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Salt River - Lower

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Near the Phoenix metropolitan area, Fort McDowell Indian Reservation
Class I - II
River Length
14 miles


Where the Upper Salt River is rough, the Lower Salt River is gentle, a subdued wind through the Sonoran Desert. If the desert is flat (and it isn't, not entirely), the scenery is marvelous, with cacti on the shores and birds of prey overhead.

The Lower Salt River usually has enough water to be easily paddled, whether you're rafting in summer or winter, and it's a convenient day-trip from Phoenix, in contrast to the more remote Upper Salt. As the trip nears its close, the desert wild does begin to resemble civilization, but the change is not oppressive.

The run ends at the Granite Reef Dam and the river is not navigable beyond this point . . . it's sometimes even dry. Therefore, it gets no tougher from here. The Lower Salt is a fine casual river raft for the beginner, or the expert who just wants to relax.

Tour Companies

Class I - II
River Length
14 miles
Nearest Town
Guides Available?
Camping Info
No (unless permission obtained from private land-owners or the reservation)
Basic Directions
First put-in is at the dam access road off Bush Highway; last put-out is at the Granite Reef Dam.
Customizable Directions

Formatted DirectionsMap

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