Salt River Rafting

Salt River rafting incorporates a variety of settings, from canyons to fields of cacti. With challenging rapids between Class III and Class IV, Salt River Canyon ranges in the level of ability, changing with high and low waters that fluctuate with the changing seasons, which makes it a very popular spot for whitewater rafting in Arizona. From a few hours to several days nearing one week, Salt River rafting trips can fit with just about any Arizona vacation. Known as the jewel of the desert, the Salt River Canyon offers an enchanting scenery of rustic wilderness, delicate wildflowers, on-looking wildlife, and steep gorges, all of which can be scene in between rafting challenges, especially on the longer overnight trips, where guests can relax at riverside during the evening hours while enjoying a meal or chat with friends around a warm campfire.

The Salt River in Arizona is a tributary of the Gila River—its largest, in fact—and provides water and irrigation through canals that stretch more than 1,000 miles. In addition to the river’s being a necessary resource for farming and drinking water, Salt River rafting is an extremely popular sport, especially during the late spring and early summer. Early spring is still a bit chilly, and heading through the waters of any river can be a frigid experience, since the water is generally coming from snowmelt. Late summer and early autumn sometimes bring heavy rains, comparable to monsoons, and this often causes flash flooding in the river, causing a dangerous threat to Salt River tubing and rafting adventurers; this is why the best season remains confined to early mid-year.

Salt River tubing is another option for those who wish to experience the river and wildlife, however in a different (and more low-key) mode of transportation, an inner-tube. These trips are significantly shorter than Salt River rafting trips and are offered on a limited stretch of the river where there are no whitewater areas, ensuring the safety of tubers. Salt River tubing requires a completely different dress than rafting as well, patrons are recommended to wear swimwear, and as such, tubing is limited to the warm summer months.

Salt River rafting often presents a few hazards, and while experts will do the best they can to provide as much safety as possible, be sure to follow your guide’s instructions and safety tips and to bring sun block and different layers of clothes—and don’t forget your camera, for what is sure to be an unforgettable trip down the Salt River Canyon. If you want to explore one of the Salt River's tributaries, take a look at Verde River rafting trips.

Image: Gonzo fan 2007 (flickr)
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