Over grown in areas but very easy to stay on trail despite not much maintenance on it. Once down there, we were able to make it down part of Salome Creek, but it just rained and water was flowing pretty good and far too cold this time of year to purposefully go swimming. excellent places to set up camp by the water, but easy to make it just a day trip as well. whole trip took us a total of 7 hours with hanging out at the creek for about 2 hours.
Sandra L. on Hell's Hole Trail
When you see the sign Reynolds Creek Group Site or Reynolds Trailhead you are in the right place. The start of Hell's Hole is just a short walk up the road from the Reynolds Trailhead sign. Lots of bristly over growth on second half of this trail so pants will make for a more comfortable experience. Start with steady inclines and declines for about 1 hour before you get to a plateau that seems like it might be a usually muddy area but was dry when I went. After about 15 minutes of this you decend down some very long, steep switchbacks which will eventually get you to the bottom, Hell's Hole. Nice pools of water to wade in, surrounded by ginormous boulders. You will be glad if you take a dip because the hike back out is strenuous! I do not recommend trying this hike in the late spring or summer. It was 88 degrees when I did it and already too warm for the level of exertion this hike demands. 12 miles out and back took me about 6.5 hours
This hike was amazing! Once you reach the river it's lots of swimming, water slides and beautiful rock formations around you. At the very end of this hike, you will want be prepared for a 40 foot drop. Sometimes the water is high enough to jump, but most of the time you will need to rappel down with rock climbing equipment. This hike took us all day from driving to it to driving home, the hike itself took roughly 5 hours to complete but well worth my day!
This review is about Salome Jug:
The Jug is located in the rugged, mountainous Salome Wilderness of Tonto National Forest, on the northeast side of Roosevelt Lake -- land of saguaros, prickly pear and ocatillo, and, in the summer months, rock almost too hot to touch.
The two-mile hike in, all but about a half-mile of which is the same old jeep trail as the two-mile hike out, was a scorcher in the mid-day sun. We each cached a few liters of water by a large boulder at the point where we'd rejoin the trail on the way out. My hiking companions and I brought cooler bags to hold our stashed water bottles, which we'd frozen the night before. We then continued another quarter-mile to the top of Salome Jug and the first, slime-covered pool. Green gunk or no, it was certainly refreshing and a nice partly-shaded spot for a snack.
The surface scum (a/k/a slime, gunk and algae) is a summer occurrence, when water levels are low. The most popular time to visit Salome Jug is in May and June, when the water is clear and not too cold, and the flow rate is moderate. Even in the middle of summer, though, the trip through the Jug entails almost continual wading and swimming, and the largest, deepest shaded pools are cool and virtually algae-free. This trip is not possible -- or at least not at all advisable -- during the winter, when flow rate is high.
If there was a high-point in the adventure for me, it was the 30-foot rappel into the main pool, near the end of the Jug; although the 20-foot traverse along the sloped shelf -- sloped towards the cliff, that is -- at the top of the rappel made me nervous. But we set up a rope from a fixed bolt near the start of the traverse over to the rappel bolt, and we each in turn hooked a caribbeaner onto the rope for safety.
At the bottom of the "rap," we enjoyed some swim-time in the 50-yard-long main pool, where bats squeaked from crevices in the vertical walls and, every so often if I were still, little fish tickled my legs. My companions did some cliff-jumping while I floated on my daypack.
After several more deep pools and a few minor downclimb, we came to the final pool, where the gorge ends and the view opens up towards the wide valley and Roosevelt Lake in the distance. We followed the switchbacks up to the bluff, where we rejoined the Jug Trail and picked up our water cache. All ice had melted, but the bottles were still cool. By the time I reached the parking area, what little water I had left was hot. I strongly recommend bringing at least four liters per person on this hike, and a water filter wouldn't be a bad idea either, especially in the hottest months. And, of course, don't forget your sunblock!