Rafting the Upper Salt River


by Steve Bodinet


Posted on March 22, 2013 at 6:15 PM

Updated Sunday, Mar 24 at 1:05 PM

PHOENIX -- It's called Arizona's other Grand Canyon. We're talking about the Salt River Canyon, north of Globe and around 100 miles from the Valley. 

It's the Upper Salt River that carved rock to form the beautiful canyon, and while the views from above are spectacular, maybe the best seat in the house is in a raft on the river.

"It's scary, but fun," Beth Klopatek said on a recent trip with Mild to Wild, one of four companies that take adventure seekers down the Upper Salt.

During the past few springs, the river hasn't had good flow due to the lack of snow, but this year it's rockin' and rollin' with snow melt. 

That's what Alex Mickel has been waiting for.  He's the owner of Mild to Wild and says the river is full of class three and four rapids, which are measured on a scale of six.

Grumman, Kiss and Tell and Baptism are just a few of the river's hot spots, where the spray from the 50-some degree water feels good on a hot spring day. 

While there are quiet spots on the river where rafters can relax and enjoy the sights, they come for the wild whitewater which offers an adrenaline rush.

Companies offer a variety of river running experiences from half day trips to those lasting three or four days. 

If you're interested in running the Upper Salt, you'd better hurry because the season usually ends the first week of May.  Check with Mild to Wild, (www.mild2wild.com or 877-966-4379), Desert Voyagers (www.desertvoyagers.com or 480-998-7238),  Raft the Salt (www.raftthesalt.com or 800-472-5194) or In a Raft (www.inaraft.com or 800-462-7238).