Photograph the Salt River Wild Horses at Coon Bluff

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Added by Crystal Sibson

The Salt River wild horses can often be found along the banks of the river near the Coon Bluff recreation area. This is a popular location for photographers wanting to capture photos of these famous wild horses.

Wild horses have roamed the banks of the lower Salt River since long before the Tonto National Forest was created in 1902.  It is thought that these wild horses have descended from a herd brought to the area by a Spanish missionary in the 1600's.  

In 2015 the United States Forest Service had put out a notice of intent to remove all free-range horses from the area.  This notice provoked strong public outrage that resulted in thousands of people and businesses speaking out in protest over the removal of the horses.  Even Arizona's elected officials in Congress and the House or Representatives wrote letters to the USFS in an effort to protect the horses.  As a result the Salt River Horse Act was put into place to protect the horses for future generations to come.  Today the horses are managed by the Salt River Wild Horse Management Group and can be seen roaming freely along the river.

The Salt River wild horses are often seen roaming freely through the mesquite trees and in the river near Coon Bluff.  This is a popular river access point along the lower Salt River at the end of Coon Bluff Road.  A Tonto Pass or America The Beautiful Pass is required for parking.  

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Be Respectful of Wildlife

The horses are beautiful and fun to watch along the river. They are often in the river eating. On my most recent visit I watch as a kayaker headed directly at the horses to try to scare them off. It was really disheartening to watch. They were just trying to eat and not bothering anyone.

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Leave No Trace

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on.

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