If you can’t pull off the vehicle shuttle, there are a few alternatives. Each of them is less ideal than a vehicle shuttle, and some can be quite limiting. Also, you’ll want to leave one person where you got off the river to watch your boats and gear while others retrieve the vehicles that are parked at your launch site.
Ride sharing services like Uber and Lyft sometimes pick up customers from Lower Salt River recreation sites. Given its more remote location, however, it’s not a sure-fire bet—especially after dark.
If you’re giving this a try, I suggest leaving your boat at your launching site, then driving your vehicle to the take-out spot, and then calling for a ride sharing service to drive you back to your boat. You’re more likely to get a ride if you’re not wet and smell like the river.
Be sure to tip your driver very well so we can help make this a more viable option in the future.
Salt River Recreation shuttle
Some paddlers rely on the same shuttle services that tubers do to shuttle back up river. This option costs $16 plus tax per person. Unfortunately, you’ll also be confined to the shortened stretch that the shuttles service (Water Users/Stop 1 to Goldfield/Stop 4).
It’s not uncommon to find someone at Granite Reef or Phon D Sutton looking for a ride back to their vehicle. Sometimes it’s because a paddler missed their intended exit, other times it’s due to a miscommunication between group members. And sometimes, it was the plan all along. I’ve helped a number of hitchhikers get back to their cars upstream, but I generally don’t recommend relying on this strategy.