Thursday, January 5, 2012

Take a walk in the desert and learn about wildlife and desert plants

Weekly Guided “Desert Walks” on Tonto National Forest in January
Lower Salt River and Tortilla Flat Campground locations
Mesa, Ariz. (January 4, 2012).  A weekly “Desert Walks” program, featuring wildlife and  desert plants used by Native Americans, is being sponsored by the Mesa Ranger District volunteers on the Lower Salt River and at Tortilla Campground. 
The walks are conducted by two retired educators and master gardeners:  Amiee Beth Ward on the Lower Salt River and by Betty Ann Sutton at Tortilla Flat. 
The walks are over easy terrain and last about an hour and a half.   Sun protection, comfortable walking shoes, and water are recommended.  There is no charge and a Tonto Pass is not required for the walks.  
The lower Salt River walks are conducted Tuesday mornings at 10 a.m., alternating between the PhonD Sutton site (even Tuesdays of the month) and The Pebble Beach site (odd Tuesdays of the month):   

  • From Mesa, take Power Road (which becomes Bush Highway) 9 miles to Forest Road (FR) 169, and turn left to PhonD Sutton.  The Pebble Beach site is another 4 miles on Bush Highway and turns off to the right.
  • From Fountain Hills, take Route 87 (Beeline Highway) north and turn right onto the Bush Highway.  Go past Saguaro Lake and turn left into Pebble Beach.  The PhonD Sutton site is 4 miles beyond on Bush Highway and turns off to the right on (FR) 169.
The Tortilla Campground walks are Wednesdays, 1 pm. The walk is about .4 miles, and is handicapped-accessible over paved walkways.  To get to the Tortilla Campground, take State Route 88 (E. Apache Trail) to mile marker 213.  The entrance to Tortilla Campground turns off the left as you approach Tortilla Flat.  Follow the signs to the parking area.
Any updates or additional information on the Desert Walk program can be found online at

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