Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby
Avoid the Crowds & U Will Njoy
by sventre

Coon Bluff can become a very busy location, especially during the hot summer months. However, the area provides an opportunity for some terrific views, year-round flowing water and other treats as close as one can get to the city. This loop hike can be either a simple matter of "exercise"; or, it can prove to be filled with enchantment. Everything is in the timing.


Getting to the trailhead is simple enough. From the west take Power Road past the Granite Reef Dam and along Bush Highway until you see the turnoff for Coon Bluff Rd. From the east, travel along Bush Highway about 1 mile past the intersection with Usery Pass Road. Once on Coon Bluff Road, proceed about .4 miles to the parking area on your left. The trailhead is at the far southwest corner of the parking area (33.54400N, 111.63541W).

I recommend that you forego this hike during the summer months, or on holiday weekends when crowds and debris infiltrate what is otherwise a placid environment. If you can start out on a weekday morning just as the dawn approaches the eastern horizon so much the better. Travel the route counterclockwise and you will undoubtedly get to appreciate views in all directions, the glow of the morning sun as it paints across the buttes to the west and a calming mist as it rises from the Salt River to the northeast.

The Hike: Almost immediately after you leave the trailhead you will begin a steep, but short, climb up to the ridge that crests the hills leading north to Coon Bluff. Water runoff erodes the hillside trail, but it is easy to find with only moderate difficulty maintaining ones footing. Once atop the ridge it is a fairly flat trek across to the bluff. Now is the time to enjoy sunrise, the sounds of the river, and if you are fortunate, an encounter with the Wild Stallions. On earlier hikes I have come within inches of these beautiful creatures, but this day I saw the band of stallions across the intervening valley and upon a hillside to the west. They were engaged in grazing and "horseplay" in the early sunlight.

The trail continues on to the Bluff itself and from here you can descend to the east for a visit to one section of the Lower Salt River Recreation area. You will notice that by parking at the trailhead you have avoided paying the recreational area fee. The route described here does not include a descent to the river, but instead proceeds to the northwest along a game trail that terminates just shy of an unnamed wash which separates Coon Bluff from a plateau that overlooks the Phon D. Sutton Recreation Area. Pick your way down the steep walls of the wash (33.54570N, 111.65165W) and then head south a short distance through the wash until you locate a viable location for climbing out the western wall. [I've rated the hike a 2.5 difficulty only because of this wash crossing, else it is a 1.] From here you will bushwhack up and across the plateau maintaining a closeness to the northern edges for the better views of the river. There are an abundance of game trails to assist you and eventually your west-by-northwest trek will cross an abandoned jeep trail. Follow along the jeep trail to the northwestern most edge of the small plateau and what appears to be a gravesite marked with a tall vertical "headstone". From this point you will descend toward the flat ground which abuts the entry drive to the recreation site. Make your own path back toward the trailhead by selecting among the numerous washes, game trails and horse tracks that cover the area.

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2010-10-26 sventre
    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
    Coon Bluff Loop
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    My ankle injury has kept me off the trails for a while, but I needed to get out and hike something to keep my sanity. I decided to hike up to Coon Bluff for a sunrise.

    The trail to the cliffs is really defined now. The last time I was up here, it was more of a bushwhack. There's an easy trail up at the base of the cliff to the left. I did not do the entire loop, but mainly stayed at the overlook. I could hear the horses but did not see any.

    I arrived pre-dawn and hiked up. The clouds and Mother Nature cooperated and I was treated to a lovely sunrise. Me, Mr Sun, Mother Nature and a few 100 of my new bee friends were all I had up there. Lot's of bicyclists in the parking lot. Getting in their miles before the inferno started, no doubt.

    I find out this coming week if it's more rehab or a surgery on the ankle. Either way, not hiking when you are used to hiking every week is an adjustment for sure.
    Coon Bluff Loop
    rating optionrating optionrating optionrated 2rated 2
    This was a sunrise hike in a new area for me. I have some friends in town who just completed the CDT. They're flying out of PHX today, so we hit the trail early to do something active before I went to work and they went to the airport. Coon Bluff was interesting. Good views of the river and the Verde confluence. We saw three dead saguaros that had collapsed. They were huge, so they must've lived a long life!
    Coon Bluff Loop
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Didn't really do this loop as the mapped area shows, but a different version. When driving down Bush Highway I would always see the trail that leads straight up the little mountain there are the Phon D Sutton turn off and wanted to check it out so today I did. This is what I came up, Parking in the dirt right off the Phon D Sutton turn off, I believe this is the trailhead for salt river trail 100. Took the trail up and over the bluff, and down to the confluence of the Salt and Verde rivers. This is a well established trail, and by evidence left behind I would say it is mostly used by horses. The only spot where we needed to get a bit creative is when descending down to the parking lot at the river, but not too bad. Pretty nice route and the river looked good today.
    Coon Bluff Loop
    rating optionrating optionrating optionrated 2rated 2
    I went to Coon Bluff to look for some snakes. I didn't find any. :( Not only did I not find any snakes, I failed to catch any lizards and just missed catching a ground squirrel by hand. I'm not at the top of my game. As a default, I photographed some birds.

    The waterfowl and the lovebirds were from the golf course near Thomas Rd and Bush Hwy. As I drove by the golf course, I had my window down and heard a bunch of squealing. Usually, it's my brakes that are doing the squealing, but this time, I recognized the squealing from the lovebirds. So I pulled off to photograph them plus a few others before reaching Coon Bluff.
    Coon Bluff Loop
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    I didn't quite follow the same path as the main trail. After enjoying great views on the ridge of Coon Bluff, wandered down the trail to the Salt River and the Phon D Sutton Picnic Area. Found a very cool shallow cave and small rock arch ( N33 32 53.2 W111 39 14.3 ) Began wandering back. Found an interesting mine with a metal grating covering ( N33 32 30.5 W111 38 45.8 ) Perhaps this was were barite and silver were mined many years ago. It was a quiet walk. I saw a few people enjoying the Salt River, a few more mountain biking. A few more with horses at the trailhead. No wild horses today.
    Coon Bluff Loop
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    On such warm day we opted to turn right when we shulda turned left. After hiking up the first hill, grabbing a photo op thanks to another couple hiking, spotting a horse off into the distance enjoying the river, and jealously eyeing the water ourselves, we opted to make a beeline for the water once we hiked the ridgeline. The water never got deeper than waist deep, spotted a group of cormorants and a blue heron. Then when we had our fill of hiking in the river we crossed back over near the campground and had our lunch and watched a two guys inflate their kayaks all the while, ourselves, being watched and harassed by the local fat squirrel population. The squirrels are out of control here and quickly dispelled any notion of camping here. All in all a good adventure.
    Coon Bluff Loop
    rating optionrating optionrating optionrated 2rated 2
    Sandy and I went on a short hike this morning. We did the Coon Bluff loop. Good thing we didn't have anybody else along or they would have questioned our claim to be "experienced hikers". Take 1 - After picking up some snacks at a Circle K we arrive at the trail head T about 7:00 am. It's only then I remember we need a Tonto National Forest Day Pass. I've only been there before about 10 times so it's not like I would know something like that ahead of time. So 20 miles and 30 minutes later we're back at the trail head. Take 2 - we follow the trail keeping to the left along the river. About a quarter mile later we reach a cliff. It's a dead end so we back-track to the beginning. Take 3 - success. . . sort of. We are on top of the bluff now and there are multiple faint trails all over but nothing definitive. After some wondering we finally find the "real" trail. Hey. It's all part of the adventure. It's what memories are made of! Had a great time.

    Permit $$
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    Directions
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    Paved - Car Okay

    To hike
    From the west take Power Road past the Granite Reef Dam and along Bush Highway until you see the turnoff for Coon Bluff Rd. From the east, travel along Bush Highway about 1 mile past the intersection with Usery Pass Road. Once on Coon Bluff Road, proceed about .4 miles to the parking area on your left. The trailhead is at the far southwest corner of the parking area (33.54400N, 111.63541W). Forest Service Permit is not required as long as you proceed no farther into the recreation site.
    page created by sventre on Oct 26 2010 12:12 pm
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