Tommy J. DeBardeleben

Salt River Bed and Alma School Road

Fast Flight Facts

Target Species:  Waterbirds

Elevation: 1100'

Habitat:  Open water with some reeds

Overall Birding Rating: 1

Difficulty: 1 (Easy)

Birding Type: Get Out and Scan

Facilities:  none

Fees/Ownership:  None/City of Mesa

Closest Town or City/How far from Phoenix:  Mesa /12.5 miles east of Phoenix

Getting there:  Pull off on the west side of Alma School Road at the Salt River

Overview:  Located in the middle of Scottsdale and Mesa, the Salt River Bed has extensive views of a large body of water, as Alma School Road crosses the Salt River.  The birder will park off the road here, and look down in on the water.  Many views of this large spot will have to be distant views of many of the birds.  Waterbirds are often abundant here and frequent this large and open part of the Salt River Bed.  If in the area, this site is always worth a stop and check.  As long as there's water here, birds will be present.  Reed habitat lines the shore in some places.  This is an area to pull off the road and scan the water roadside, where trespassing is not permitted beyond that.

Birding Tip:  The best tip here would be to bring a scope.  Most of the views here will be at a distance, with some birds probably too distant to be identified.  However, plenty of birds will be in scope range, which will make this spot a productive stop.  Simply park off Alma School once reaching the pull off that overlooks the river bed on the west side of the road, and scan away.

Directions:  If on the Loop 202, take the Alma School Road exit 0.3 miles north on Alma School Road.  The River Bed will be on the west side of Alma School Road, where there is an easy pull off that overlooks the large body of water.  If not taking the freeway route, some of the closer roads that border this area that intersect with Alma School Road include McKellips Road (0.3 miles north of the River Bed overlook), and University Drive (which is two miles south of the River Bed Overlook). 


Salt River Bed and Alma School Rd. Maps


Scenes and Sights from the Salt River Bed and Alma School Road:


Area 5-South Phoenix, Scottsdale, and Tempe

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