Conquering the Rapids: A Family Rafting Adventure on Arizona's Upper Salt River

Hello, adventurers! If you think Arizona is only about the grandeur of the Grand Canyon, let me take you on a thrilling journey to another of the state’s spectacular treasures—the Upper Salt River. This river, known for its dynamic whitewater, offers an exhilarating rafting experience that rivals the best. Join me, my daughters Jennifer and Kennedy, and the spirited members of the Gainey Village Health Club as we tackle the wild waters of the Upper Salt River Canyon.  This video is best enjoyed in 4K

The Call to Adventure:

Our adventure was expertly organized by Beth at the Gainey Village Health Club and facilitated by the experienced team at Mild to Wild Rafting. The Upper Salt River Canyon, set on the Apache Indian Reservation, provides a stunning backdrop for our rafting journey, with the lands of the White Mountain and San Carlos Apache Tribes rising on either side.

The River Runs High:

Thanks to a generous season of snow and rain in Arizona, the river was flowing at an invigorating 5,000 cubic feet per second during our trip—significantly above the ideal flow rate. This meant bigger rapids, more exciting challenges, and an unforgettable experience. Our paddle-only raft, navigated by our adept guide Wade, required constant teamwork and alertness to avoid the ‘big holes’—dangerous spots that could flip our raft.

Midway Marvels:

Halfway through our 10-mile journey, we paused for a well-deserved lunch on the riverbanks, surrounded by the natural beauty of the canyon. This break gave us a moment to relax, refuel, and prepare for the second leg of our adventure, where the rapids grew even more challenging.

Reflections on the River:

As we navigated the final stretches of the river, I couldn’t help but appreciate the blend of adrenaline and peace that river rafting offers. Sharing this adventure with my daughters and new friends from the club made the experience even more meaningful. It was not just about conquering the rapids, but about strengthening bonds and making memories in the heart of nature.


Our day on the Upper Salt River was a reminder of the adventures that lie in our own backyards and the joys of exploring them with loved ones. For anyone craving a mix of adventure and scenic beauty, rafting the Upper Salt River is a must-try.

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