Salt River Wilderness - Apr 22, 2013 - US 60 Bridge to Hwy 288 Bridge

The Salt River Wilderness permit in 2003 was the first river lottery permit I ever drew. I had only been running rivers for a couple of months at that time and my skill set was seriously lacking. Enough so that I gave away the permit. Little did I imagine that it would be 10 years before I would actually do this section. Water levels, lack of permits, lack of paddling partners, timing and work issues all were involved in keeping this as a "river to do". Fortunately a late storm dumped enough water that small, lightly-loaded oar rigs were possible. It was the last weekend of the boating season that was possible

Two experienced river partners, Mark Jibilian in his oared SOAR and Mark Foster in a NRS Bandit II provided much needed river experience and are excellent campmates and company. We had roughly 500 CFS the entire trip length which from what I can tell and have been told, is as mellow a level as possible on this notable whitewater section. Rat Trap, Black Rock, and Corkscrew were the rapids of note but any numbers of others could ruin your day. The oar rigs took the right-side cheat at Rat Trap and lined Black Rock. The Soar portaged Corkscrew. Only Mark Foster ran every rapid in the Bandit but swam Rat Trap and Quartzite for the trouble.

There was an exceptional amount of water at both Cherry Creek and Coon Creek which served as two campsites. Hess Canyon and an unnamed site just above Gleason Flats were the other two camps. Salt River Rafting provided the shuttle which cost $145 per vehicle. The price was reasonable and we had no issues. The U.S. Forest Service is the river manager. Photo and video credits: Mark Jibilian, Mark Foster, Gene Couch.

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Trip report image
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