Salt River Rafting in Arizona

When thinking of booking an epic whitewater rafting adventure, one doesn’t normally think of going to Arizona. Yet the Salt River, as it meanders through Tonto National Forest near Globe, AZ, is one of the premier white water rafting destinations in the western U.S. In Spring, winter runoff from nearby snow melt from the White Mountains transforms the normally tranquil river into a raging Class III-IV whitewater rafting adventure.

Colorado-based Wilderness Aware Rafting is the longest running Salt River rafting company in Arizona with over 30 years of experience. Only running trips when conditions are right during the peak runoff from March through early May, professional, experienced and fun loving guides return year after year to share the canyon and its secrets. They always put your safety first as we only use top of the line rafting and camping equipment that you can rely on through the roughest rapids or the most challenging weather conditions.

Once on the river, you see some of the most beautiful country the Pacific Southwest has to offer. Only 2.5 hours east of Phoenix and 45 minutes from Globe, the upper stretch of the Salt River offers challenging rapids and the inspiring beauty of truly unique setting. The Salt River drops an average of 25 feet per mile for over 50 miles through rocky, secluded canyons. It flows through oak and juniper woodlands down into stunning Lower Sonoran Desert vegetation, with giant multi-armed saguaro cactus and a diversity of other vegetation. Several side canyons reveal oasis-like micro-habitats that are a lush reprieve from the prickly cactus environment. On multi-day trips, excellent scenic riverside campsites are abundant and accessible only by raft.

Choose from short white water rafting trips of just a day to longer multi-day rafting trips of up to five days. Many Phoenix and Tucson residents join us each spring on our most popular trip – a full-day rafting adventure starting near the Highway 60 bridge between Globe and Show Low. This trip provides an epic day of Class III-IV rapids as you traverse through the beautiful Salt River Canyon. Maneuver around Mule Hoof Bend and plunge into challenging rapids including Maytag, Grumman and Overboard. Move through the scenic Narrows as your knowledgeable and experienced raft guide points out the colorful wildflowers throughout the volcanic cliffs. Test your skills with the hot action waves of Exhibition and the infamous Mescal Falls.

arizona view

To fully explore the canyon, with its beaches, unique geology and huge variety of plants, animals and bird life, consider an overnight whitewater rafting adventure of two to five days. Come see why the Salt River Canyon is one of the Southwest’s hidden treasures. On our two day trip, travel 42 miles through the extremely remote Salt River Wilderness. Your days are jam packed with white knuckling rapids like Rat Trap, The Maze, and Corkscrew that require intense paddling and teamwork. Feel the sand between your toes as you set up camp on a secluded riverside beach deep within the granite lined canyon. Experience giant saguaro cacti first hand as they tower over each bend of the river. Fresh spring smells fill the air and entire hillsides are blanketed with colorful desert wildflowers.

On our longest rafting trip, a five day whitewater expedition, float 51 miles at a relaxed pace designed to ensure that you and your friends truly escape the everyday life within the Salt River Canyon. Each bend in the river brings thrilling rapids, evokes new curiosities about geology, or unveils stunning views of wildflower covered cliffs. With this trip, you have the luxury of time to thoroughly explore the vast number of side canyons and follow creeks to their hidden pools. Every day brings new challenging rapids to be conquered by your team and led by your expert guide. Spend evenings with family or friends playing games on secluded sandy beaches. In the morning enjoy the warmth of a hot cup of coffee as you watch the sunrise.

A trip on the Salt River in Arizona is wild and isolated, with extreme beauty and fantastic rafting. In this primitive environment, you need an outfitter that provides the basic necessities for health and comfort, in addition to what is most important, a fun loving, educated guide that keeps safety first and foremost. With Wilderness Aware Rafting, your Arizona whitewater rafting adventure will be one to remember. Join us for the white water rafting trip of a lifetime!