Salt River - Lower Salt



From Desert Voyagers

The Lower Salt River starts at Stewart Mountain Dam and runs to Tempe Town Lake though there usually isn't any running water below Granite Reef Dam. The navigable section between the dams is 14 miles of year round kayaking and rafting through much of the scenery the Sonoran Desert has to offer. The current is gentle class 1 flat water with one class 2 optional rapid. Perfect for beginners and very convenient to the Phoenix Metro area, few places can boast such paddling.

As you paddle the Lower Salt, flora you may see include saguaro and many cactus typical of the Sonoran Desert as well as riparian area trees and reeds. A very large horse herd wanders at will, and the lucky or sharp eyed pick out the desert bighorn heard as well as bald eagles, ospreys, herons and egrets depending on the season. For the fishermen, the Lower Salt River is the only cold-water trout fishery in the nation located in a desert. In addition to the rainbow trout that are stocked year round, expect to catch bass (largemouth, smallmouth and yellow), tilapia, carp, crappie, catfish and walleye.

Whether you are looking for some fishing, site seeing, photographic opportunities, or just some great paddling, the Lower Salt River offers great options 30 minutes from Phoenix!


Class I
Current Flow 925.0 CFS
06-03-2023 04:00
Recommended Flow Minimum: 350.0
Average: 1000.0
Maximum: 2000.0
Typical Season Begins: January
Ends: January
Recommended Use Kayaking: Yes
Rafting: Yes
Canoeing: Yes
SUP: Yes
Packrafting: No
Fishing: Yes
Length 14.0 Mile(s)
Gradient FPM