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Often called a miniature Grand Canyon, this segment of the Colorado River is the answer for the person who is short on time but wants it all…a wilderness canyon so stunningly beautiful you’ll have no choice but to leave the world behind.
The Westwater Canyon Utah river rafting trip sells out quickly so book early. The three-day trip offers more time to leave the world behind and the opportunity to go one-on-one with the Colorado River in an inflatable kayak. Westwater: the ultimate two or three-day getaway.
I won the trip in a raffle at work so did not research the company prior to receiving it. Expected more choices for hikes, but limited due to terrain, time available before dinner time. Our guides, Melia, Justin, Brian, Sandy and Tilt were very efficient, friendly and knowledgeable. We felt they maintained high standards and were extremely hard-working. They also seemed to appreciate working for Holiday, and the equipment the company provides.
Had such a wonderful first-time overnight rafting experience! The guides were all so wonderful, accommodating, and knowledgeable! The food was fantastic; every meal was amazing and now I know I love Israeli melon! The trip was everything I could have asked for- breathtaking scenery, ultimate relaxation, and pure excitement and fun! Thanks for everything, I will definitely be coming back for another adventure!
i loved the printable trip packing list! so helpful to know what you provided and what i needed. everything was incredible. made it feel like a true vacation. OVERALL: From beginning to end our trip was perfect. Everything was taken care of- I didn't have a thing to worry about, except sitting back, relaxing, taking in the canyon views and enjoying my vacation! The guides are extremely organized, knowledgeable, friendly, and fun. I loved the two days of flat water followed by a day of rapids- just when you get comfortable they throw in some more excitement! I would recommend Holiday River Expeditions to my friends and family in a heartbeat.
As usual, our guides exceeded our expectations. They were the perfect combination of safe and fun! I've been on this trip three years running, and each year I am blown away by the service they provide at Holiday!! The guides are amazing, the food unbelievable (for camping) and the starry nights are the best. Already looking forward to our trip next year. Thank you Holiday!
40-odd years of experience really shows with your fine-tuned outfit! Nothing was over looked which led to a perfect 3 day experience on Westwater.
The white water rapids of Westwater Canyon are created when the swift flowing Colorado River is forced through Granite Canyon, a narrow seam of polished black schist capped with red slickrock towers. Virtually unknown 30 years ago, Westwater Canyon has become a favorite choice for whitewater rafting enthusiasts because of its pace, rhythm, and intensity.
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.
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 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 thousand year old ebony colored schist provides the background setting.
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.
Encounter rapids of Westwater–one right after another–Hunter’s, Funnel Falls, Surprise and . .. THE BIG ONE: Skull Rapid. Observe bald eagle, great blue heron and snowy egret habitats. Short trip back to Green River.
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 Indian 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.
Leisurely breakfast before rapids of Westwater Canyon. Rapids, one right after another, Marble, Staircase, Hunter’s, Funnel Falls, and Surprise . . . lead 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.
We meet for your trip in Green River, Utah at Holiday River Expeditions headquarters, 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.
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 check list of what to bring for a list of items you can find at the store). We will then take a 90 minute van ride to the embarkation point, where we will transfer to the boats.
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..
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.
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.
Medical and cancellation insurance on a 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 trip. 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 crew members. 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 at your sole discretion.
We provide ice water, lemonade, two sodas 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 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 Uah, wine or liquor is not sold after 7:00 p.m., before 11:00 a.m., or on Sundays and holidays.
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 tme to answer your questions. You may also contact us by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
IN THE EVENT OF EMERGENCY CIRCUMSTANCES THE NIGHT BEFORE THE TRIP, OUR GREEN RIVER HEADQUARTERS NUMBER IS 435-564-3273
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 tempatures 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 warm 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.
Bugs, snakes, etc. are generally no problem. In fact, the lack of pesky insects is one of the reasons that 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) mosquitos 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, but are also suspected of causing various health problems. Citronella-based products (skin-so-soft) 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 offers family dining with riverside seating.
John Wesley Powell Museum in Green River, Utah. Arches National, Dead Horse Point State Park, Canyonlands National Park, Fisher Towers, Colorado National Monument, Goblin Valley State, San Rafael Swell, Capital Reef National Park, Natural Bridges National Monument, and the La Sal and Henry Mountains.
Canyonlands River Guide, Belknap (waterproof) $19.95
Canyonlands Country, Donald L. Baars $15.95
The Educated Outlaw, Harvey Lay Murdock (Grandson) $10.95
Life in Stone, Christa Sadler $11.95
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 Holiday 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
Printable PDF version
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