Salome Wilderness Trails is a 12 mile trail located near Payson, AZ. The trail is rated as moderate and primarily used for hiking.
Fun. Bring water. I'd also bring a rope and some type of harness. There was a line to use but weather may one day make it loose it's strength
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!