Arizona’s Mini Grand Canyon

Arizona’s historic Salt River Canyon is also called the Mini Grand Canyon. Last year in August on this blog I mentioned visiting Globe, Arizona, where I was lucky enough to take a tour of the haunted Drift Inn Saloon. When we left Globe that afternoon to return to Phoenix we took the scenic route through the canyon.










The drive offers breathtaking views from your car window. The route has several pull-offs along the way and I recommend stopping at every one. The drive is full of hairpin turns that take you down one wall of the canyon to the valley floor before crossing a scenic bridge and then climbing up the other side of the canyon. The area contains prehistoric petroglyphs and the Salt River is one of few rivers that flow through the saguaro cactus forests of the Sonoran Desert and offers over 200 species of wildlife.

There are no maintained trails in the canyon and about half of the outdoor enthusiasts who visit the area each year are skilled white-water navigators and ride the turbulent waters from March to May.



The Salt River Canyon is full of history and was used by Apache Warriors during the 1800s to hide from the U.S, Calvary troops. Today the river provides the border between the San Carlos Apache Reservation to the south and the White Mountain Apaches to the north.

Photo Credit                                                     Photo Credit


The famous Battle of Salt River Canyon took place in in 1872 and was part of the Tonto Basin Campaign and Yavapai War from 1871-1875. Thirty Apache scouts led the 5th Cavalry Regiment to a Yavapai stronghold in a canyon cave.

Photo Credit

The warriors refused to surrender and in the end seventy-six Yavapai were dead, including Chief Nanni-chaddi and several women and children. The bodies of the dead were left in the cave, which today is also known as Skeleton or Skull Cave and is believed to be haunted.



As much as I love nature and love seeing our beautiful country, I confess I’m not much of an outdoor enthusiast. I don’t mind taking a nature hike but you won’t catch me pitching a tent in a forest, riding white water rapids or climbing rocks. What about you?

Until Next Time…Happy Trails!

Newsletter  Website  Books

+ posts

22 thoughts on “Arizona’s Mini Grand Canyon”

  1. I used to camp and go white water rafting. I would love to do more rafting but camping out is not as appealing as it used to be.

  2. What a beautiful place to visit. I hope to get out there one day. I enjoyed hearing of your time there. I’m not a nature enthusiast either. I would enjoy the sights from the car or walking maybe a very short distance as long as I don’t see any snakes. I don’t like camping and I definitely wouldn’t do white water rafting.

    • Janine, I find nature’s beauty so inspiring and love seeing the beautiful places in our country but I don;t have the skills to last a night in the woods 🙂

  3. It’s no fun if you don’t camp out in a tent and cook over an open fire that’s they way we were raised to enjoy nature. I would need some foam under the sleeping bag but I would still camp outdoors.

    • Kim, I stayed at an overnight camp when I was a child but it had cabins not tents 🙂 I think if my parents would have been campers I might have learned to enjoy sleeping in the woods growing up but my parents weren’t nature people.

  4. Thank you for sharing your great post. I love camping but only in a travel trailer or motorhome…No tents! I love fishing but no white water rafting. I tried that once but it didn’t go well.

  5. Hi Marin! Enjoyed your post and the history of the Salt River Canyon! Arizona is so much desert that to see water flowing through an area always amazes me. As a child I swam somewhere along a river there by a small waterfall. It was thrilling for me since I was a city gal growing up. I loved camping as a child, however now I think I would love a small motor home for the added softness and convenience. 🙂

    • Kathryn, I vote for a motorhome, too! I think I’d really enjoy camping as long as I had running water and a flushing toilet …then again that’s not really camping for some folks :_)

  6. I don’t even camp in a travel trailer anymore–I want running water with a shower and a/c. The one we had as a kid had neither. Well it had running water and a loo, but it was so small, my parents didn’t allow us to use the shower. I hated walking to the bathhouse.

  7. I love hiking and being on the water. However, age has kind of gotten in the way. We have been in that area, but the children were young limiting much of what we could do. We hope to get back to the area in the not too distant future, but will be looking more than any serious hiking. We love the West and enjoy exploring the stunning land and the interesting history.

    • Patricia, I sure hope you can find time to explore more of the West. One day I hope to explore the deep South and it’s history but for now I’m happy roaming around the west 🙂

  8. I enjoyed your tour. I have always wanted to see the Grand Canyon and Mount Rushmore.
    Connie from Kentucky

    • Hi Connie, glad you enjoyed my post! One day I hope you get to see Mount Rushmore and the Grand Canyon, both are awe-inspiring places. Enjoy your weekend!

Comments are closed.