White Rim Trail / Cataract Canyon Combination
About This Trip
If you’re not afraid of a sore muscle or two why ride to the river in a van? When you could be flying along the White Rim Trail on a bike? Sixty-five miles from mesa top to river bottom will show you the ride that has become the standard against which all others are judged. After three days of following the White Rim trail and its meandering course of the Green and Colorado rivers, the white sandstone bench descends to the river bottom, and your whitewater journey begins.
Cataract Canyon is an anomaly. Its Rapids rank along with those of the Grand Canyon in power and difficulty. Cataract also contains mile after mile of rafting through canyons where you are awe struck, not at whitewater, but the deep multicolored canyons of this section of Canyonlands National Park. Side canyon hikes to ruins and petroglyphs delight you as you head toward the Confluence of the Colorado and the Green Rivers. Once you reach the Confluence, the Colorado’s behemoth rapids emerge. Rapids 15 through 23 comprise Mile Long and The Big Drops, a fall of 80 feet in less than four miles–one of the Colorado’s steepest descents.
One of the advantages of a bike/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 in the area. This typical itinerary illustrates a bike trip through the Island in the Sky District and raft trip through Cataract Canyon using the Green River’s Labyrinth and Stillwater canyons. Because of changes in the river’s speed the White Rim/Cataract trip varies slightly with the time of season that you go. The May trips usually meet up with the rafts in mid to late afternoon of the third day out. The September trips will meet up with the rafts prior to lunch on the third day.
Day One: Meet group at Holiday River Expeditions headquarters in Green River, Utah. A two-hour van ride to the head of the Shafer Trail marks the start of the trip. The first day’s ride will take the group down the switchbacks of the Shafer trail before cutting back south toward Musselman Arch. The trail continues to wind southward as it follows the meandering course of the Colorado River. Camp on this evening is made at or near Lathrop Canyon
Day Three: By the morning of this day the trail has turned back north and is following the contours of the Green River. We ride around the labyrinths of Soda Springs Basin and by Candlestick Tower before reaching where the rafts are waiting at Labyrinth or Taylor Canyon (May), and Beaver Bottom (September).
Day Four: The River’s smooth current transports our rafts to stops at Valentine Bottom or Turks Head where we will observe prehistoric Indian ruins & petroglyphs. Quiet beaches, hidden canyons, and refreshing water fights are common through this section of the trip.
Day Five: We reach the confluence of the Colorado and Green Rivers. The Ute Indians believe the Confluence to be the center of the universe. Just below the meeting of these two rivers enjoy a view of the Doll House, an appropriately named collection of freestanding, sandstone columns.
Day Six: Possible early morning hike into Doll House. Ascend steeply to the canyon rim in the Maze District with red rock formations. After descending to the river, the rapids of Cataract Canyon await. The climax: Big Drop Rapids with Little Niagara and Satan’s Gut.
Day Seven: Begin the journey through majestic Glen Canyon and the former high-water mark for “Lake” Powell. Aided by motorboat “Hayduke” during higher lake levels, you’ll finish the trip at Dirty Devil Take-out. A two-hour drive brings you 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!
Beginning of the trip: Upon your arrival at our headquarters (7:00 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 checklist for a list of items you can find at our store). Before leaving our headquarters, each guest along with a Holiday guide will perform a pre-trip inspection of your bikes. If you are providing your own bike, please make sure that it is in good repair, we recommend a complete service by a professional shop prior to the trip. Guests with bikes’ that fail our inspection will be asked to rent a Holiday bike for $160.00/person. We will then take a 1 ½ hour van ride to the embarkation point.
After the trip: We will disembark at Dirty Devil, Utah. From there we will take you back to our headquarters in Green River (2 hour van ride). Our expected time of arrival back at our headquarters is 5:00 to 6:00 p.m.
The Bicycling: The White Rim bike route is a technically challenging route. This undeveloped dirt road has steep downhills, loose rocks, sand, and ruts. Riders who have no off-road bicycling experience, or who are not athletic will most likely find this trip too challenging. All riders should prepare for the trip by riding their bike on a regular basis prior to the trip.
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 45 days of the trip date monies will be refunded less a $100.00 service charge per person. Cancellations made within 45 days of the trip date are non refundable. Prior to 45 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. He/She 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.
Note that on this trip you will have one set of guides for the biking, and a different set of guides on the river. If you intend to tip both, you should do so at the end of each trip segment.
Beverages/Snacks: We provide ice water, gatorade, lemonade, one soda per day per 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/snacks that you bring so that you can keep track of them. 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. We will have high-energy snacks (for the bike portion) and fresh fruit available, but if you have a favorite energy bar or snack bring it along.
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
Bugs, snakes, etc. are generally no problem. In fact, the lack of pesky insects is one of the reasons wilderness camping in the desert is so pleasant. Any wilderness trip, however, is subject to an occasional localized insect hatch. During these hatches 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 strictly an optional activity. There are many interesting short hikes available. Hiking can be done in your biking shoes, 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.
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, Colorado National Monument, Goblin Valley State Park, San Rafael Swell, Capitol Reef National Park, Natural Bridges National Monument, and the La Sal and Henry Mountains.
Reading material, you may enjoy:
Exploration of the Colorado River – Powell…………………………………………. $12.95
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.
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)
- Air Canada 888-247-2262
- Alaska Airlines 800-252-7522
- American Airlines 800-433-7300
- Delta Air Lines 800-221-1212
- Frontier Airlines 800-432-1359
- JetBlue Airways 800-538-2583
- KLM Royal Dutch Airlines 800-618-0104
- SkyWest Airlines 800-453-9417
- Southwest Airlines 800-435-9792
- United Airlines 800-241-6522
Transportation Options from Salt Lake City to Green River, Vernal or Blanding, Utah:
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.
- Alamo 801-575-2211
- Avis 801-575-2847
- Budget 801-575-2821
- Dollar 801-575-2580
- Enterprise 801-537-7433
- Firefly 801-531-3563
- Hertz 801-575-2683
- National 801-575-2277
- Payless 801-322-6330
- Thrifty 801-265-6677
- Salt Lake City to Green River 180 miles
- Salt Lake City to Blanding 300 miles
- Salt Lake City to Vernal 180 miles
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)
|Location:||White Rim Trail / Green River – Canyonlands National Park|
|Length:||4 and 5 Days|
|Dates:||May & September|
|Meet At:||Green River, Utah 7:00 am|
|Rating:||Intermediate & Advanced|
Adult – $1,570
Youth – $1,370 (18 & under)
Senior – $1,370 (65 & older)
Group – $1,370 (10 or more)
7 Day Trip Dates
May 6, 13, 20, 27
September 2, 9, 16
Large Waterproof Bag
Eating Utencils & Plates
Bike Repair Kit
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
Plastic mugs work well
Not included in the rental kit
Compact and warm
high quality important for Dinosaur & Desolation trips.
Sleeping Pad/Air Mattress
Compact, must fit in the provided bag
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.
BIKE must be in good repair; Holiday rental bike with helmet is available $160.00/bike; If personal bike fails to meet minimum safety standards you will be asked to rent a Holiday bike. Please note if renting bike – if you have clipless shoes you MUST bring your own pedals. Holiday rental bikes come with platform pedals only.
Submit your review
Brin is a terrific guide who allowed the newlyweds, my daughter and son-in-law, to paddleboard through many of the first rapids. Dustin was a gas to be around and Mary a good and knowledgeable guide. I ended up getting a book she recommended, "The Emerald Mile". A terrific trip!
All of the guides were great. Brin, especially, has knowledge about the history and geology of the area that makes the trip extra enjoyable. I would recommend this trip to anyone and everyone.
The White Rim bike ride was a real accomplishment for the two of us who "are of a certain age." The windstorm which greeted us the first day and a half was an added challenge. However, our group was made up of wonderful travelers from all over the US and our guides were so supportive we had a terrific time. The transition to the river was handled well despite our getting stuck in the last mile of sand before the river. Our river experience was much more laid back and, although the pace was different, just as enjoyable. All in all we had a swell time and would recommend this trip to anyone who would like to immerse themselves in the magic of Canyonlands for a week.
Phenomenal everything! One of the best 5 days of my life! Great food prepared by 4 great people who steered us like true pros down a wonderful river to see beautiful flora and fauna. What could be better! Canyonlands and the White Rim Trail is an adventure we consider repeating because of the awesome beauty and great mountain bike riding.
Dave, Zach and Justin were proficient, professional and fun to be with. Grade A+. They were very flexible, kind and accommodating. The White Rim bike trip was perfect in all ways. From the guides, to the bikes to the support van to the food to the terrain to the other guests to the drivers Tim and Susan, to the dog "River", everything was wonderful. One of our best family vacations ever! Thanks much Holiday Team.