A few weeks ago, a group of us took a little canyoneering journey up to Salome Canyon. For those of you who may not know, canyoneering is an adventure activity that essentially entails making your way down the bottom of a canyon – by any means necessary. Sometimes that means hiking, sometimes it’s sliding and sometimes there are technical rappels involved. Canyoneering is picking up steam as a mainstream activity but has long been an incredibly popular activity in the “adventure travel” realm, with canyoneering (or canyoning) being wildly popular in adventure destinations like Switzerland, Argentina, Costa Rica, and closer-to-home Zion. My first canyoneering experience came in Interlaken, Switzerland in 2007. This was definitely a tourist-centric trip but got me hooked on the sport!
Salome is in the Salome Creek Wilderness north of Roosevelt Lake. There is only one necessary rappel – at the very end of the canyon – but there are plenty of scrambles, slides and swims! Although this was my first time down the canyon, it wasn’t Dave’s first and he was very quick to point out the water was incredibly low. Water levels here, as well as in most desert canyons, can vary drastically! If water levels are high, or if there is a chance of storms, it is probably best not to attempt the canyon.
The following video was put together using video shot by all members of our party – we had a blast and will definitely be back!
Necessary Gear: You WILL get wet! All of your stuff WILL get wet! If there is anything that needs to stay dry (electronics, wallet, etc) leave it in the car or put it in a dry bag — or better yet, a canyon keg! There are tons of products out there made specifically for canyoneering, by brands like Imlay Canyon Gear, and all of them will make your day more enjoyable in some way. In our crew packs ranged from a pack made for canyoneering, to a simple CamelBak pack. All will get the job done! Footwear is also a matter of personal preference. I opted for my Chacos, Dave was wearing boots. About 150 feet of rope will get you through the one rappel. Also bring some webbing and be comfortable setting up an anchor at the rappel bolts.
The Hike: The approach to the canyon is just about two miles (downhill on the way in – grueling uphill when you’re on your way back, tired and hot!). The canyon itself is relatively short, about one mile, but can take some time, especially if you enjoy sliding down granite slides! We did the entire trip from car to car in just about 5 hours.
Directions: From Tucson, head north on Oracle Road (Hwy. 77) to Globe. Take Hwy. 60 west toward Superior, drive north on Hwy. 88. After 15 miles, turn right on Hwy. 288 toward Young. After 13 miles, turn left on Forest Road 60, also known as A Cross Road. Watch for a brown forest service sign on the right side of the road. There is a small parking area next to the sign. Jug Trail #61 begins just beyond the sign.