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Old 04-20-2021, 01:43 PM   #1
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Salt River Canyon in AZ with 31-footer. Yes or no?

Would you recommend not taking a 31' Sovereign through Salt River Canyon? I-10 and I-25 between Tucson, AZ, and Albuquerque, NM, are regrettable but there aren't really any other non-Interstate alternatives. I know the road fairly well and the roads on both sides are parts of favorite drives around but I've not done it with a trailer and honestly never paid attention to the canyon from the standpoint of towing. Curious about others' thoughts and what your experiences have been.
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Old 04-20-2021, 02:16 PM   #2
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Have you thought about taking 87 from Mesa to Payson then taking 260 to 277, to 377 then to Holbrook tying into I40 to Albuquerque? This is the "back way" we take when we are coming from Wyoming to see our daughter in Mesa.
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Old 04-20-2021, 04:26 PM   #3
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If you stay on a paved road - it should be fine...

Looks like Salt River Canyon is fine...even recommended!

We've puled our trailer on many roads that are deemed "too scary" (Million Dollar Hwy)...the only thing to avoid are ones that are posted "no RVs" (Independence Pass, CO) they usually are too narrow (less than a full two lane road), have too tight of turns or too steep. But your trailer just follows behind your tow vehicle. If you're comfortable driving the road, your tow vehicle/trailer are equipment to handle the braking, it shouldn't be any problem.

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Old 04-20-2021, 04:31 PM   #4
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Another route would be take the Salt River Canyon to Hwy 60 and take that all the way to I-25 and then North to Albuquerque. Stop in Pie Town, NM for a slice...
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Old 04-20-2021, 04:45 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kpfate View Post
Have you thought about taking 87 from Mesa to Payson then taking 260 to 277, to 377 then to Holbrook tying into I40 to Albuquerque? This is the "back way" we take when we are coming from Wyoming to see our daughter in Mesa.
That's a possibility. From Tucson I don't love to drive through Phoenix if I don't have to and I really dislike I-10 between Tucson and Phoenix. We could take 77 from here, though, and go through Florence. We would probably stay on the rim and head east through Springerville and camp out near the AZ-NM border instead of taking I-40; our second-day destination would be northern New Mexico and then onto central CO.
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Old 04-20-2021, 04:48 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by InsideOut View Post
If you stay on a paved road - it should be fine...

Looks like Salt River Canyon is fine...even recommended!

We've puled our trailer on many roads that are deemed "too scary" (Million Dollar Hwy)...the only thing to avoid are ones that are posted "no RVs" (Independence Pass, CO) they usually are too narrow (less than a full two lane road), have too tight of turns or too steep. But your trailer just follows behind your tow vehicle. If you're comfortable driving the road, your tow vehicle/trailer are equipment to handle the braking, it shouldn't be any problem.

Shari
Stay on the pavement (looks down over the edge)... check!

We are going to Twin Lakes, CO, as our Colorado destination! Good times; spent summers there hopping over Independence Pass with my grandparents in the back of their Chevy. memory is hazy but it seemed that there was not really a shoulder around some of those turns on the Aspen side... Will definitely go around when we mosey on out towards Utah.
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Old 04-20-2021, 04:52 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by azflycaster View Post
Another route would be take the Salt River Canyon to Hwy 60 and take that all the way to I-25 and then North to Albuquerque. Stop in Pie Town, NM for a slice...
Hwy 60 FTW (love that area!), but we would probably go north from Quemado to let the kids explore some of the lava tubes at El Malpais. But pie... hmmm...
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Old 04-20-2021, 05:08 PM   #8
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Another route would be take the Salt River Canyon to Hwy 60 and take that all the way to I-25 and then North to Albuquerque. Stop in Pie Town, NM for a slice...
Unfortunately Pie-O-Neer owner Kathy Knapp closed the business last June after 25 years. It was the best pie shop anywhere and we had met the owners. Kathy and Stan have plans for another tourist related business but not in Pie Town.
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Old 04-20-2021, 05:15 PM   #9
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The northbound route is about 8 miles of 6% grade as you go down into the canyon. The southbound route is about 7 miles of 5 to 6% grade. Check out mountain directory for Arizona it's listing number 13, Salt River Canyon. Although it is curvy it is likely not the curve but just to continuous grade that would give anybody unease. It's Not unusual to see multitudes of cars off to the side overheating or concerned about their brakes. When the sign says you might want to turn your air conditioner off you might really want to do that. It certainly is a beautiful ride but unless you need to do that route with the trailer as others have said 87 is now two lanes in each direction and a much easier traverse.
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Old 04-20-2021, 05:19 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by aaryno View Post
Would you recommend not taking a 31' Sovereign through Salt River Canyon? I-10 and I-25 between Tucson, AZ, and Albuquerque, NM, are regrettable but there aren't really any other non-Interstate alternatives. I know the road fairly well and the roads on both sides are parts of favorite drives around but I've not done it with a trailer and honestly never paid attention to the canyon from the standpoint of towing. Curious about others' thoughts and what your experiences have been.
I have many miles of driving experience through the canyon in different types of configurations. You won't have any problems if you keep it slow. Let people by at the pullouts when possible and take a little rest at the bottom and walk down to the water. The old bridge is closed to vehicles but open to pedestrians.
Many years ago we saw a U-haul that lost it's brakes and went off the road and routinely see tractor trailers with their trailer brakes smoking on the way down but these people are pushing it too hard, the many tight curves are hard on the brakes if you insist on gaining speed on the straightaways then braking back down for the hairpin curves. Once we were in a 1/2 day backup when a flatbed dumped his load of rebar blocking both lanes for hours.
Of all the other 100's of times I have driven the canyon it was uneventful except for the wonderful scenery and the thrill of climbing into the junipers then pines on the other side going North through the Native lands.
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Old 04-20-2021, 06:22 PM   #11
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Guess it depends on what your towing with.
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Old 04-21-2021, 09:46 AM   #12
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We pulled our 30 foot classic through the Canyon 15 years ago. The only problem we had was that I found myself using nearly every pulloff to take pictures. I wound up with a lot of pictures that looked a lot alike. I did the same thing through Canyonlands National park.
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Old 04-21-2021, 12:19 PM   #13
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We regularly pull our 28ft international through Salt River Canyon. From where I live in Mesa AZ I can choose either hiway 87 to the 260 or use 60. I prefer the 60 through the Canyon and much less traffic. Time wise us 60 is about 30 minutes quicker than 87 to 260 between Mesa and Showlow AZ. Also cannot beat the scenery. Safe travels
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Old 04-21-2021, 12:21 PM   #14
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Since I live on the East edge of Phoenix urban sprawl in Gold Canyon, I tow through the Salt River Canyon multiple times per year. Our summer location is the Airstream only membership park in Lakeside, AZ (Ponderosa Shadows). We take side trips. The posted speed limit for the really steep areas (a couple of miles either side of the bridge) is 35mph.

I tow the 31' 2014 Classic (scales 9,200 pounds) behind my 2012 Ram 2500HD Cummins. The rig total weight is about 19,200 pounds.The engine braking is enough to keep the speed in check on descents without using brakes. I have the hand control for the trailer in hand in case of an emergency which happened last trip with a semi sized tow truck extracting a vehicle in the middle of a blind turn.

I towed our 2015 23D International Serenity (scales 6,069 pounds) with my 2007 Mercedes ML320 CDI V6 turbo diesel through the canyon many times. The posted 35 mph worked out to be second gear in descents so brakes were never touched and third gear on the ascents.

The only thing to be aware of is diesel/gasoline is really only available either in Show Low or Globe. There is an Indian reservation fuel station with random hours between Show Low and the bridge and I doubt the fuel is too fresh.

A properly sized tow vehicle for the trailer in question and going the suggested speeds of the yellow signs before turns and staying at or below the square speed limit signs will make for an easy experience.

I will say the the State Police do hand out performance awards on US60 to those that deserve them.
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Old 04-21-2021, 12:26 PM   #15
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Salt River on 60 should be no problem

I pulled my Safari 25' through the SRC with my F150 EcoBoost, south to north, a couple of years ago with no problem. That was the test that confirmed for me that I have enough truck for my AS (along with numerous other Western passes, 10,000+ ft camping spots, cross-country interstates, Skyline Drive, etc.).
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Old 04-21-2021, 12:30 PM   #16
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We've taken our 25' through there without any issues. We saw a few giant 5th wheels making the drive as well so I don't think you'll have any problems related to the length of your AS.
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Old 04-21-2021, 12:38 PM   #17
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Salt River Canyon

Do it! We pull a 27í GT to-from Tucson 3 times a year, no issues.
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Old 04-21-2021, 01:10 PM   #18
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Used to pull my Dad’s 34 through the canyon twice a year when he was a little older and less sure of himself. He pulled it through many many more times. Now it’s mine and semi-permanent at Ponderosa Shadows Airstream Park at Show Low Lake.

As I recall, the toughest parts of the trip were from Winkleman to Globe and from Mammoth to Oracle. Winkleman to Globe has tough grades and some narrow spots with the slow copper hauling trucks adding to the challenge. Mammoth to Oracle was an early October venture late in the day with 100 degree temps common, and after three hours of mountain roads we were often a bit too hot on that final climb.

BTW - Morro Rock National Monument is open. Great place to camp. No services, but the hike and scenery is awesome!
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Old 04-21-2021, 02:47 PM   #19
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We pull our 26U Airstream with our f150 3.5 Ecoboost through the Salt River Canyon with no problems.
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Old 04-25-2021, 09:42 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aaryno View Post
Would you recommend not taking a 31' Sovereign through Salt River Canyon? I-10 and I-25 between Tucson, AZ, and Albuquerque, NM, are regrettable but there aren't really any other non-Interstate alternatives. I know the road fairly well and the roads on both sides are parts of favorite drives around but I've not done it with a trailer and honestly never paid attention to the canyon from the standpoint of towing. Curious about others' thoughts and what your experiences have been.



When the NM Governor closed State Parks to camping with no notice, we were at Picacho Peak in AZ and had reservations for Caballo Riverside in New Mexcio which suddenly were no good. We have a Tundra with a 22 foot Safari (2004). We were going to winterize at Caballo before making the 3 hour trip back to Albuquerque. We ended up getting a night at Fool's Hollow Lake SP in Show Low. The only logical route was up Tangerine Road to Catalina SP and left through the Salt River Canyon.


If you have a diesel and good brakes, I wouldn't hesitate to go that route.
My Tundra had plenty of tow power for the 5000 lb trailer. Turns were wide enough not to cause a problem, but I have to admit to taking more than my share going up (fortunately no traffic was coming down). My wife said it was beautiful, but I didn't see much scenery. l lived in Colorado for three years, but didn't tow trailers back then. With brakes and power you won't have too much trouble. Maybe you have already made a decision and this is old news... I didn't notice you posting date. Let us know if it is history and how you did!
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