Fall Canyonlands National Park Stargazing & Hiking Trip

Join us on this fall extended hiking and stargazing specialty trip as we approach Cataract Canyon from the Green River. Start above the sandstone cliff faces of Labyrinth Canyon and continue through Stillwater Canyon, all the way through Cataract. To spend 12 days in this landscape is a rare treat. This trip allows more time to explore the hidden side canyons of Canyonlands National Park and the magnificent public lands that surround it. More days means more time for hiking, floating, swimming, and playing on stand-up paddleboards and inflatable kayaks.

Fall is the best season for desert exploring and stargazing. Mild weather makes longer hikes more enjoyable. And the nights are beginning to get longer, which means you don’t have to stay up so late to enjoy the stars!  

This trip includes both relaxing calm water and thrilling whitewater. Cataract is famous for its rapids, but the quiet of Labyrinth and Stillwater create a delicious sense of building suspense. We’ll travel through three distinct canyons and watch the landscape shift as we float. These canyons are rich with cultural history, as well. Our days will be spent visiting prehistoric and historic sites and hearing the stories of the people who came here before us. And at night, we’ll look up and discover the stories that these same people have told for millennia about the stars. This fall extended hiking and stargazing trip has a little bit of everything.

Want to learn more? Check out our Insider’s Guides to Labyrinth Canyon and Cataract Canyon.

Featured Review:

The 12-day rafting trip through Labyrinth, Stillwater, Cataract and Glen Canyons exceeded my high expectations. Being on the river and off the grid for so long was a wonderful break from everyday life. Our guides were fantastic — they were impressive on the river, both rowing us downstream on flat water and expertly navigating the thrilling rapids in Cataract Canyon. They were equally impressive on shore, preparing 36 different, truly tasty meals over the 12 days. It was amazing to be in such a beautiful landscape and eating such good food. This is my fifth trip with Holiday in as many years and I can’t wait for the next one. (Carmen Trevino)

Holiday is an authorized concessioner of Canyonlands National Park.  Additionally, (& more importantly) southern Utah’s canyon country was home to Indigenous people and cultures long before our modern society existed. Out of respect for these people, Holiday wishes to acknowledge that Cataract Canyon and the stretches of the Green and Colorado Rivers that approach it are the traditional homeland of the Pueblos and the Núu-agha-tʉvʉ-pʉ̱ (Ute) people. Read more about our land acknowledgements here.
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Trip Overview

  • Type:


  • Location:

    Green River - Canyonlands National Park

  • Length:

    12 Days

  • Dates:

    September 18-29, 2023

  • Meet at:

    Green River, Utah @ 7:00 pm (night before the trip)

  • Difficulty:


  • Min. Age:


  • Deposit:



  • Longer trip means more time for hiking
  • Experience world-class dark skies
  • Play on stand-up paddleboards in the calm water
  • Enjoy a National Park from the water
Getting Here Before You Go Packing List FAQs

Rates & Dates

12 Days

  • Adult:
  • $2,775
  • Youth:
    18 and under
  • $2,775
  • Senior:
    65 and older
  • $2,775
  • Group:
    10 or more
  • $2,775
Book This Trip
Check Availability
  • September 18-29

2023 Prices are subject to approval by the NPS


South of the town of Green River, the river that lends the town its name embarks on a journey into deep, steep canyons. The Green River flows south, with the exception of a few meandering turns, first through the sheer-walled Labyrinth Canyon, then into the increasingly dramatic Stillwater Canyon. It enters Canyonlands National Park and continues on to its confluence with the Colorado. This is where the rapids begin. Ride the waves at the bottom of this massive, crumbling canyon, then follow the river into the northernmost part of Lake Powell, where our trip will end.

Sample Itinerary

Please meet at our warehouse in Green River, Utah, at 7:00 p.m. the night before your trip for a brief pre-trip orientation meeting. Collect your dry bags so that you can pack them at your hotel, drop off any drinks you want to bring, and check out the selection of last-minute items at our store (our packing checklist includes info about the things we usually have on hand).

Day 1–5: Labyrinth Canyon

Our journey could begin in one of two places, depending on the river’s flow and other variables. We could put in at the Green River State Park, which is a five-minute drive from our warehouse, and adds 24 river miles to our journey. Or, we could drive an hour and a half south to Ruby Ranch and the confluence with the San Rafael River.

Either way, the canyon rises up slowly, closing in around us as we transition from the purple and gray badlands of the Green River Desert to breathtaking red canyon walls. Enjoy swimming alongside the rafts, or some solo time on a stand-up paddleboard. Side hikes and excursions could include the exquisite side canyon at Trin-alcove Bend, the River Register and other historic inscriptions, the overlook at Bowknot Bend, and Hey Joe Canyon. Every day brings new culinary treats, too, as your professional guides pamper you with the best “camping” food you’ve ever had, in the most scenic restaurant imaginable! Around lunchtime on the fifth day, we’ll arrive at Mineral Bottom, the last place to put in or take out until below Cataract.

Day 5–8: Stillwater Canyon

Below Mineral Bottom, the character of the canyon changes. It widens, grows taller, then narrows again, encasing us in even more spectacular rock layers. The White Rim Sandstone appears and rises quickly above us. The river continues to move quietly, lulling us into a divine sense of relaxation. We’ll stop and hike to Ancestral Puebloan cultural sites: towers, granaries, and rock art dot the landscape. Hike over Turk’s Head, a future abandoned meander. We’ll explore side canyons, examine native plant species, and watch for great blue herons, big horn sheep, and peregrine falcons. In camp, choose to participate in an optional yoga session. And as night falls, let the rods in your eyes tune in to the starry world above us.

Days 8–11: Cataract Canyon

Enter the heart of Canyonlands National Park at the confluence of the Green and the Colorado rivers. This auspicious place marks the beginning of Cataract Canyon. We’ll float a few short miles of flat water before an ominous thunder starts to grow from downstream; the famous “cataracts” (old-fashioned word for waterfalls) are soon to come! Thirty plus rapids will quickly wake us up from our week of river meditation. Splash through huge wave-trains and dodge churning holes: Cataract’s rapids are worth the wait.

Day 12: Narrow & Glen Canyons

After the excitement of the rapids, we’ll spend our final day decompressing through Narrow Canyon, aptly named for the incredibly straight and austere walls that hug the river below. We’ll see the river begin to slow as its current is swallowed up by Lake Powell. If the reservoir is high, we’ll get an assist from our “Seldom Seen” motorboat. We’ll finish the trip near the former Hite Marina. A two-hour drive brings us back to Green River. Our expected time of arrival back at our headquarters is between 4:00 and 5:00 p.m.

Hiking Labyrinth Stargazing

This is a sample itinerary, intended to give a general idea of how your trip may go. Each trip will be different depending on weather, the availability of campsites, the interests of the group, and countless other variables. Listed here are only some of the possible hikes or excursions that your trip could include. We invite you to arrive with an open mind and a willingness to embrace Holiday’s motto: “Go with the flow!”


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Holiday River Expeditions
Average rating:  
 2 reviews
 by David and Jill Held

In the several calls I made during the reservation and pre-trip information process, the phone was promptly answered. The staff answering the phone were extremely helpful and answered all my questions.

The tents were great and very easy to set up. It's not fair that this survey only asks if the categories met expectations. Several of the categories far exceeded my expectations. The trip leader and guides were so helpful and knowledgeable of the history and geology of the area. They worked incredibly HARD to make sure everyone was comfortable, well-fed, and taken care of. Everyone in the group was friendly. The addition of a yoga instructor and Tom the astronomer was an added plus to the trip. Tom taught the group so much about the universe in which we live. Need I say the stars at night were phenomenal. A special shout out to Susan, our trip leader, who was a powerhouse in organizing the trip and helping our family ensure we had a great time

 by Ralph Hendricks

We had a few problems with the tent. We had a tent pole failure, which the guides remedied immediately. Also, the zipper on the tent failed (separated in several spots). Due to the slow/low flow of the river, there wasn't much time for hiking. I understand that two additional days are being added for future trips to address the low flow. I would like to give a special thanks to our guides and trip leader. Thank you, Susan! She is very knowledgeable, about geology, history, and surprisingly the stars.

You can't take a Holiday trip and not mention the food. Such great recipes. One had to try everything. The guides also were able to handle tourists with specific eating restrictions.

One unexpected, but appreciated, was the addition of night 'pee' buckets. I am certain they will lead to cleaner campsites. It is hard to make it down to the river in the dark in the middle of the night. I hope they are offered on all Holiday trips.

Again, I want to express my thanks to the guides. As beautiful as the river was it wouldn't have been as special without them. Thank you, thank you, thank you.