Location: Near Salzburg, Austria
The whitewater rafting section of the Saalach River is located between Lofer and Unken, near Salzburg, Austria. A few rafting companies have their base in the nearby town of Taxenbach.
Level of Difficulty: Class III, IV and V / Beginner – Advanced
The Saalach can be run in three separate stretches:
Au to Unken, Class III, 11 km:
This is the most often-rafted section of the Saalach River. Characterized by rolling waves and beautiful scenery, this is a great introduction to whitewater rafting. Good for beginners and families.
The “World Cup Course”: Class IV
International Kayaking Rodeo contests are held in this part of the river every year, giving the section its name. During this upper stretch, the river flows through a densely forested gorge, through large wave trains interspersed with bigger holes that need to be avoided.
Devil’s Gorge: Class V, 4 km
This short stretch of whitewater is one of the most famous in Austria. After flowing under the Devil’s Bridge, the River Saalach enters a very narrow gorge, forcing the current to double in speed and ferocity in order to fit through. Big drops, huge mid-channel boulders, and undercuts characterize this extremely challenging rafting trip.
The Canyon: Alpine Pastures and Forest Gorges
The Saalach river runs through a U-shaped glacial valley of the central Alps. At times, its banks are composed of broad rolling hills, pastures, hayfields, ancient towns and vineyards. Other times, conifer trees crowd in and engulf the river, confining its waters between walls of towering evergreens. Snow-clad peaks and granite ramparts are constantly visible in the distance, an unforgettable testament to the grandeur of the Alps.
Season: May through September
Rafting trips on the Saalach River are available during the summer.