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Legendary Cataract Canyon lies buried in the heart of Utah’s Canyonlands National Park. Our whitewater rafts offer fun and exciting transportation to side canyon grottos, waterfalls and ancient Pueblo ruins that are otherwise inaccessible. On this river rafting vacation we see the most vivid contrast between serene tranquility and all-out high adventure.
During the first segment of our river rafting trip the fast-moving current slides us quietly past brilliantly colored cliffs and towering table-top mesas. Here the river conditions both body and soul, giving you time to prepare yourself for the behemoth whitewater rapids awaiting below the confluence of the Green and Colorado rivers.
Nowhere on its entire course does the Colorado River descend more precipitously than through Cataract Canyon. On night three of our river rafting adventure, the Colorado River will not rest. The roar of the cataracts will lull you to sleep, dance in your dreams, only to awaken you the next morning with a new song. Time to batten down the hatches and hold on because this is Cataract Canyon rafting at its best. Twenty-three BIG ONES, among them Mile Long, Ben Hurt and the grand-daddy of them all, The Big Drops, which is a succession of three heavy-hitters that will leave you laughing and cheering. We move 30 feet closer to sea level in less than a mile.
I just wanted to say thank you so much for letting us go on a awesome trip and I look forward to another one in the future.
After completing so many trips with Holiday, Tammy & I are good friends. There is never any problem & it is always a pleasure booking a trip. Lead Guide LB is special. He guided my whole family through the big day in Cataract Canyon. It was great being on the river with all four guides. Each trip with Holiday is different. All trips are very well run. I am a "gear guy" and notice the Holiday setup and it is clever!
We had a wonderful experience. Christian, Brynn, Alex, Justin, Lauren and Julian were all very friendly, knowledgeable, enthusiastic and helpful and did a great job. We enjoyed that each of them had their own areas of expertise and knowledge in relation to the history and geology of the canyon. We especially appreciated Christian's fun box for the kids, which was a sweet touch and provided the kids with many hours of entertainment.
Trip booked through Great Old Broads for Wilderness with Holiday. Karen at the office was always good to answer any questions, website was easy to use. The dry bags could actually hold a bit more than I thought. Super, super guides -- every one of them!!! We were very well cared for. Liked the hikes -- even went to the Doll House (at age 70).
Awesome Guides, relaxed, humorous, thoughtful. When it came to the rapids of Cataract Canyon, they were totally on their game: in charge, decisive. You set yourself apart from other rafting companies by emphasizing your eco-friendly policies and approach, e.g. using oar boats vs using jet boats, sponsorship of the Green River initiative, etc.
Cataract Canyon rafting is an anomaly. Its whitewater rapids rank along with those of the Grand Canyon in power and difficulty. In fact, the river becomes unruly during the run-off in May and June.
Yet Cataract Canyon contains mile after mile of supreme whitewater rafting through canyons where you will be awe struck by the deep multicolored canyons that form this stunning area of Canyonlands National Park. Side canyon hikes to ruins and petroglyphs delight you as we head toward the Confluence of the Colorado and Green rivers.
Once we reach the Confluence of the rivers, the Colorado’s behemoth whitewater rapids emerge. Rapids 15 through 23 comprise Mile Long and The Big Drops, a fall of 80 feet in less than four miles and one of the Colorado’s steepest descents.
One of the advantages of a river rafting 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. This typical itinerary illustrates a five-day rafting trip through Cataract Canyon. From August to September, we lengthen the Cataract Canyon river trip by one day and follow this general itinerary.
Meet group at headquarters in Green River, Utah. We drive 1 ½ hours to the put-in point on the river. Our first few miles take us past a collection of table top mesas. Short hikes reveal a variety of ancient artifacts.
The river peacefully meanders into the heart of majestic Canyonlands National Park. Quiet beaches, hidden canyons and refreshing water fights are common through this section of the trip.
We reach the confluence of the Colorado and Green rivers. The Ute Indians believed the Confluence to be the center of the universe, and some people still do. Just below the meeting of these two rivers we enjoy a view of the Doll House, an appropriately named collection of free standing, sandstone columns.
Possible early morning hike into Doll House. Ascend steeply to the canyon rim in the Maze District surrounded by red rock formations. After descending to the river, the white water rapids of Cataract Canyon await. The climax: Big Drop Rapids with Little Niagara and Satan’s Gut.
Lunch at Rock Canyon and a trip across Lake Powell with the aid of motorboat “Hayduke” brings us to Hite Marina and the conclusion of our amazing whitewater adventure. A two-hour drive returns us to Green River.
We meet for your whitewater vacation in Green River, Utah at Holiday River Expeditions headquarters, 8:00 a.m. (Mountain Time) the morning your rafting trip begins. Our facility 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 Utah river rafting trip. If you are driving, your car can be left safely at our headquarters.
Upon your arrival at our headquarters (8:00 a.m. Mountain Time), we will issue your waterproof bags. You can purchase any last minute items from our store at this time (see check list of what to bring 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 river boats.
We will disembark at Hite, Utah. From Hite we will drive 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.
Our river rafting guides are trained in first-aid and carry first aid supplies with them. REMEMBER to bring your own prescription medicines. ALERT our guides to any medical problems you might have such as diabetes or allergic reactions. White Water Rafting Vacations are a long way from hospitals, doctors, and pain-relieving medicines. Evacuations to any modern medical facility can be long and uncertain. In case of evacuation and/or medical treatment beyond first aid, expenses incurred are the responsibility of the participant.
If cancellations are made prior to 90 days before the river rafting 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 river rafting trip date monies will be refunded less a $100.00 service charge per person. Cancellations made within 45 days of the Holiday River trip date are non-refundable. Prior to 45 days to the rafting tour date we will transfer reservations to another rafting trip in the same year with a $25.00 service charge per person. All policies will be enforced and we strongly recommend river rafting trip cancellation insurance. Cancellation of a rafting trip is very unlikely, but we reserve the right to cancel any rafting vacation due to river or weather conditions or the lack of sufficient reservations. A full refund will be made if such is the case.
Medical and cancellation insurance on a rafting vacation plan can be obtained from numerous insurance companies. We offer plans underwritten by TRAVEL GUARD that cover accident, baggage and cancellation claims. An application should be enclosed with this information package. We encourage all to take advantage of this coverage. This is available to American and Canadian citizens, as well as citizens of another country as long as you have a U.S. address. If you have questions give us a call. 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.
Many guests ask us if tipping is appropriate after the river rafting trip. If you feel the river guides have been instrumental in your enjoyment of the rafting vacation, you may choose to direct a gratuity to the river trip leader in the form of cash or check. He/She will then distribute it evenly to the other crewmembers. Of those that choose to tip, the average contribution amount ranges between $15.00 and $25.00 per guest, per day. However, the decision to tip is left to your sole discretion.
We provide ice water, lemonade, two sodas per day 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 river 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.
Prior to leaving on your Colorado River Rafting vacation, you may 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 through e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
IN THE EVENT OF EMERGENCY CIRCUMSTANCES THE NIGHT BEFORE THE RIVER RAFTING TRIP, OUR GREEN RIVER HEADQUARTERS NUMBER IS 435-564-3273.
Canyonlands weather: In the early and late seasons (May to mid-June and late August- September) the daytime temperatures are 70 to 90 degrees, with nighttime temperatures 50 to 60 degrees. It seldom rains in Canyonlands but when it does, it can cool temperatures down considerably in May and September. From mid-June to mid-August the days are hot. Temperatures average from 80 to 100 degrees in the daytime, and from 60 to 75 degrees at night. This is the time of year when swimming in the Colorado and Utah area becomes a popular activity. Though it may seem very warm, remember that the humidity is low. There will be an abundance of sun, so bring a hat and plenty of suntan lotion and/or sunscreens.
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 white water rafting trip, however, is subject to a localized insect hatch. Sometimes bees will be about, so make sure you have appropriate allergy medications with you. 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 Utah River rafting trip, however, it is strictly an optional activity. There are many interesting short hikes available but please remember that the hikes on this trip can be strenuous due to heat and high elevations. Hiking can be done in durable sneakers or lightweight hiking boots. Remember that hiking and other activities vary widely depending upon available time and what other plans are ahead for our day on the river.
Best place to eat: 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 offers family dining with riverside seating.
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, Capital Reef National Park, Natural Bridges National Monument, and the La Sal and Henry Mountains.
Reading material you may enjoy:
Canyonlands River Guide, Belknap (waterproof) $19.95
National Geographic, “Exploring Canyonlands Nat’l. Park” (7/71) N/A
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 our e-store, or by sending the appropriate amount listed above plus $4.95 shipping and handling for the first book, and an additional $2.00 for each book thereafter to Holiday River Expeditions, 544 East 3900 South, SLC UT 84107. This is available within the U.S. 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.
You can fly to Salt Lake City located 180 miles northwest of Green River, Utah (all major airlines), or fly to Moab from Denver (Great Lakes Aviation) 52 miles south of Green River, Utah. From both destinations 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) www.river-terrace.com
Comfort Inn 435-564-3300 (inside pool, hot tub, continental breakfast – in front of our headquarters) *10% discount for H.E. guests – must have a trip invoice at check in. www.comfortinn.com/hotel-green_river-utah-UT424
Holiday Inn Express 435-564-4439 (inside pool, hot tub, continental breakfast – west of our headquarters) www.hiexpress.com
Super 8 435-564-8888 (inside pool, hot tub, refrigerator, microwave) www.super8.com
Motel 6 435-564-3436 (pool, kids free, lower rates) www.motel6.com
Sleepy Hollow 435-564-8189 (clean with lower rates)
*When making advance reservations at the 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).
BE SURE TO MAKE ADVANCE RESERVATIONS!!
There are two campgrounds in Green River: the Green River State Park (no pool, lower rates and may have mosquitos – call 435-564-3633 to make reservations), and the KOA Campground (435-564-8195 – across from our headquarters).
Holiday River Expedition's Travel Agents - Mateja Harrington & Cindy Swenson with Cruise and Travel Masters are happy to assist you with your travel plans. Contact Mateja or Cindy to take the work out of "Getting Here".
Toll Free - 800-264-0557 (You must ask for Mateja Harrington or Cindy Swenson) Or, do it yourself, we can help… Air Service to Salt Lake City (SLC) or Denver (DEN) 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. Salt Lake City to Green River 180 miles Shuttle Service to Green River or Blanding, Utah from Salt Lake City (Vernal is on a Charter basis only) TRANSPORTATION OPTIONS FROM DENVER to Green River, Vernal or Blanding, Utah Air Service to Moab (CNY) (52 miles south of Green River), Utah from Denver, Colorado
Email Attention Mateja or Cindy: email@example.com">
Colorado and Utah Rivers
Gateway - Salt Lake City, Utah OR Denver, Colorado
All rental cars are located in both terminals of the Salt Lake City Airport.
Salt Lake City to Blanding 300 miles
Salt Lake City to Vernal 180 miles
Air Service to Vernal (VEL), Utah from Denver, Colorado
Or, do it yourself, we can help…
Air Service to Salt Lake City (SLC) or Denver (DEN)
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.
Salt Lake City to Green River 180 miles
Shuttle Service to Green River or Blanding, Utah from Salt Lake City (Vernal is on a Charter basis only)
TRANSPORTATION OPTIONS FROM DENVER to Green River, Vernal or Blanding, Utah
Air Service to Moab (CNY) (52 miles south of Green River), Utah from Denver, Colorado
PROVIDED BY HOLIDAY RIVER EXPEDITIONS
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There is a greater chance of inclement weather on these trips which otherwise offer many advantages to the well-prepared river traveler. Polypropylene, fleece, pile, bunting, capeline, etc. are a few examples of trade names for a class of synthetic materials that retain their ability to insulate when wet (please note, cotton does not.) Your comfort on the trip starts with finding the right type of synthetic under and outer-wear and quality rain gear. We recommend Backcountry.com for your additional river trip needs. Backcountry.com offers a wide variety of gear to help you dress for success the for your river trip no matter what the weather decides to do. A prepared traveler is a happy traveler.
ITEMS YOU CAN BUY AT HOLIDAY'S ONLINE STORE: www.HolidayExpeditions.com/store or at our accessories stores in Green River and Vernal; the meeting points for our Cataract, Westwater, Ranch, Desolation, Labyrinth, Fisher Towers, Lodore and Yampa trips.
ITEMS YOU CAN BUY AT BACKCOUNTRY.COM: www.backcountry.com