Westwater Canyon River Rafting

Colorado River Rafting Westwater Canyon – About This Trip

Colorado River rafting doesn’t get much better than this! Our Westwater Canyon whitewater rafting trip takes us down a segment of the Colorado River that is magnificent and is often referred to as a miniature Grand Canyon. The beauty and grandeur of this section of the Colorado River offers memorable sights such as pristine beaches, charming side canyons, and beautiful campsites. Westwater Canyon is a great rafting trip for those who want the beauty and thrills of a traditional Colorado River rafting vacation, and yet only have a few days available for their river rafting tour. Westwater: the ultimate two or three-day getaway.

WESTWATER CANYON RAFTING HIGHLIGHTS

  • Great introduction to river rafting trips
  • Excellent choice if you are short on time
  • Exciting class III & IV whitewater rapids
  • Stunning wilderness canyon with unique rock formations
Westwater Canyon cuts its teeth through black-rock canyons in Southern Utah, due North East of Arches and Canyonlands National Parks.  On a three day you start in rural Colorado at the Loma boat ramp; while on a two day you start across the border in Utah from a remote ranger station. Both lead you to a take-out near the wild-west ghost town of Cisco.

One of the advantages of a river trip is the flexibility of the daily itinerary. It can vary widely from one trip to the next based on group desires, Mother Nature, and courtesy for other groups on the river. The typical itineraries below illustrate a 3-day and a 2-day trip through Westwater Canyon on the Colorado River.

Sample Two-day Itinerary:

Day One: Pack bags at river headquarters in Green River, Utah before ride to Westwater Ranger Station.  Relaxing float to Little Hole Canyon’s natural amphitheater where shards of Native American pottery can be seen.  In favorable conditions a short hike up Little Dolores Canyon reveals a beautiful desert waterfall and swimming hole. Camp near Little Dolores.

Day Two:
 Leisurely breakfast before rapids of Westwater.  Rapids, one right after another, Marble, Staircase, Hunter’s, Funnel Falls, and Surprise . . . leads to Skull Rapid, one of the Colorado’s fiercest drops.  Finish with Bowling Alley, Sock-it-to-me and Last Chance.  Vans will return you to our headquarters in Green River at the end of the trip.

Sample Three-day Itinerary:

Day One:  
Meet at headquarters, in Green River, Utah before two-hour ride to the put-in at Loma.  Float leisurely through the desert scenery of Ruby Canyon.  For those interested, inflatable kayaks or stand up paddle boards provide the opportunity to experience the river on a solo basis.  A side hike up Rattlesnake Canyon reveals a variety of desert plants and wildlife. Camp at Black Rocks where billion year old black schist provides the background setting.

Day Two:  
Peaceful floating and more time in the inflatable kayaks before reaching Westwater Ranger Station.  The river enters the narrow canyons that give Westwater the nickname, “the Little Grand”.  Small rapids begin to materialize along the otherwise peaceful stretches of the Colorado.  Camp at one of the many beaches within Westwater Canyon.
 
Day Three: 
Gear up for rapids–one right after another–Hunter’s, Funnel Falls, Surprise and the big-names: Skull and Sock-it-to-me.  Observe bald eagle, great blue heron and snowy egret habitats in the meandering flat-water below.  Enjoy a short trip back to Green River.
As mentioned earlier, this is a sample itinerary and should not be thought of as the trip you will experience. It is intended to give an idea of what the trip will be like. It could also be exactly what you do. Keep an open mind, be flexible, go with the flow, and enjoy!
We meet for your trip in Green River, Utah at Holiday River Expeditions headquarters (see Google map), 8:00 a.m. (Mountain Time) the morning your trip begins. Our headquarters is located 1/4 mile east of the Green River Bridge, across the highway from the Motel 6 and behind the Comfort Inn. If you arrive in Green River by shuttle, bus, Amtrak, or plane, call our headquarters (435-564-3273) upon your arrival to make arrangements to have you and your gear transported to our headquarters the morning of the trip. If you are driving, your car can be left at our headquarters.

Beginning of the trip: Upon your arrival at our headquarters (8:00 a.m., Mountain Time), we will issue your waterproof bags. You can buy any last minute items from our accessory’s store at this time (see our packing check list for a list of items you can find at our store). We will then take a 90-minute van ride to the embarkation point, where we will transfer to the boats.

After the trip: We will return you to Green River (90 minute van ride). Our expected time of arrival back at our headquarters is 4:00 to 5:00 p.m.

Medical emergencies: Our guides are trained in first aid and carry first aid supplies only. REMEMBER to bring your own prescription medicines. ALERT our guides to any medical problem you might have such as diabetes or allergic reactions. Wilderness expeditions are a long way from hospitals, doctors, and pain-relieving medicines. Evacuations to modern medical care are uncertain, and protracted. In case of evacuation and/or medical treatment beyond first aid, expenses incurred are the responsibility of the participant.

Cancellation Policy: If cancellations are made prior to 90 days before the trip, monies will be refunded less a $50.00 service charge per person. If cancellations are made within 90 days and outside of 60 days of the trip date monies will be refunded less a $100.00 service charge per person. Cancellations made within 60 days of the trip date are non refundable. Prior to 60 days to the trip date we will transfer reservations to another trip in the same year with a $25.00 service charge per person. All policies will be enforced and we strongly recommend trip cancellation insurance. Cancellation of a trip is very unlikely, but we reserve the right to cancel any trip due to river or weather conditions or the lack of sufficient reservations. A full refund will be made if such is the case.

Insurance: Medical Evacuation and cancellation insurance on a vacation plan can be obtained from numerous insurance companies. You should be aware that medical evacuations in the backcountry can easily cost $10,000 and up.  You are responsible for these potential expenses and we strongly encourage all guests to have this coverage. We offer plans by TRAVEL GUARD that cover evacuation, baggage and cancellation claims. It is available to American and Canadian citizens, as well as citizens of another country as long as you have a U.S. address. For a quote or questions give us a call or include Your Names, Birth Dates in an Email and we will send a quote.  Also, if you are bringing expensive cameras, binoculars, or other items we suggest you have insurance coverage for them (commonly available through Homeowners Policies). In the event of a loss, our insurance will not cover those items.

Tipping the guides:  If you feel the guides have been instrumental in your enjoyment of the trip, you may choose to direct a gratuity to the trip leader in the form of cash or check.  They will then distribute it evenly to the other crewmembers.  The average contribution amount ranges between $20.00 and $30.00 per guest, per day. Cash is the preferred method of tipping.

Beverages: We provide ice water, lemonade, one soda per day/person and ample cooler space. If you choose to bring any specialty sodas and/or alcoholic beverages, we have no problem taking whatever you want to bring – within reason.  Don’t bring beer, wine coolers or sodas in glass containers. Wine packaged in a box is ideal. Mark beverages that you bring so they are packed on your boat. The liquor store in Green River, Utah is located in the back of the West Winds restaurant. In Utah, wine or liquor is not sold after 7:00 p.m., before 11:00 a.m., or on Sundays and holidays.

If you have any questions prior to leaving for your trip, we welcome you to call our Salt Lake City office, Monday through Friday at 800-624-6323 (outside Utah) or 801-266-2087 (inside Utah). We’re happy to take the time to answer your questions. You may also contact us by email at [email protected].

IN THE EVENT OF EMERGENCY CIRCUMSTANCES THE NIGHT BEFORE THE TRIP, OUR GREEN RIVER HEADQUARTERS NUMBER IS 435-564-3273

Westwater weather: In the early and late seasons (May to mid‑June and late August to September) the daytime temperatures are 70 to 90 degrees, with nighttime temperatures 50 to 60 degrees.  It seldom rains in Westwater Canyon, but when it does, it can cool temperatures considerably in May and September.  From mid‑June to mid-August the days are hot and temperatures average 80 to 100 degrees during the day and 60 to 75 degrees at night.  This is the time of year that swimming in the Colorado becomes a popular activity.  This seems hot but remember the humidity is very low.  There will be an abundance of sun, so bring a hat and plenty of suntan lotion and/or sunscreens. *Please avoid spray on sun-screen for the health and safety of your guide and fellow-guests.

Bugs, snakes, etc. are generally no problem.  In fact, the lack of pesky insects is one of the reasons wilderness camping on the river is so pleasant.  Any river trip, however, is subject to an occasional localized insect hatch.  During these hatches (most common in June to mid-July) mosquitoes can be bothersome.  Be sure to bring long sleeve clothing and repellent.  Insect repellents that contain “deet” are by far the most effective during heavy hatches.  Citronella-based products work only in light hatches.  We rarely see any snakes, but if the thought of them bothers you, try sleeping on the beaches or in a tent instead of rocky or bushy areas.

Hiking is a highlight of the trip, however, it is strictly an optional activity. There are many interesting short hikes available. Hiking can be done in durable sneakers or lightweight hiking boots. Remember that hiking and other activities vary widely pending time, and what other plans are ahead for the day on the river.

The best place to eat in Green River is Ray’s Tavern. Ray’s is a true small western town bar rich in atmosphere and good food. They serve incredible hamburgers, pork chops, small salads and steaks. The Tamarisk Restaurant also offers family dining with riverside seating and some delicious cuisine to boot.

Things to see in the area: John Wesley Powell Museum in Green River, Utah. Arches National Park, Dead Horse Point State Park, Canyonlands National Park, Fisher Towers, Goblin Valley State Park, San Rafael Swell, Capitol Reef National Park, Natural Bridges National Monument, La Sal and Henry Mountains and the recently added Bear’s Ears National Monument.

Reading material, you may enjoy:

Canyonlands River Guide – Belknap (waterproof)………………………………… $19.95
Canyonlands Country – Donald L. Baars……………………………………………. $15.95
Life in Stone – Christa Sadler……………………………………………………………. $11.95
The Educated Outlaw – Harvey Lay Murdock (Grandson)…………………….. $10.95

These books can be ordered online at www.bikeraft.com, or by sending the appropriate amount listed above plus $5.60 priority shipping to Holiday River Expeditions, 544 East 3900 South, SLC, UT 84107. This is available within the U.S. only. If outside the U.S. additional shipping and handling charges will be added. You can call 801-266-2087 for rates. These books can also be purchased at our headquarters in Green River.

If you are flying, you can fly to Salt Lake City located 180 miles northwest of Green River, Utah.  From there you can rent a car or take a shuttle with Moab Luxury Coach (call 435-940-4212 or www.moabluxurycoach.com) to Green River.  If you need assistance with your travel arrangements, please ask your Holiday River Expedition reservation agent.

Lodging before and after your trip can be booked at one of six locations:

  • River Terrace Inn  435‑564‑3401 (locally owned, pool, hot tub, full breakfast, riverside rooms available) *10% discount
  • Comfort Inn  435‑564‑3300 (inside pool, hot tub, continental breakfast – in front of our headquarters) *10% discount
  • Holiday Inn Express  435-564-4439 (inside pool, hot tub, continental breakfast – west of our headquarters)
  • Super 8  435-564-8888 (inside pool, hot tub, refrigerator, microwave)
  • Motel 6  435‑564‑3436 (pool, kids free, lower rates)
  • Sleepy Hollow  435-564-8189 (clean with lower rates)

*When making advance reservations at the River Terrace Inn or Comfort Inn, mention that you are on a Holiday River Expedition trip and you will be extended a discounted rate on your room (see above). You will need a trip invoice at check-in.

BE SURE TO MAKE ADVANCE RESERVATIONS!

If you are camping out, there are two campgrounds in Green River:  the Green River State Park (no pool, lower rates and may have mosquitoes – call 435-564-3633 to make reservations), and the KOA Campground (435-564-8195 – across from our headquarters).

Air Service to Salt Lake City (SLC) 

Transportation Options from Salt Lake City to Green River, Vernal or Blanding, Utah:

Rental Cars

Once in Salt Lake City most of our guests rent-a-car and drive to our meeting points.

All rental cars are located in both terminals of the Salt Lake City Airport.

  • Salt Lake City to Green River 180 miles
  • Salt Lake City to Blanding 300 miles
  • Salt Lake City to Vernal 180 miles

Bus
To Green River Only 
(Bus has limited schedule and is not as convenient as rental cars) 

Shuttle Service to Green River or Blanding, Utah from Salt Lake City or Moab (Vernal is on a Charter basis only)

Trip Overview

Location: Colorado River – Westwater Canyon
Type: Rafting
Length: 1, 2 and 3 Days
Dates: May – September
Meet At: Green River, UT 8:00 AM
Rating: Intermediate
Age Min: 8
Deposit: $100

Trip Prices

1-Day – $190 per-person

2-Day
Adult – $495
Youth – $455 (18 & under)
Senior – $455 (65 & older)
Group – $455 (10 or more)

3-Day
Adult – $645
Youth – $595 (18 & under)
Senior – $595 (65 & older)
Group – $595 (10 or more)

$10 (1-2 day)BLM Fees per person
$16 (3-day) BLM Fees per person

Departure Dates

2018 Trip Dates

2 Day Trip Dates

Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays
June 20 – August 29; Saturdays September 1 – 29

3 Day Trip Dates

Mondays and Fridays
May 4 – June 15;

Sundays, Tuesdays and Fridays
June 19 – August 31;

Fridays September 7-28

Check Availability

What’s Included

Life Jacket
Large Waterproof Bag
Day Bag
Camp Chair
Eating Utencils & Plates
Full Course Meals: Lunch the first day through
lunch the last day
Drinks: Ice Water, Lemonade, Juices, One pop/person/day-mix of regular & diet

The day bag 8″ diameter x 20″ high is for items you will need access to during the day. For your sleeping gear and clothing, we will furnish you with one bag 16″ diameter x 2 feet high. When properly sealed, bags are usually waterproof. Once in a while, one could develop a leak, so we always recommend packing important items in ziplock bags and leaving expensive electronics at home. Separate storage is provided for tents and beverages. Please remember to keep your gear light and compact. The less you bring, the happier you will be. Please limit gear to no more than 15-20 lbs.

What’s NOT Included

Cup
Plastic mugs work well
Water Bottle
Not included in the rental kit
Sleeping Bag
Compact and warm
Poncho/Rain Suit
high quality important for Dinosaur & Desolation trips.
Sleeping Pad/Air Mattress
Compact, must fit in the provided bag
Light Tent:
Back packer style, not the bulky, heavy types

You can rent most of the items listed above in our sleeping rental kit. We offer two varieties, our basic sleeping kit which includes a sleeping bag, sleeping pad, rain gear and cup for $40.00, or the same basic sleeping kit with a two-person tent for $65.00. Rentals must be reserved in advance, especially on the San Juan trips where we meet away from our headquarters. Rentals requested the morning of the trip are subject to availability. Cups and water bottles available for purchase at our stores in Green River and Vernal Headquarters, or online.

Reviews

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by Diane Bresee on Blank Product Name

Your guides are phenomenal! I knew I was in good hands. I've been raving to everyone I meet!
Thank you.

by Cheryl Dudley on Blank Product Name

This was a most memorable experience and I've been all around the world. We were prepared before hand and then able to experience the beauty, peace and adventure of the trip.

by Chad Dobson on Blank Product Name

Too many good things about Karen and her office team who helped with reservations. We loved our guides. It was a wonderful trip and couldn’t have been better

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