The Rio Salado Habitat Restoration Area stretches along five miles of the Salt River just south of downtown Phoenix. Once a dump site, the area is now a lush riparian corridor with five miles of paved and dirt trails dotted with unique design and user features. Bird watchers have spotted more than 200 species of birds (and counting…) in Rio Salado’s varied habitats from wetland ponds to mesquite bosque to cottonwood/willow forest. Hike, bike, wheelchair, jog, horseback — anyone can access Rio Salado and experience the Salt River’s rich and varied wildlife as it once was — all in the heart of the nation’s fifth largest city.
We are going to call this Sonoran Audubon’s first Gilligan tour. Yes, three hours only. We will start by checking out the habitat on the North side of the river including the “waterfall” area and the desert milkweed garden. This is a unique area with swampy places with cottonwood and willow trees and a large mesquite bosque. We will finish the loop and re-assemble at the parking lot to re-locate to the Southside of the river.
On the Southside, we will park at the West lot at Audubon Arizona and proceed toward the river trails. We will take the middle trail toward 7th Ave, cross a small wet area and return on the lower trail. This area has lots of ponds with Common Yellowthroats, etc.
Rio Salado is located approximately south of downtown Phoenix across the river from the Nina Mason Pullman Audubon Center. There is lots of parking.
Things to Know/Bring:
This trip will go from 8:00am to 11:00am. Bring a lunch if you wish and lots of water. The river is currently running a muddy brown and has quite a bit of visible trash.
Please bring binoculars and cameras. Bathrooms are available at the trailhead. We will be doing moderate hiking, so plan on bringing sturdy hiking boots. A wide-brimmed hat and sun block are also highly recommended.
Carpooling, Meeting Time/Location:
8:00am at the NE Central Ave. Trailhead 2439 S. Central Ave.
Carpool groups from the Phoenix area: by participants.
Difficulty: 2 – hiking on dirt roads and we will cover about three miles.