Salt River Canyon

Just a few dozen miles past Globe, AZ lays a giant cleft in the landscape, a 2,000-foot-deep river canyon that is loaded with history and some of the most dramatic views ever seen from a car window.  The Salt River Canyon is sometimes called the mini-Grand Canyon, with its stark, sweeping vistas carved by millions of years of erosion. Those who know the Salt River know that it is as the magnificent midway point between Phoenix and such destinations as the Pained Desert and the Petrified Forrest.

U.S. HWY 60 snakes down one wall of the canyon, crosses the Salt River via a scenic bridge, and then climbs up the other side on its way to Show Low.  The Salt River Canyon remains a wild place. It is so vast that it can interest many tourists and lose them in the hundreds of square miles of mysterious valleys, rocky spires and vertical cliffs.

North of Globe, U.S. HWY 60 crosses high desert country for about 40 miles before it descends into the canyon. The heavily traveled road is broad and well paved, but drivers need to be aware that steep inclines and hairpin turns require concentration. The views can easily distract visitors.  From the Phoenix area, take the Superstition Freeway east, then U.S. HWY 60 to Miami and Globe, historic mining towns, where you may want to stop for lunch. Continue north until the road begins to drop down a steep grade. After the first hairpin turn, the Salt River Canyon will begin to unfold.

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Bridge over the Salt River, Tempe, AZ


June 9, 2005