SUP Tours on the Salt River and Saguaro Lake Near Phoenix
Call for info about our Summer Sunrise Special: 1-866-455-1601
Get ready to walk on water! Join us and experience the desert from a thrilling new perspective while on the deck of a Stand Up Paddle Board (SUP).
There are a number of dramatic images of paddle boards on Havasu Creek that you may have seen before. AOA does not operate paddle board trips in Havasupai. We do operate guided hiking trips in Havasupai. The confluence of Havasu Creek and the Colorado River is accessible only on foot (at least 20 miles of hiking), or by river raft on the Colorado.
Our guided paddle board tour features the excitement and ease of paddling a SUP. Our tours take place either at Saguaro Lake or the Lower Salt River and explore the beautiful, one of a kind riparian zones of the Sonoran Desert. It’s the perfect playground to discover more about the natural history, flora, and fauna an “oasis” in the desert or simply learn and practice proper SUP techniques. Paddling a SUP is a great activity for the whole family, allows a full-body workout, and provides the opportunity to witness incredible views of the mountains and wildlife.
1 person: $280 pp
2-3 people: $140 pp
4 or more: $112 pp
- Activity duration: 2-3 hours
- Total duration: 3-3.5 hours
- We can schedule tours on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays
- Tours typically depart at 8am an 1pm*
- Beginner and Advanced options available.
Advance reservations are required.
- Professional safety-certified SUP guide
- Bottled water & snacks
- SUP, paddles
- PFD (life jacket), dry bags
- Roundtrip Transportation
- National Forest entry fees
- Hotel/Residence Pick Up: $95 per group – inquire over the phone
- Private Tour: $150 per group. No other parties may add to your tour. We can schedule private tours any day of the week.
What to Bring
Clothing – Comfortable, weather appropriate athletic clothing – shorts and a t-shirt, bathing suit, on cooler mornings long sleeves are advised. We recommend bringing a dry change of clothes for after your SUP trip.
Water shoes/sandals/old sneakers – These must stay on your feet at all times – sport sandals only please. Flip flops or bare feet are not allowed.
Miscellaneous – Sunglasses, sunscreen, camera, lip balm, medications, hat, etc.
What to Expect
Once You’ve Booked a Tour…
You will receive a booking confirmation email with details on the time and date of your tour, where to meet, the cancellation policy, a receipt of your tour purchase, and requests from us if we need additional information. Inquire over the phone about meeting at our Mesa location.
On the Day of Your Tour…
Meet at our office in North Scottsdale a few minutes before your scheduled tour. You can expect to be with another group on your stand up paddle board tour unless you have booked a private tour.
Advanced tours available upon request for an additional fee.
Your SUP tour…
All of our guided SUP tours take place near Phoenix on Saguaro Lake or the Lower Salt River in the Tonto National Forest. The Salt is a Class I river (the easiest rating on the international scale of river difficulty) and provides some of the best wildlife and bird watching opportunities in the Southwest. Water temperatures are in the 60s in the winter and rise to low 80s in the summer months. Swimming is possible year‐round, but the water may be chilly in January!
Tours typically last about 4 hours and are available on Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday mornings and commence at 8:00am at AOA’s office in North Scottsdale. AOA transports all equipment to and from the river and provides water and snacks for the duration of the tour.
Stand Up Paddle Boarding
Our guided SUP tour is a perfect introduction to this exhilarating form of recreation. A SUP is similar to a surf board and allows for a standing/paddling form of on-water recreation and touring. We’ll learn the basics of launching and landing, techniques for balancing, kneeling and standing, and how to turn and navigate on gentle water. We’ll also have a great opportunity to learn about the amazing ecosystem of a desert river, and see some of flora and fauna which make this such a unique habitat. This tour is appropriate for anyone with good physical fitness, a willingness to learn a new skill, and a modest sense of adventure.
Advanced Stand Up Paddle Boarding
Please inquire about advanced tours over the phone, may be subject to an additional fee.
For our guests who are already experienced and proficient with standing, kneeling, and turning a SUP, this excursion will travel down river, negotiating turns in moderate river currents, and avoiding natural obstacles along the way. Guests should be comfortable moving between standing and kneeling positions on their board upon direction from the guide.
- Wild horses seen while stand up paddle boarding on Arizona’s Salt River near Phoenix
All tours depart from the AOA office in north central Scottsdale and travel 35 minutes to our tour location just outside the eastern metro area. If you are staying in the east valley, please call our office if you would like to meet at an alternate location of greater convenience.
Reservations are required. Guest contact information and a valid credit card are required to hold a reservation.
The Desert and its Rivers
Rivers play a very important role in the complex environment of North America’s Sonoran Desert. Water is scarce in the desert and plants and animals have adapted to the harsh conditions that come with high summer temperatures and low average rainfall. Along the river corridors are delicate and unique ecosystems known as riparian zones. In these areas, lush trees such as desert willow and cottonwood take the place of the hardy saguaro cactus. The soft greenery and plentiful water attract many animals who make their homes here including beavers, otters, loons, eagles, turkey vultures and on Arizona’s lower Salt River, even wild horses. Saguaro Lake is a man-made lake created by a dam on the Lower Salt River, the dam allows water to collect and fill a wide canyon which creates the lake.
The Salt River flows from its headwaters in the White Mountains of Eastern Arizona and rushes along through the high elevations until it winds its way to the lower arid desert outside of Phoenix. Here the riparian ecosystem created by the mellow flow of the Salt is an indispensable oasis, home to many plant and animal species, and a perennial slash of green across the dry brown of the surrounding landscape.
Over four million people who live in the greater Phoenix metropolitan area depend on the Salt River for energy generated by a series of hydroelectric dams managed by the Salt River Project. The reservoirs created by those dams are in turn a source of life for the creatures that live in the surrounding environment, mule deer, wildcats, desert cottontail rabbits, and many others. The flow of water past the dams varies depending on the season and recent precipitation within the Salt River watershed. On AOA’s guided river tours our expert guides will share their stories of the river and educate you about the delicate ecosystems that occur within riparian zones in the desert. Keep alert when floating along, rafting and kayaking on the Lower Salt River are wonderful ways to see the Sonoran desert from a new perspective.
Temperature and Climate:
Advance reservations are required and can only be confirmed with receipt of guest contact information and a valid credit card. Final payment is due in advance of the tour. Guide gratuities are optional, but are appreciated.
There is no charge for cancellations made more than 48 hours before departure time. Cancellations made less than 48 hours from departure time will be charged in full.
Photos of the Half-day Stand Up Paddle Board Tour
Planning for your Trip
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AOA operates guided Lower Salt River tours in cooperation with and under permit of our sister company Desert Voyagers in the Tonto National Forest.