Salt River Pima-Maricopa Reservation, Phoenix
Whitewater rafting on the Upper Salt River is a great day or weekend trip! Trips departs from the Salt River Bridge off of highway 60 located 2 hours from East Phoenix and North Tucson. The closest town to the launch location is Globe, Arizona located approximately 40 miles south. The Salt River Canyon trips start at the bottom of Apache Falls and takes you through 2000-foot canyons showcasing 2 billion years of geology. Explore the Salt River and tackle numerous, thrilling class III whitewater rapids, one every 5-10 minutes! You have the choice of stepping up the level of adventure even more in an inflatable kayak (sit on top type so no need to learn how to roll). Along with the exciting rapids, you will be treated to breathtaking scenery including colorful desert flowers, varied wildlife, and cascading waterfall.
The Salt is an intermediate river and at lower water levels is suitable for ages 8 and up, while at higher water levels ages limits generally rise to 12. Note however, that rapids can vary within their class as water levels change. For example, at low water, a class III (wet and fun rapid) can become a -III or a II+ (splashes from the waist down). At high water, a class III can become a III+ or -IV, which means getting drenched! Water levels depend on the amount of snow melt and how fast it runs off (which in turn depends on different weather factors such as more rain or unusually cold or hot spring weather).
Half day to four-day campout options are available, the season on the salt river is generally fairly short starting in March and going through Mid-may.
Floating down the cold Salt River is a perfect way to cool off and relax on a hot summer day. The scenery in Tonto National park is beautiful. You will need a driver's license and $14 cash to rent a tube at Salt River Tubing and board the bus to the river. The crowded bus, which reminds me of summer camp, will drop you off at Point 1 where your trip will start off. The water is cold, sun very hot against the black inner tubes and the scenery includes mountains and desert trees. There are five points for a total of aprox a 4 hour tubing trip. You can get off at point 2 by the bridge, but then you would miss the small rapids right around the corner (my son's favorite part).
Suggestions: bring a towel to drape over the tube (it gets really hot to the touch while you float), Lots of sunscreen, cooler that floats filled with drinking water and some snacks, stay away from the sides of the river where you are most likely to get stuck in weeds.
Create wonderful memories!