Arizona Whitewater Rafting Trips
When one thinks of whitewater rafting in Arizona, an image of the Colorado River rushing through the Grand Canyon has to come to mind. There is also the Verde River and The Salt River, which also offer unique whitewater experiences and are less populated with vacationing rafters.
Arizona is a wild water paradise, and there are enough great rapids in the state to keep you excited for a lifetime. But the story of whitewater boating in Arizona is ultimately the story of one river, the Colorado.
The Colorado River basin is enormous and complex (naturally so, even before-modern Americans began hacking it up into one of the most complicated and controversial water-delivery systems in the world), and virtually every other river in the region eventually will flow into the Colorado. In the whitewater world, the Colorado is "the big one," and the Grand Canyon of the Colorado River in Arizona is to wild water adventure what El Capitan in Yosemite is to rock climbing-the ultimate symbol and, even today, the ultimate experience.
The image of Arizona whitewater is one of power and sweep-big-volume rapids where the surge of moving water even more than the configuration of canyon, boulders, and bank creates the boating challenge. And, of course, this water is a dull brown, muddy and opaque, frothing rather than sparkling. That's generally true, but even the Colorado starts as a mountain stream, fed by other mountain streams which are not all big, not all muddy.
Rafting the full 225 miles of the Colorado River is perhaps the top adventure travel dream trip in America. A few other rivers in Arizona provide shorter, scenic trips.
Map icons display company headquarters.
White Water Rafting on the Verde River
The Verde River is Arizona's only national wild and scenic river. The section from near the town of Childs to Horseshoe Reservoir runs most of the way through the Mazatzal Wilderness. This is almost an untouched pristine riparian area.
To be designated a national wild and scenic river, the river must posses one or more specific "outstandingly remarkable values. The Verde River was found to contain outstandingly remarkable scenic, fish & wildlife, and historic & cultural values.
Trips run from February to April when spring run-off brings the whitewater up to Class 3. While the Verde River can be floated practically any month of the year, its primary river-running season is February to April with the best being March and April. Because the amount of run-off is so unpredictable, you'll always want to check conditions ahead of time. Guides are available.
The season on the Verde River runs from February to April. Most trips run about 25 miles of up to class III difficulty rapids. Outfitters for the Verde River allow for 3-4 day trips with riverside camping.
Whitewater Rafting on the Salt River in Arizona
Salt River Canyon provides some excellent whitewater rafting opportunities. Single and multi-day trips are available with rapids up to Class 4.
Single day trips are 10 miles and often include a pack lunch and possible short hikes in side canyons. 2, 3 and 5-day trips are also available. They bring you deeper and deeper into the canyon and away from civilization.
The Salt River is situated along the southern edge of the Colorado Plateau between mountain and desert ecosystems. The result is an interesting variety of plant, animal and bird life. Trips start through oak and juniper woodlands before dropping into the Lower Sonoran desert with its magnificent saguaro cactus. Many side canyon hikes lead to fascinating micro-habitats for you to explore.
This one-day trip is very isolated with no roads. With good flows at the right time of the year, it's really a special treat. Up to Class II, IV rapids with the season running from March to May. Outfitter packages range from 1 day up to 5-day trips.
South West Featured Whitewater Rafting Outfitter
About Mild to Wild
Discover the magic of our 27 mild to wild trip options, 2 hours to 5 days, for ages 4-84 in Colorado, Arizona and Utah. The beauty and serenity of the places we go inspired us to dedicate our lives to sharing these natural treasures with you! We take pride in providing a first class adventure where no detail is overlooked. Mild to Wild has earned the highest number of repeat customers & referrals (just ask the locals).
Arizona Rafting Trips
Discover the best kept secret in Arizona whitewater rafting: The Upper Salt River Canyon whitewater rafting located just 2 hours from East Phoenix and North Tucson. Known as the mini-grand canyon, with an early spring season, Salt River rafting should not be missed for river enthusiasts or first timers alike.
Likewise, Arizona's only Federally designated "Wild and Scenic" river with its variable spring season, Verde River rafting is a trip to experience when it runs. Located in close proximity to Sedona, Arizona this trip is conveniently located. Both trips are perfect backyard adventures for Phoenicians and visitors alike.
South West Utah Rafting Trips
Our Utah River rafting trips are set in a postcard setting in some of the most magnificent scenery adjacent to Arches National Park & near Canyonlands National Park, the infamous Colorado River carves an unbelievable waterway of fun floating and splashy rapids. Located just 5 minutesfrom Arches, and 1/2 hour from Canyonlands National Parks, 4 hours from Salt Lake City, 5 hours from the Grand Canyon, 2 1/2 hours from Lake Powel and 2 1/2 hours from Durango, Colorado (our home base), the Colorado River at Moab, Utah offers perfect sampler and overnight trips for families, seniors, first-timers and raft enthusiasts looking for the most spectacular river setting.
South West Colorado Rafting Trips
Our 21 trip options in Southwest Colorado are conveniently located out of our base in Durango, Colorado, just 3 hours from Albuquerque, 6 hours from Denver, 7 hours from Phoenix, 6 hours from Salt Lake City, 5 hours from the Grand Canyon and 3 hours from Santa Fe and Taos. Our Colorado rafting trips range from mild to wild, 2 hours to 4 days and for ages 4-84. We operate our raft trips on several stretches of 4 beautiful, distinct rivers; Upper and Lower Animas, Upper and Lower Piedra, Dolores and San Miguel rafting trips are available.