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The Salome Wilderness area is situated in the Sierra Ancha Mountains, just above Arizona’s Roosevelt Lake. Over 18,000 acres in the Tonto National Forest belong to Salome—The Jug is classified as the thin portion of Salome Creek, and is a scenic hike full of swimming and rappelling. Educate yourself well, and be sure you have the appropriate skills, before taking off.
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Plan your trip late spring to early summer—it’s not too hot at this time, nor is it monsoon season. The Jug Trail used to be a Jeep run, but now it guides canyoneering enthusiasts on foot down rocky slopes to the Salome Creek. An enormous slab of granite rock marks a 20-foot cliff which leads to the water. Be prepared, the pools can be quite chilly.
Prepare to Get Wet
You’ll find yourself wading through waist, to chest deep water channels that weave through the colorful pink walls. Many natural water slides pop up along the route—use caution, but consider giving nature’s Slip n’ Slide a try. At times, adventurists will have to swim through deeper, crystal blue pools, so be sure everyone in the group is a strong swimmer.
The Grande Finale
Toward the end, there is a 50-foot waterfall where there are only two options—rappel down or jump. Jumping can be risky, because monsoons and other conditions can push debris into the pool. Rappelling can prove difficult as well, as one has to fight the rushing waterfall as they descend. Going on a guided tour is a good idea for the less experienced—instructors can guide you down the falls. The pool below is known as the heart of the Jug, and it’s Insta-worthy.
After splashing through the pools, the walls being to disappear, and the water leads to an open area. Here, you’ll hop on the cacti surrounded trail to your right, which will ultimately lead you back to the beginning.
Know Before You Go
- Pack your stuff in waterproof bags—there’s no way around getting wet
- Water shoes are the recommended footwear
- Heavy monsoon runoff from July to August can make navigating difficult and dangerous
- Diamondback and Arizona Black rattlesnakes call the wilderness home, so keep your eyes open
- The entire trip takes 4-5 hours
Address: A-Cross Rd,
Tonto Basin, AZ, 85553