Flowing through the deserts of central Arizona, the Salt River is a true wilderness escape. It’s easy to see how the Salt earned its moniker of the “Little Grand Canyon”. Steep, rock, canyon walls soar over 2000 feet above the river as your raft crashes through Class III and IV rapids. During the mellow sections, you’ll find yourself captivated by the surrounding scenery, the diverse plants and animals, and the soothing sound of the river.
- Location:Whitewater, Arizona
- Closest City: Phoenix, AZ about 2+ hours
- Best time to raft: March – April
- Ages: 8 years old and up
- Duration: Full day
Raft the Little Grand Canyon
The Salt River of Arizona is nestled amongst steep canyon walls reaching 2,000 feet above the river, which is exactly how this river received its “Little Grand Canyon” nickname. With sections of mellow whitewater flowing in to Class III and IV rapids, Salt River rafting trips are sure to give you memories to last a lifetime.
Our Salt River rafting trips take off in central Arizona in the town of Whiteriver. The trip meets at the Mild to Wild Salt River Outpost near Globe, AZ. The Outpost is off AZ-77 near mile marker 293 in the White Mountain Apache Indian Reservation.
What to wear
When you embark on your rafting trip it is best to wear quick drying materials. We do not recommend wearing cotton because it will take to long to dry. You can wear a swimsuit for under a wetsuit or splash jacket. The best shoes to wear are tennis shoes with wool or water proof socks. Do not wear crocs or flip flops because your shoes need to be secured to your feet.
What to bring
When going on your rafting trip we recommend packing lightly but it is great to have sunscreen, water bottle, and sunglasses with croakies so they don’t fall off. You can also bring a dry change of clothes for after your rafting trip.
The Salt River in Arizona has an earlier season then the rivers in Colorado. The best time to raft is between March and May each year. Water levels can change from year to year, so make you double check based on the time you decide to go rafting.
The Salt River is located in Whitewater, Arizona which is about 2 and a half hours from Phoenix.
The minimum age for rafting on the Salt River is 8 years old. The Salt River is a class II with straight forward rapids and great for a relaxing day on the river with just a little excitement along the way.
SALT RIVER WHITE WATER RAFTING DETAILS:
- Full Day Salt River Trip includes lunch- Minimum age 12
- Rafting equipment (wetsuits, splash jackets, booties) provided
SALT RIVER RAFTING
You’ll find it hard to end this amazing river trip. This is your chance to turn off the cell phone, forget the laptop, and truly immerse yourself in nature. You’ll pass through a range of unique environments as the river meanders down from the start of the canyon and gradually opens into the Lower Sonoran Desert.
SALT RIVER FULL DAY
You’ll charge through exhilarating Class III whitewater as 2,000-foot rock canyon walls rise up to either side and provide an incredible backdrop to rapids like Baptism, Kiss and Tell, and Mother Rock. Keep an eye out for the endangered Southern Bald Eagles that nest at the top of the limestone cliffs. A hot, grilled steak lunch caps off this perfect day in the wilderness.
In addition to Arizona rafting, the Salt offers a variety of side excursions. Hikes in narrow side canyons and swimming beneath serene waterfalls are just the start. Explore ancient cliff dwellings. Look for the endangered Desert Bald Eagles as you pass through their nature preserve. Admire the sacred Salt Banks. Feast on the delicious riverside meals prepared by your guides. Most of all, just relax and feel your cares slowly drift away. By the end of your trip, you’ll be ready to return home fully refreshed.
Where to Go Whitewater Rafting in the US
Knowing where to go whitewater rafting in the US is half the battle, but you first have to consider some things about yourself, and what kind of trip you’re looking for. Take an in-depth look within and start making the plan long ahead of time; this will ensure you have the best trip possible.
As with most outdoor adventures, the climate, terrain, and several other factors are crucial for a successful trip. Different places in the world offer selective benefits that can affect your outdoor vacation. Thankfully, tons of other travel enthusiasts have set the path for you, and have picked out their favorite places to go river rafting in the United States.
Best States for White Water Rafting
Here’s our list of top states that have the best rafting in the US. We’ve compiled notes from a couple of prominent travel sites like TripAdvisor and TripSaavy , and we’ve listened to what they had to say.
While there were some variations in states, whitewater rafting in Utah, Colorado, Idaho, and Arizona were the top spots listed. Known for their abundance and variance in rapids and treasured outdoor vacation destinations, whitewater rafting in Utah, Colorado, Arizona, and Idaho should be on everyone’s bucket list.
Where to Go Whitewater Rafting in Utah, Colorado, Arizona, and Idaho
If you’re wondering where exactly to go whitewater rafting in Utah, Colorado, Arizona, and Idaho, we’ve got the details you need. Between the wild Yampa River and the steady Green River , to the winding gorges of the Colorado River and the stunning, lush scenery found on the San Juan River , you will have plenty of options to choose from. To help narrow it down a bit, here’s where you should go:
Whitewater rafting in Utah is tough to beat. Utah will expose you to world-renowned rivers with skill levels for all ages and abilities. Rafters will experience unforgettable rapids and thrilling trips for themselves, their families, and friends. Besides trips on the Yampa and San Juan Rivers, Desolation Canyon rafting trips will take you through stunning, remote parts of Utah with beauty, as well as history.
Whitewater rafting trips in Colorado are some of the best adventures around. Rafters can get lost in the remote, gorgeous river ecosystems all flowing from the Rocky Mountains. Explore the Dinosaur National Monument, float through vast canyons, and truly experience the Colorado River by going on rafting trips in Westwater and Lodore Canyons , home of the Dinosaur National Monument .
Outdoor vacationers who choose to go rafting in Arizona are also in for a treat. Known as some of the wildest whitewater rafting in North America, Arizona rafting trips give guests a chance to experience over 150 rapids within the Grand Canyon. There are several rafting tours available in the upper and lower Grand Canyon areas.
Whitewater rafting in Idaho is unlike rafting in other places. Full of adrenaline-pumping Class III and IV rapids, there’s also tons of lush forests and wilderness to encounter on your trips. Guests will get a close look at Idaho’s deep, rocky canyons that run along sun-drenched white-sand beaches where they can stop, take a break, and relax. Escape into a natural oasis when visiting Idaho, some of the best trips here happen in the Main Salmon and Middle Fork Rivers .
Where is Whitewater Rafting the Most Popular?
Of course, white water rafting is an activity loved by people all over the world. Tripsavvy has a list of top 10 places in the world to go white water rafting, and the US only holds 2 out of those 10. Here are the two most popular rafting destinations in the US:
- Colorado River | UT, CO, AZ – With over 277 miles of river that extend through Utah, Colorado, and Arizona, the Colorado River is a must-experience staple of white water rafting with several paths and destinations to explore.
- Middle Fork, Salmon River | ID – Rafting the Middle Fork of the Salmon River in Idaho offers one of the most stunning, premier wilderness trips in the US. Explore over 100 miles of nature in one of the largest, roadless wilderness areas in a Canyon deeper than even the Grand Canyon.
How to Plan Your Whitewater Rafting Adventure
There are many things to consider when choosing a trip., causing people to get intimidated with the follow-through. Wouldn’t it be helpful to find someone who knew all the best trails, wild rapids yet serene floats, hiking, yoga, and everything in between? While Holiday River Expeditions provides curated travel planning services to travelers in Utah, Colorado, Arizona, and Idaho areas, we understand that the dedicated planner in you may want to consider other options too. In fact, Tripadvisor has a very robust list of all-things outdoor, nature, and travel-related to help get you started.
Some Other Things to Consider
Important details can sometimes get jumbled up when planning a vacation and all subsequent activities that go with it. Holiday River Expeditions can help with that! We’ve compiled a few essential factors to consider when location matters. Before you plan your white water rafting trip, consider:
- When’s the best time of year for rafting? There are opportunities for exciting white rafting trips all year round. But when is truly the best time to go whitewater rafting ? In the end, the best time for rafting depends on you and your needs and availabilities. Still, for a more wild adventure with high water in the US, May through Mid July can prime rafting times. For more calm trips or journeys with the kiddos, July through September offers lower level tides.
- What type of whitewater rafting trip do you really want? In case you’re still not sure about what you want in a white water rafting trip, we’ve put together a few critical points for you to ask yourself. Consider:
- How much time do you want to take off from work or be away from home?
- Are children involved?
- Is this a group trip, or are you riding solo?
- Are you looking for an oasis retreat, a journey to find yourself, a wild rafting ride, or just a pure outdoor guided adventure?
Once you jot down the answers to these key questions, you can get a jump on planning your trip.
What Are You Waiting for?
There are multiple, fun whitewater rafting trips intended for your future. Start looking into what the more established companies are charging and how they’re developing their white water rafting trips, and build your own adventure from there! It just takes a bit of research. If you need a benchmark, check out some of the rates and dates that Holiday River Expeditions has available. From there, you can choose to move forward with us based on your preferences or pursue other options.
Contact us for help with planning a rafting trip, or book a rafting trip now if you’re ready!
7 Best River Trip Tours in Arizona
Arizona may be known for being a desert with scorching temperatures and rocky terrain, but it is also home to some of the most thrilling river trip tours in the nation. There are 49 rivers throughout the state we call home, including the famous, 1,450 mile-long Colorado River!
From kayaking through Salt River to white water rafting through the Grand Canyon, Arizona has everything you need to experience a one of a kind trip for the entire family. Below are seven of the best river trip tours in Arizona, complete with descriptions, pricing, and more!
Kayak to Emerald Cave
The Colorado River’s lengthy run makes for tons of different water activities. For a low to mid intensity activity, try Riverdogz’s kayak tours to Emerald Cave! This experience is the perfect setting for guests to enjoy a leisurely four-mile journey down the river, followed by a short hike.
The tour’s description boasts a moderate intensity level and is perfect for beginners, even those who have never set foot in a kayak before. Led by a professional guide, passengers experience some of the area’s best features, including Willow Beach. There are also ample opportunities to spot some of the native wildlife.
Snacks, kayaks, and safety equipment are provided, but guests should plan to bring their own sunscreen. Prices begin at $133 per person, with a choice between a three or four-hour trip.
Arizona River Runners
For a variety of trips that will fit every adventurer, check out Arizona River Runners. The company offers three main trip types:
For those interested in a fast-paced tour, the motor option offers three to eight-day packages through the Grand Canyon.
The three-day option takes visitors to the Bar 10 Ranch, where they can enjoy horseback riding, shooting, and ATV tours. The six to eight-day trips allow visitors to camp alongside the river while experiencing waterfalls, canyons, and creeks. At the end of the trip, a helicopter will fly tired guests out of the canyon, with starting points in Marble Canyon or Las Vegas.
For a slower and more intimate experience, try the oar trip, in which you experience guides steer rafts of three to five people for a week-long experience.
If walking is more your style, choose the hiking option for unbeatable side excursions.
Arizona River Runners has a minimum age of eight years old for the oar trip, or twelve years old for the motor trip. Prices range depending on the trip’s type and length, but typically start around $1,500 to over $4,000 per person.
Raft Out of Flagstaff
If your trip through Arizona takes you to Flagstaff, stop at Arizona Raft Adventures! This company offers a myriad of packages and experiences. You’ll have no problem finding the perfect fit for you. For a whitewater rafting experience like no other, try the Classic Adventure.
Guests are seated in either an oar boat or paddle boat with four other passengers and a guide. Anyone over the age of 12 can participate, either by rowing the raft or simply enjoying the ride. However, this is no easy day trip. Customers can choose between three packages: full canyon, upper canyon, and lower canyon.
Each package lasts anywhere from 7-16 days and traverses 90-220 miles. Due to the trip’s length, prices are much steeper per person: the shortest trip costs an average of $2,500 while the longest trip will set you back closer to $4,600.
Explore Salt River
This classic river trip is only a short drive from Phoenix. Your day will begin with a safety orientation; the trip itself is incredibly beginner-friendly! Professional guides take you through gentle rapids before a quick lunch break. After your meal, challenge fast-paced whitewater rapids to finish off the day!
The trip package includes lunch, proper equipment, and the fees for passing through Apache land. Guests eight years old and over are welcome, along with service dogs, and those traveling with strollers. It is also wheelchair accessible.
Tickets start at $179 per person for an affordable trip the whole family can enjoy.
Mild to Wild Rafting
Explore the Verde River, federally designated as “Wild and Scenic,” with Mild to Wild Rafting! Guests can choose between one or two-day adventures from February to May. This is the perfect experience for beginners, or those traveling with younger children. The intensity is only rated mild to intermediate.
Guests will enjoy beautiful views of the canyon along with options to see some of the Grand Canyon’s natural wildlife, plants, and birds. Additionally, passengers can choose between a standard boat, a premium boat, or an inflatable kayak.
No experience is necessary, but there is a minimum age requirement of six years old for a boat and twelve years old for an inflatable kayak.
The one-day trip begins with the rafts’ descent into the canyon, followed by a deli-style lunch. The more challenging rapids are saved for after your meal, so eat lightly! The price for a one-day trip depends on the type of boat you choose, but it begins at $155 per person and climbs to $185 per person for adults.
The two-day trip is similar to the one-day trip; this difference is that it ends with a night camping on the river. The guides prepare both a campfire dinner and breakfast for the next morning, followed by more rapids and swimming in a natural hot spring! Prices depend on the boat choice but begin at $515 per person and end at $565 per person for adults.
Run the Verde with OAC
For another rafting experience through the iconic Verde River, try the Outdoor Adventure Center! The Classic River Run is the company’s most popular tour for thrill-seekers of all ages. Guests will spend around two hours floating down a 3-mile stretch of the Verde in inflatable kayak boats, observing the native wildlife and beautiful scenery famous to the area.
The tour company provides guides, equipment, and even transportation to and from the boathouse, where the trip begins. Guests should bring their own sunscreen and water. Lunch is not served due to the trip’s short duration, so hungry visitors should pack a few snacks into their bags before departure.
The cost of the Classic River Run starts at $89 per person, which is affordable on almost any budget.
River Tubing with Sedona Adventure Tours
Last, but certainly not least, is Sedona Adventure Tours, with the unique option to travel down the Verde River in an inflatable tube. Consider it the “lazy river” version of whitewater rafting, perfect for when you want to experience the river up close without fear of falling out of your boat.
Trips last two to three hours and begin at the Black Canyon River Access Point in Cottonwood. Tubes will be provided, along with squirt guns for the inevitable water fights you’ll have on your float. Children over the age of five are welcome, but all dogs and other animals should be left at home.
Sedona Adventure Tours offers tubing for the affordable price of $37 per person on weekdays and $40 per person on weekends, making it the perfect family adventure.
Final Thoughts on Whitewater Rafting
Arizona is a great place to enjoy river tours and excursions on the many gorgeous rivers. Combine beautiful scenery, swimming, hiking, and camping into one experience led by knowledgeable guides, and you’ve got a fantastic time! No matter your skill level, you’re sure to find a package perfect for you and your family in our wonderful Grand Canyon state.