Salt River Tubing: Summer in Arizona can be brutally hot, with temperatures often soaring above 100 degrees Fahrenheit. While some may retreat to the indoors with air conditioning, others seek out ways to cool off in the great outdoors. One popular activity in the Phoenix metropolitan area is tubing down the Salt River. In this article, we will explore the history, logistics, and tips for having a great time tubing down the Salt River.
History of Salt River Tubing
The Salt River originates in the White Mountains of eastern Arizona and flows over 200 miles before it empties into the Gila River. The river has a long history of use by Native American tribes, including the Pima and the Hohokam. The Hohokam built an extensive canal system to irrigate their crops, which still exists today.
In the early 1900s, the Salt River was dammed to create the Theodore Roosevelt Lake, which provides water for much of central Arizona. The Salt River Project (SRP), a public utility company, manages the dam and the water flow downstream. In the 1970s, SRP began to allow recreational use of the river, and tubing quickly became a popular activity.
Today, thousands of people flock to the Salt River every summer to enjoy a lazy day of tubing down the cool, clear water. Salt River Tubing, the largest tubing outfitter on the river, provides tube rentals and transportation to and from the river.
Logistics of Salt River Tubing
Salt River Tubing is located in Mesa, Arizona, about 20 miles east of downtown Phoenix. The tubing season runs from May through September, with the peak season being in June and July. During peak season, the river can be crowded, so it is recommended to arrive early in the day to avoid long lines.
To go tubing, you must be at least 8 years old and 4 feet tall. Children between the ages of 8 and 17 must have a parent or legal guardian sign a waiver. Tubers must also wear a life jacket, which is provided by Salt River Tubing.
Tube rentals cost $19 per person, which includes a tube rental and shuttle transportation from the parking lot to the river. If you bring your own tube, the shuttle transportation costs $17 per person. Salt River Tubing provides free parking, but it can fill up quickly during peak season.
Once you arrive at the river, you will be given a tube and directed to the launching point. You will then float down the river for approximately 2-4 hours, depending on the water flow and how often you stop along the way. There are several points along the river where you can stop and get out, but be aware that some areas are private property and are off-limits.
Tips for Having a Great Time Tubing Down the Salt River
- Wear sunscreen and a hat: The Arizona sun is intense, and you can easily get sunburned while tubing down the river. Make sure to apply sunscreen before you go, and wear a hat to protect your face from the sun.
- Wear water shoes: The bottom of the river can be rocky, and it is easy to stub your toes or cut your feet on sharp rocks. Wear water shoes or sandals with a secure strap to protect your feet.
- Bring snacks and water: You will be floating down the river for several hours, so make sure to bring plenty of water and snacks to keep you hydrated and energized.
- Don’t bring glass or alcohol: Glass containers are not allowed on the river, and drinking alcohol while tubing is illegal. The Arizona Game and Fish Department enforce a zero-tolerance policy for alcohol use on the river, and violators can be fined.
- Rent a cooler tube: Salt River Tubing offers cooler tubes for rent, which are tubes with a built-in cooler. This is a great option if you want to bring cold drinks or snacks with you on the river.
- Go with a group: Tubing down the Salt River is a fun activity to do with friends or family. Going with a group can also help ensure safety and prevent anyone from getting separated from the group.
- Be aware of the water flow: The water flow in the Salt River can vary depending on the season and weather conditions. Check the water flow before you go and be aware of any potential hazards such as rapids or rocks.
- Respect the environment: The Salt River is a natural resource and it is important to respect the environment. Pack out all trash and do not disturb any wildlife or vegetation.
- Consider the time of day: Tubing down the Salt River can be more enjoyable during the early morning or late afternoon when the sun is not as intense and the river is less crowded.
- Follow the rules and regulations: Salt River Tubing has specific rules and regulations that must be followed to ensure everyone’s safety and enjoyment. Be sure to read and understand these rules before you go.
In conclusion, tubing down the Salt River is a fun and exciting way to beat the heat during the hot Arizona summer. With proper preparation and following the rules and regulations set forth by River Tubing, it can be a safe and enjoyable activity for people of all ages. So grab your sunscreen, water shoes, and cooler tube and get ready for a day of floating down the Salt River.