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Salt River Canyon Wilderness

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A gray raft plunging into a section of rapids rushing through a narrow canyon.
Library image #370: View of raft going through Quartzite Falls

Introduction

The United States Congress designated the Salt River Canyon Wilderness (map) in 1984 and it now has a total of 32,114 acres. All of this wilderness is located in Arizona and is managed by the Forest Service.

Description

Many describe the vista where U.S. 60 crosses the Salt River Canyon as the most dramatic in Arizona. Here the highway descends 2,000 feet of steep switchbacks, crosses a bridge, and ascends the opposite side of the canyon. About 20 miles below the bridge, the spectacular steep-walled canyon bisects Salt River Canyon Wilderness. Within the area elevations range from 2,200 feet at the canyon's lower end to 4,200 feet on White Ledge Mountain. More than 200 species of wildlife have been identified along the river. Access to this area is very difficult, and there are no maintained trails. About half of the area's human visitors are skilled white-water navigators, who venture down the Salt River during the short and dangerous river-running season from March 1 to May 15. A visitor permit is required from March 1 to May 15. Group size is limited to 15 people.

Planning to Visit the Salt River Canyon Wilderness?

Leave No Trace

How to follow the seven standard Leave No Trace principles differs in different parts of the country (desert vs. Rocky Mountains). Click on any of the principles listed below to learn more about how they apply in the Salt River Canyon Wilderness.
  1. Plan Ahead and Prepare
  2. Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces
  3. Dispose of Waste Properly
  4. Leave What You Find
  5. Minimize Campfire Impacts
  6. Respect Wildlife
  7. Be Considerate of Other Visitors
For more information on Leave No Trace, Visit the Leave No Trace, Inc. website.