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The Ultimate Guide to Salt River Tubing, Phoenix, Arizona

Priya Johnson
Salt River, the largest river in the Phoenix area runs through the Tonto National Forest near Mesa, Arizona. During the summer months, the Lower Salt River is open to Salt River tubing, which is a popular activity to cool down in Arizona’s blazing heat.

What Is Salt River Tubing?

Salt River Tubing is like a lazy river experience, except this is in clear, flowing, mountain stream water.
You even get to watch horses and blue herons in their natural environment, during the course of this trip. It’s an inexpensive way to spend an entire day floating on the rapids, through the picturesque mountain scenery.

Floating Picnic

Besides floating along the rapids, you can also enjoy a floating picnic experience halfway through the tubing trip.
Where the highway crosses the river is a bridge under which you can stop and have a small picnic. It makes a great unique picnic experience with family and friends.

Tube Rentals

Two types of tubes are provided on rental basis; short float tube and long float tube. Cooler tubes of varied sizes are also available on rent to hold coolers during the tubing trip. Ropes can be used to tie cooler tubes and other tubes together.

Trip Duration: Seasonal Activity

Salt River tubing is only open during the summer months, from May to September. The trip duration is anywhere between 2 to 5 hours, depending on the time duration you opt for.

Tubing Trip Essentials

  • Plenty of drinking water and snacks. 
  • Waterproof bags or plastic bags to keep belongings dry.

  • Sunscreen is a must-have; to prevent sunburns after a long day in the Arizona heat.

  • Driver’s license/passport/car registration is taken as a deposit per 5 tube rentals. Since other identification proofs are not accepted it’s important to bring it along.
  • Sheets/towels to place over the tubes, to prevent the hot rubber from sticking to the skin.

Prohibited While Salt River Tubing

Children below the age of 8 years and not meeting the height requirement of 4 feet, are not allowed for this activity.
Glass items are also prohibited as per the regulations of Tonto National Forest. Ice boxes and coolers are inspected, so it’s important to avoid carrying glassware, glass bottles, etc.