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 02h05m 649 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

Salt Canyon

Detail Trip Report  Salt Canyon  Salt, AZ(82.83KB .jpeg)

Brad running the left of Black Rock

Detail Trip Report  Brad running the left of Black Rock  Salt, AZ(70.39KB .jpeg)


Detail Trip Report  Corksrew  Salt, AZ(61.94KB .jpeg)

Quartzite from below

Detail Trip Report  Quartzite from below  Salt, AZ(61.41KB .jpeg)

Maytag Rapid

Detail Trip Report  Maytag Rapid  Salt, AZ(53.38KB .jpeg)

Salt River put in

Detail Trip Report  Salt River put in  Salt, AZ(43.92KB .jpeg)

Whiterock Rapid

Detail Trip Report  Whiterock Rapid  Salt, AZ(57.09KB .jpeg)

Ledges rapid

Detail Trip Report  Ledges rapid  Salt, AZ(61.45KB .jpeg)

Open Canoe in Quartzite

Detail Trip Report  Open Canoe in Quartzite  Salt, AZ(54.78KB .jpeg)

Rafting Quartzite Falls

Detail Trip Report  Rafting Quartzite Falls  Salt, AZ(209.34KB .jpeg)

Surfing a raft at the Ledges

Detail Trip Report  Surfing a raft at the Ledges  Salt, AZ(165.26KB .jpeg)

Oar rigging Quartzite Falls

Detail Trip Report  Oar rigging Quartzite Falls  Salt, AZ(55.19KB .jpeg)

Black Rock

Detail Trip Report  Black Rock  Salt, AZ(67.18KB .jpeg)

How to use a groover

Detail Trip Report  How to use a groover  Salt, AZ(50.05KB .jpeg)

Salt River Arizona

Detail Trip Report  Salt River Arizona  Salt River, AZ(47.02KB .jpeg)

The Salt!

Detail Trip Report  The Salt!  @Salt 2 - US 60 to Hwy 288 above Roosevelt Reservoir, AZ(3.82MB .jpeg)

Holey Moley

Detail Trip Report  Holey Moley  @Salt 2 - US 60 to Hwy 288 above Roosevelt Reservoir, AZ(1.76MB .jpeg)

early spring on the river

Detail Trip Report  early spring on the river  @Salt 2 - US 60 to Hwy 288 above Roosevelt Reservoir, AZ(2.89MB .jpeg)

springtime on the Salt

Detail Trip Report  springtime on the Salt  @Salt 2 - US 60 to Hwy 288 above Roosevelt Reservoir, AZ(2.58MB .jpeg)

Gauge Information

Gauge Description:

Also check out the Roosevelt gage for conditions near the takeout.

Flows: The “Salt Season” occurs when the snow melts in the White Mountains of southeastern Arizona, usually beginning in March and ending in May. Sometimes good flows occur in February or last until June, but this only happens every 10 years or so. Adequate flows may also occur during Monsoon Season in July and August. For kayakers who just want to go downstream, 300 CFS is a minimum. For surfathon fun, 800 is a bare minimum, and 2,000-3,000 is optimal. For gear-hauling rafts, a minimum flow is 1,200. The river has been run up to 28,000 cfs in 2 days but most sane boaters make 10K a cut off.

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
usgs-09497500 800 - 10000 cfs II-IV 02h05m 649 cfs (too low)

RangeWater LevelDifficultyComment
800 -10000 cfs barely runnable-high runnable II-IV

Report - Reports of Salt 02. US 60 to Hwy 288 above Roosevelt Reservoir and related gauges

Reports give the public a chance to report on river conditions throughout the country as well as log the history of a river.


When River/Gauge Subject Level Reporter
Salt River [AZ] Salt River Arizona n/a wreeves
Salt [AZ] How to use a groover n/a wreeves
2y228d12h39m /Salt-2 - US 60 to Hwy 288 above Roosevelt Reservoir [AZ] springtime on the Salt n/a Doug Rhodes
2y234d15h49m /Salt-2 - US 60 to Hwy 288 above Roosevelt Reservoir [AZ] early spring on the river a good level Doug Rhodes
8y35d23h16m /Salt-2 - US 60 to Hwy 288 above Roosevelt Reservoir [AZ] Holey Moley 0 cfs Eric Rudolph
8y195d14h56m /Salt-2 - US 60 to Hwy 288 above Roosevelt Reservoir [AZ] Account of 01/02/11 0 cfs David Jaquette
8y195d14h57m /Salt-2 - US 60 to Hwy 288 above Roosevelt Reservoir [AZ] Account of 01/02/11 0.00 ft David Jaquette
8y223d11h34m @Salt 2 - US 60 to Hwy 288 above Roosevelt Reservoir [AZ] The Salt! high runnable Stuart Perillo
8y223d23h34m @Salt 2 - US 60 to Hwy 288 above Roosevelt Reservoir [AZ] Stuart Perillo high runnable Stuart Perillo



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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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 02. US 60 to Hwy 288 above Roosevelt Reservoir, Salt Arizona, US (mobile)