Salt River Rafting


Where is Salt River?

Is this a popular destination for white water rafting?

When does the season begin and end for Salt River rafting?

Salt River is a popular getaway and rafting destination for residents of Arizona and nearby states. Although many rafters don’t go out of their way to visit this location if they live too far to get there reasonably, it’s a great option for those who are close enough to make it to this beautiful river.

This is the only whitewater rafting option in the Phoenix, Arizona area, and it provides Beginner to Intermediate thrills with a few Expert possibilities. The season for Salt River rafting begins in March and ends in May, although other times of the year may work out better, depending on weather and crowds.

In this article, we’ve broken down some of the basics of rafting this river. Check out the information we’ve gathered below to help you decide whether or not this river is the right destination for you.

Salt River Rafting Basics

Before you can get started planning your trip, it’s important to brush up on the basics of Salt River whitewater rafting. Read through this section to learn more about what you can expect from the trip. The more you inform yourself ahead of time, the more likely you’ll be to plan the best possible Salt River trip for your needs.

Remember, too, if you’re bringing along friends or family members, you should always consider their needs as well. While you may be able to handle a more expert level rafting experience, for example, you may be bringing kids or friends who are still beginners. Choosing the best rafting excursion for everyone on the trip is one of the most crucial parts of the planning process.

Option #1

Difficulty: Intermediate, although trips are available for Beginner to Expert classes

  • Salt River contains a wide variety of different rapids areas. Depending on the skill level of you and your friends or family, you may want to choose a trip that encompasses one part of the river over another. Some areas are better suited for experts, due to their increased speeds and difficult rapids. However, much of the river is ideal for beginner to intermediate rafters and can easily be managed by those who are new to the hobby. Choose a tour with a guide if you have any concerns about the members of your group.

Option #2

Location and how to get there:

  • The Salt River is located east of Phoenix, Arizona. When leaving Phoenix, take Highway 60 East. At Apache Junction, turn left onto Highway 88 to head Northeast into the Superstition Mountains. The Salt River is located just off of Highway 88 to the Northeast of Phoenix.
  • Bear in mind that, if you’re going to be rafting with a tour group or company, you may need to find a different location to begin your trip. You will probably be looking for the outpost or rest area belonging to the company you’ll be working with. Check the company’s individual website for more detailed directions.

Option #3

Duration of the trip

  • There are many trip durations available when touring the Salt River. Pick one depending on the stamina and abilities of everyone involved in your party.
  • Half-day trips are one of the best options for the Salt River. They give you the chance to experience the Class III and Class IV rapids on the river without wearing yourself out if you’re inexperienced.
  • You can also choose to do a full-day excursion if you’re looking for something more challenging.
  • Some trips are available in two-day, three-day, and four-day options as well. For these trips, you’ll be camping overnight along the Salt River, so be prepared for sleeping outdoors.
  • Last but not least, you can always opt to do a “sprint,” or a short distance over the course of just a few hours.
  • The Salt River is easily accessible from Phoenix, Arizona, and is a good day or weekend trip from many other major cities in Arizona as well. This river is a beautiful, clear, and fresh body of water that has enough rapids to keep outdoorsy individuals entertained without being too difficult to manage for newcomers to the hobby. There are different types of rapids along the river, some of which are perfect for floating. Other portions of the river can provide a more intense experience for those interested. If you don’t choose to raft on the river and prefer something a little easier for yourself and your family, there are many sections available for tubing as well. Check along the river for rental stalls and shops where you can find tubes and family rafts for this experience. Otherwise, if you do plan to raft, there are plenty of rafting companies available in and around the area to help you plan the perfect getaway.


  • Salt River is a popular local whitewater rafting destination, so it’s great for those who may live in Arizona and who want to find a nearby attraction for their vacation getaway.
  • The Salt River has a little something for everyone, so you don’t have to feel excluded just because your skill level may not match that of the rest of your group.
  • Those who are looking for group rates and get-togethers on the Salt River can easily find many different companies and tour guides who are willing to provide discount group rates and make your event a memorable one.


  • The Salt River may be difficult to raft depending on the weather, particularly when temperatures climb well over 100 degrees Fahrenheit in Arizona during the summer months.
  • Although the Salt River isn’t as popular with tourists as it is with locals, there are times of the year when it may be very packed with guests and visitors, and it may be too crowded to really enjoy a true whitewater rafting experience.
  • Those who are looking for extreme, intense thrills may want to look elsewhere, since this river is overall more of an intermediate class experience with just a few short expert areas.


Here are a few good reasons to try Salt River for white water rafting, at least once:

  • The river is family-friendly in many locations, so you can find something safe for young kids to experience along with you. This can encourage your kids to spend time outdoors and foster healthy activity choices at the same time.
  • The river is conveniently located for those who live in Arizona. It’s not difficult to find, and it’s close enough to Phoenix that you don’t have to camp in the wilderness if you choose not to.
  • There are a lot of tours available for this river throughout the year, with options at every skill level.
  • The river is beautiful and provides tons of natural beauty and scenery for you and your group to enjoy together.

If you’re looking for an off-the-beaten-path whitewater rafting adventure, consider heading to the Salt River in Arizona. This location may quickly become one of your new favorite places to vacation, and you’re sure to create memories that will last a lifetime for you and everyone traveling with you, too.

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