- Fort Apache Indian Reservation, Tonto National Forest
- Class II - IV; primarily III
- River Length
- 51.9 miles
- 3-5 days for a full raft; shorter runs possible
- Late February to May
The Upper Salt River runs from US Highway 60 through State Highway 288, a length that sounds far more bland than it is. This river is nearly 52 miles of dramatic and largely untouched scenery, and the rapids are truly wild. Small waterfalls are plentiful, making the ride that much rougher, but if you're experienced, these drops should prove exciting, but not too scary.
Most of the river is Class III with occasional, milder Class II sections and trickier Class IV stretches. When the river is quieter, watch the rugged mountains and cacti of the Sonoran Desert drift past and keep an eye out for wildlife. From the 41.3 mile mark to the 42.3 mile mark is a nesting area for bald eagles, but you can see these birds and other raptors at other points along the river. Mountain lions, coyotes, and other animals are also worth looking for.
Because of the river's untouched beauty and because it can only be rafted a brief time (and because Arizona has few rafting rivers), the Upper Salt can be crowded. The ride, however, is always well worth it.
There is a rapid before the first put-in, Apache Falls, but it is sacred to the Apache tribe and illegal to raft.