Moab La Sal / Westwater Canyon Combination Rafting and Bike Trip
Moab Mountain Biking & Westwater Canyon – About This Trip
Mountain biking and Moab are nearly synonymous; the former uranium boom town has become a mecca for bikers wanting to swoop, soar, climb, and roll over the region’s sinuous sandstone and wild desert trails. Our Moab Sampler trip lets you get a taste of it all, and allows your group the flexibility to tailor each day’s ride to your interests and skill level. Our guides will lead you on single or double track adventures through a red rock wonderland. Whether it’s smelling the Lupin & Sage in the beatific hillsides of the La Sals, splashing through cross-cutting rides in Onion Creek, slaloming downhill past the Gemini Bridges or pedaling between dinosaur footprints at Klondike Bluffs you’re sure to find the ride that leaves you just the right amount of breathless. Follow this up with two days of floating on the Colorado River, splashing through rapids beneath the sheer black walls of Westwater Canyon, falling asleep to the sound of water on rocks: relaxation well deserved.
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 and ability level, Mother Nature, and courtesy for other groups in the area. This typical itinerary illustrates a bike trip in the Moab area and raft trip through Westwater Canyon on the Colorado River.
Day One: Meet group at headquarters in Green River, Utah. A one-hour van ride to Moab marks the start of the trip. We will select a base camp on public land outside of town, location to be determined by where we want to ride, weather, and camp availability. Various possibilities include the Bar M trail network north of Moab which provides a number of excellent short beginner and intermediate singletrack loops. Options for after lunch include riding the Klondike Bluffs or Magnificent 7 trail networks. Klondike Bluffs features intermediate, undulating trails; more difficult trails climb up ledgy rocks and over expanses of slickrock. Magnificent 7 provides options for longer technical downhill rides, as well as lengthy scenic loops, including side trips to the spectacular Gemini natural bridges. Dinner and solar showers await back at base camp. There is also the likelihood the group is looking for cooler weather, in which case we will elevate up to the La Sals and spend the next two days in high-country alpine glory.
Day Two: The second day’s ride can be as leisurely or as ambitious as the group wants. With the whole day ahead, advanced groups could choose to tackle the Bar M trails. The new Navajo Rocks loop is a longer intermediate option that climbs gradually and descends via a long, flowy trail with short technical sections. Or, return to Magnificent 7 or Klondike to try the trails we missed the day before. In the event we enter the La Sal mountain loop, your second day may find you nestled into camp next to the mighty Colorado, a hint of what’s to come.
Day Three: Drive to the put-in for Westwater Canyon on the Colorado River. Relaxing float through mellow whitewater, with a possible side trip to Little Hole Canyon’s natural amphitheater, where rock art and 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 on the river near Little Dolores.
Day Four: Leisurely breakfast before rapids of Westwater. Rapids, one right after another, Marble, Staircase, Big Hummer, Funnel Falls, and Surprise . . . leading to Skull Rapid, one of the Colorado’s fiercest drops and the narrowest section of the entire river: only 35 feet across! 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.
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 you waterproof bags. You can buy any last minute items from our store at this time (see checklist of what to bring 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 two-hour van ride to the embarkation point.
After the trip: We will return you to Green River (45 minute van ride). Our expected time of arrival back at our headquarters is 4:00 to 5:00 p.m.
The Bicycling: The Moab mountain bike trip does not have a fixed itinerary, but is designed to provide access to the best of Moab’s bike trails. These trails may consist of packed dirt with gentle up and down sections; loose rocks and gravel; sand; ruts; winding or steep turns; technical ascents and descents including ledges, exposure, or slickrock; steep uphill and downhill sections. Guides will select trails based on groups’ interests and riding ability, but a good level of fitness will make the riding more enjoyable. Riders who have no previous off-road bicycling experience, should be experienced road cyclists with good athletic ability. 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 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 and 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.
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 are generally no problem. In fact, the lack of pesky insects is one of the reasons wilderness camping is so pleasant. Any wilderness trip, however, is subject to an occasional localized insect hatch. During these hatches (most common early- to mid-July) mosquitoes can be bothersome. Be sure to bring long sleeved 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 depending on 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:
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:||Moab Area Biking / Colorado River|
|Length:||4 Days – Biking 2 / Rafting 2|
|Dates:||June through August|
|Meet At:||Green River, UT 7:00 AM|
Adult – $960
Youth – $860(18 & under)
Senior – $860 (65 & over)
Group – $860 (10 or more)
*$10 BLM fee per person
4 Day Trip Dates
Saturdays June 23 through August 11
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.