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.
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.