Salt River: Grover to Palisades Reservoir

CLASS - I and II

GRADIENT - 11 ft/mile

LENGTH - 30 miles

FLOAT TIME - 8 to 12 hours


PUT IN - two miles west of Grover

PUT IN - Google Map

TAKE OUT - upstream from Palisades Reservoir

Salt River

USGS Gage Station CFS near Etna.

Salt River


The Salt River begins in the Salt River Range of the Bridger National Forest and flows south for about 10 miles before turning north through Star Valley to the Snake River at Palisades Reservoir. Most of the upper valley may be considered unfloatable (or at least disagreeable) due to fences, diversion dams, housing developments, and serious dewatering.

The best put-in for the upper section of the Salt River is reached by turning off US-89 at Grover and taking W-237 two miles west to a Game and Fish boat ramp. The river does a considerable amount of meandering here with a slow and easy Class I rating. There are a couple of fences to watch for and about hour downstream there is a low bridge. Just above the Narrows is a landing at the W-238 Bridge. There is another good landing, before the lower valley section, about ten minutes downstream at a Game and Fish access on river right. Float time is about two hours.

From the W-238 Bridge, the river passes through the Narrows in a beautiful section of quiet water. About two miles downstream is a landing at the US-89 Bridge (mile #96). Below here the river gets a bit more difficult. This lower section rates a Class II due to snags, downed timber, and a few logjams that may completely block the river. There are also many cut banks with overhanging trees and bushes.

About thirty minutes down from the second highway bridge is a good landing at a small diversion dam. This landing is reached by turning off US-89 at mile #98. Below this landing there are a few channel choices to make and there is another diversion dam to watch for on one them. As you continue downstream, you go through a couple of fences (swinging gates courtesy of some kind rancher) and there are two half-channel diversion dams.

About three hours from the diversion dam landing, and after going under three bridges (one of them is quite low), you come to the W-239 Bridge landing (reached by turning off US-89 at mile #104). Below here the river swings further out into the valley and begins looping and bending its way through some gravel bar flats. Two hours down from W-239 is another bridge landing. Access is reached by turning off US-89 at mile #109 and taking county road #111 west two miles to the river.

Below the county road landing, the river is Class I but you still need to watch for occasional fences and snags. There are three more good landings on this lower two hour stretch. These can be reached by turning off US-89 at: mile #111 (county road #108), mile #112 (ranch road with Game and Fish access), and mile #115 (Caribou National Forest Road). Float time for the lower valley is eight to ten hours.

Photo Caption (image not shown): Smeagle waits in the water while equipment is being loaded at the end of a long hot day on the Salt River.