Arizona’s Floating Picnic: 30 Years of Tubing Down the Salt River

Things to Do — By P. Escarcega on May 28, 2011 at 8:00 pm

In a city where eggs frying on a hot summer sidewalk is not outside the realm of possibility, it’s no wonder thousands of desert-dwellers spend the summer seeking refuge on the cool waters of the Lower Salt River. Anyone who spent time in Phoenix as a child probably has memories of hot summer afternoons tubing the Lower Salt River rapids. Salt River tubing is the quitessential Valley summer activity, with families gathering for elaborate weekend picnics and day camping (and yes, day drinking) at the Salt River Tubing and Recreation area, which this summer marks its 30th season in operation.

In the summer, the otherwise peaceful Lower Salt River swarms with families seeking refuge from the city heat. Salt River tubing is one of the most popular summer activities in the Valley, turning the quiet riverfront into an unofficial summer picnic headquarters. Photo: Flickr/seantoyer

Located in the beautiful Tonto National Forest near Mesa, there’s more to this area than sliding down a river on a black rubber tube. Blue herons, wild horses, and the surrounding mountains offer an amazing backdrop for hot days in the cool water.

Learn more about Arizona’s floating picnic at the Salt River Tubing website.

Tags: mesa, phoenix, salt river tubing, salt river tubing and recreation area, summer, tonto national forest