Tommy J. DeBardeleben

Pebble Beach Recreation Site

Fast Flight Facts

Target Species:  Desert Riparian bird species

Elevation: 1400'

Habitat:  Desert Riparian Habitat along the Salt River

Overall Birding Rating: 3

Difficulty: 2-3 (Fairly easy to Moderate)

Birding Type: Moderate Hiking

Facilities:  Parking, restrooms, trailer hookups, camping

Fees/Ownership:  Six dollar Tonto National Forest Fee

Closest Town or City/How far from Phoenix:  Mesa /29.8 miles east-northeast of Phoenix

Getting there:  Accessed to parking area is right off the Bush Highway

Overview: The Pebble Beach Recreation Site is yet another Salt River site that has a great mix of habitat with a large area to explore.  This is one of the few recreation sites where the Salt River is south of the Bush Highway.  This area consists of mesquites and sonoran desert for a majority of the area, especially on the north side of the Salt River.  There are several willows on this side of the river, where riverside, this recreation site has some of the highest reed habitat at the Salt River.  On the south side of the river, the habitat is excellent with good willow and cottonwood stands.

On top of several huge cottonwoods that tower over the area, lies a Great Blue Heron rookery that fill up a few of these cottonwoods.  This area is accessed by crossing the Salt River and continuing to the south side.  The cottonwoods are bound to be great during migration.  If the Salt River is passable and shallow enough, the south side may be birded, which has really good potential for migrating birds.  Most of the area's willows also lie on this south side of the Salt River, and should be covered.  On the north side of the river where the main grounds are for the recreation site, habitat wise it is a good mix of desert and mesquite.  Riverside, there are very tall reeds where rails should be expected.  The water is often calm and open here, which dabbling ducks will favor this spot in the winter.

Birding tip:  By looking at the map provided on this page under the "Pages" section, try covering that general area as much as possible, birding on both sides of the river, and scanning the cottonwoods and the willows very well during the migration time frames.  The cottonwoods and willows really do stick out in this area and would be inviting for migrants.  Dabbling ducks highly favor this area and spook very easily.  Approach the river slowly with this in mind to have a better chance of seeing these ducks.

Directions:  The Pebble Beach Recreation Site is located off the Bush Highway between mile markers 28 and 29.  It is on the south side of the highway and directly across the road from the Blue Point Recreation Site and it's turnoff.


Pebble Beach Recreation Site Maps


Scenes and Sights from the Pebble Beach Recreation Site:

Great Blue Heron rookeries...


Birdlife of Pebble Peach Recreation Site:

Red-breasted Sapsucker


Back to Area 2-Lower Salt River Recreation Area

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