Salt - 02. US 60 to Hwy 288 above Roosevelt Reservoir

Salt, Arizona, US


02. US 60 to Hwy 288 above Roosevelt Reservoir

Usual Difficulty II-IV (for normal flows)
Length 60 Miles

Rafting Quartzite Falls

Rafting Quartzite Falls
Photo of William "Hawk" Reeves by Will Reeves

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
usgs-09497500 800 - 10000 cfs II-IV 00h43m 385 cfs (too low)

River Description

A wonderful multiday run on the Upper Salt, from the Salt River Canyon Bridge on Highway 60 to Lake Roosevelt. See the Route 60 to Roosevelt Reservoir description. There is 60 miles of bouncing whitewater in a spectacular Sonoran Desert canyon. For gear-hauling rafts, a minimum flow is 1,200. The infamous rapid Quartzite is a solid class IV at most levels, but without the class V consequences that existed at high flows before it was illegally blasted.

A Wilderness permit is required from March 1st to May 15th. Normally a 3 or 4 day trip, the controlled wilderness section begins 20 miles downstream from Highway 60. If you don't have several days to spend and a permit, see the daily run description.

Permit Information

Lottery for river permits Mar 1 through May 15. Applications due Jan 31.

StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2017-07-15 03:34:04

Rapid Summary

Mile Rapid Name Class Features (Legend)
-0.1Apache Falls5.1Hazard Waterfall Photo
0.0Put in at the fallsPutin
0.3Island RapidII+Playspot
0.5Mule Hoof Campground access pointAccess Photo
2.0MaytagIIIPlayspot Photo
5.8River AccessAccess
6.8Cibeque CreekAccess
8.4Lower Salt River Draw (Mescal Falls)IIIPlayspot Photo
10.2Salt BanksWaterfall
10.9Ledges RapidIIIPlayspot Photo
13.8Rat trapIII
16.1Canyon Creek
18.0Gleason FlatAccess
21.6Eye of the NeedleIVHazard
22.1Black RockIVHazard Photo
28.9Lower CorralIIIPlayspot
31.5Quartzite FallsIVPortage Hazard Photo
31.7CorkscrewIVPortage Hazard Playspot Photo
35.6Cherry Creek
37.5Horseshoe BendAccess
52.0Diversion Dam5.1Portage Hazard Waterfall

Rapid Descriptions

Apache Falls (Class 5.1, Mile -0.1)

Apache Falls

Apache Falls
Photo by Kevin miller

Apache Falls is a large nearly unrunnable waterfall ledge above the put in for the Salt Canyon run. Running the ledge is illegal.

Put in at the falls
The upstream most put in is at the base of Apache Falls upstream of the US Highway 60 bridge.

Island Rapid (Class II+, Mile 0.3)
Island rapid is a wave train with holes. Unless the river is above 1200 cfs it is best to avoid this rapid by using the normal access point at Mule Hoof Campground.

Mule Hoof Campground access point

Salt River put in

Salt River put in
Photo by Kevin Miller

Most boaters use this access point for the put in. The access road is across the street from the WMA permit office and gas station. A small Class II rapid is immediatly downstream.

Maytag (Class III, Mile 2.0)

Maytag Rapid

Maytag Rapid

An island divides the flow. The deepest channel is on river right.

Reforma (Class III, Mile 2.5)
A wave train with a big hole on river left.

Overboard (Class III, Mile 3.0)
A shallow shoal on river left that is best run down a chute to the far right bank.

River Access
Rafters and boaters often camp here.

Exhibition (Class III, Mile 5.8)
A big wave train with some great play waves .

Cibeque Creek
This river access point sometimes washes out when Cibeque Creek floods.

Lower Salt River Draw (Mescal Falls) (Class III, Mile 8.4)

Salt River Arizona

Salt River Arizona
Photo of Will Reeves by William Reeves taken 1997

A rock strewn wave train with occasional play holes.

Salt Banks
A very small extreamly saline stream flows over a waterfall on river right into the Salt Canyon.

Ledges Rapid (Class III, Mile 10.9)

Ledges rapid

Ledges rapid
Photo of Will Reeves by Kevin Miller

Ledges rapid is formed when the river flows over low angle quartzite ledges. This rapid has some of the best play waves and holes on almost any river.

Rat trap (Class III, Mile 13.8)
A long rapid with big exploding waves and large holes. Rat Trap marks the start of a micro canyon of polished granite. The next 5 miles are reminiscent of California whitewater.

Whiterock (Class III, Mile 13.9)

Whiterock Rapid

Whiterock Rapid

Polished boulers, boiling eddies, irreglar waves and holes are common for the next few miles.

Canyon Creek
Canyon Creek flows into the Salt on river left. This creek can be boated.

Granite (Class III, Mile 16.4)
Granite is probably the largest rapid in the microgorge and marks the final drop before Gleason Flat.

Gleason Flat
Gleason Flat is the middle access point for the Salt river and the point at which permits are required.

Eye of the Needle (Class IV, Mile 21.6)
The Salt enters another granite microgorge and is pinched down as it flows over a ledge with a powerful hole. Scout and protauge on river left.

Black Rock (Class IV, Mile 22.1)

Brad running the left of Black Rock

Brad running the left of Black Rock
Photo of Brad Roberts by Will Reeves

Black Rock is the final rapid in a small micro gorge. The Salt is choaked with sharp boulders and drops over some ledges. Alternate lines exist but most rafts will run river right near a 6' pourover. Scout from river left.

Pendejo (Class III, Mile 26.5)
The Salt is split by a huge boulder. Most rafts must run right but hard boats can run slots down the left.

Lower Corral (Class III, Mile 28.9)
A wave train with a huge hole in the center at higher flows.

Pinball (Class III, Mile 29.0)
Pinball has everything from large waves and holes to boiling eddies. Don't swim here or you could wash into Maze, a dangerous rapid.

Maze (Class IV, Mile 29.1)
Maze is a complex rapid that starts with a pair of big holes on river left and then snakes around a corner toward the right to feed a narrow canyon with boiling eddies. This is not a fun rapid to swim or flip a raft.

Quartzite Falls (Class IV, Mile 31.5)

Open Canoe in Quartzite

Open Canoe in Quartzite
Photo of Will Reeves by Kevin Miller

Quartzite Falls was once the bane of Salt raft trips. At almost all flows it involved a half day portauge and difficult rope work. Those days are gone, becuase the rapid was destroyed with dyanamite. Quartzite Falls is now an easy class IV or III rapid with a small but shallow hole at the base on river right. This once infamous rapid is now one of the smaller "big drops" on the Salt. Scout on river right and portauge on river left.

Corkscrew (Class IV, Mile 31.7)


Photo of Kevin Miller by Will Reeves

Corkscrew is still one of the biggest rapids on the Salt. This complicated wave train has huge hole and exploding waves. A swim here can be long and rafts can flip here at higher water. Often boaters forget about Corkscrew in the excitiment of Quartzite Falls. Portauge from river left.

Cliffhanger (Class II+, Mile 34.1)
Cliffhanger is an easy shoal with a huge rock in the main flow. The eddie on river left near the big boulder is very difficult to escape in a raft.

Cherry Creek
A nice side hike with clean clear water.

Horseshoe Bend
An alternate access point and the launching spot for tubers during the summer.

Take out on river left.

Diversion Dam (Class 5.1, Mile 52.0)
Don't go here this 3 foot dam creates a lethal hole. Take out at the bridge before this drop.

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