The Dry Canyon Picnic Area and Boat Take Out are located within close proximity of each other. The Take Out is used by those floating the Gila River within the Gila Box Riparian National Conservation Area
(RNCA). An overnight parking area for river floaters and the picnic area, which is located within mesquite woodlands, are located just west of the Take Out.
The Gila Box Riparian National Conservation Area (RNCA) is about an hour northeast Safford. The Dry Canyon Picnic Area and Boat Take Out is one of the first developed sites encountered along the access road.
From Safford, travel approximately five miles east on U.S. Highway 70 to the town of Solomon and turn left onto Sanchez Road. Travel north for eight miles, crossing the bridge at the Gila River, to a Gila Box RNCA sign. Turn left onto that dirt road and travel 2.7 miles to the Dry Lake Boat Picnic Area and Take Out.
River floating, wildlife viewing, fishing, picnicking
Restroom, information kiosk, picnic tables, grills
Permits, Fees, Limitations
The picnic area is located along a county-maintained dirt road; a four-wheel-drive or high-clearance vehicle is not needed to access the site. The restrooms are wheelchair accessible. A four-wheel-drive vehicle is recommended when driving beyond the picnic area to the Boat Take Out along the Gila River due to deep, loose sand.
Camping and Lodging
Within the Gila Box RNCA, dispersed camping is allowed on public lands; campers should choose previously disturbed sites to reduce impacts. Developed campsites are located nearby at Riverview Campground
. Safford and Thatcher offer a variety of lodging options including motels and campgrounds, as well as cabins at Roper Lake State Park
Food and Supplies
Gasoline, food and supplies can also be found in Safford and Thatcher.
No first aid available on site. Dial 911 for emergencies; cell phone coverage is limited in low areas along the river, so you may have to seek higher ground to reach cell service. The nearest medical facility is the Mt. Graham Regional Medical Center in Safford.
Water levels can vary widely at this site depending on recent precipitation and spring run-off from nearby mountains. No wood collecting at the site; bring your own firewood or charcoal for picnicking.
The Graham County Chamber of Commerce
can provide more information about local recreation opportunities, as well as lodging and restaurant options on their website or by calling 1-888-837-1641.
Gila Box Riparian National Conservation Area
Manager: Tom Schnell
711 14th Ave.
Safford, AZ 85546