Cataract Canyon SUP, Yoga & Stargazing Rafting Trips

The Colorado River through Cataract Canyon traverses one of the most spectacular red rock landscapes in the desert southwest. By day, float through sandstone spires, massive eroded cliffs, and towering buttes. At night, let your eyes tune in to the equally spectacular star-scape, visible in stunning clarity from the bottom of Canyonlands National Park, an International Dark Sky Park.

Cataract Canyon is famous for its whitewater rapids, but the calm water that leads up to the rapids is special in its own way: the easy pace that begins the trip is the perfect antidote to modern life. The first few days in the canyon invite quiet meditation and allow for plenty of solo paddling in inflatable kayaks or on stand-up paddleboards. The flat water lets the suspense build. By the time we reach the rapids, you’ll be deeply in tune with the flow of the river, ready to ride out the big waves and steep drops.

Swim, play, and float your way through the heart of Canyonlands, and learn a little bit about the world around you, whether you’re hiking to see ancient rock art or staring through binoculars at the Andromeda Galaxy.

Want to learn more about these startlingly wonderful trips? Check out our new blog!

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Trip Overview

  • Type:

    Naturalist

  • Location:

    Cataract Canyon - Canyonlands National Park

  • Length:

    6 Days

  • Dates:

    September 14-19

  • Meet at:

    Green River, Utah @ 8:00am

  • Difficulty:

    Intermediate

  • Min. Age:

    8

  • Deposit:

    300

Highlights

  • Float through hard-to-access regions of Canyolands National Park
  • Oar-powered rafts preserve the peace of the river corridor
  • See the Milky Way arcing above the steep canyon walls
  • Easy, calm water for stand-up paddleboards and paddling inflatable kayaks
  • Ride through walls of water down some of the biggest drops in North America
Getting Here Before You Go Packing List

Rates & Dates

6 Day

  • Adult:
  • $1,285
  • Youth:
    18 and under
  • $1,285
  • Senior:
    65 and older
  • $1,285
  • Group:
    10 or more
  • $1,285
Book This Trip
Check Availability
2020
  • September
  • 14-19

Itinerary

Day X

Weather, the interests of our passengers, and available campsites mean that every trip is unique. Here’s a sample itinerary for a possible five-day trip through Cataract Canyon. From August to September, we lengthen the trip by one day.

Pre-trip meeting: Please plan to arrive at our Green River, Utah, headquarters at 8:00 p.m. Mountain Time the night before your trip. We’ll give you your waterproof bags and take care of preliminary business, making it easier to get on the river the next morning. This is a good time to purchase any last minute items at our on-site store (see our packing checklist for a list of items we carry). You may also drop off personal beverages (beer, specialty soda, wine, etc.) for us to pack into our coolers.

Typical Itinerary

Day 1:

Please arrive at the pre-arranged meeting time promptly, with your bags packed and ready to go. We’ll load up into our vans for the 90-minute ride to the Potash boat ramp, not far from the town of Moab. River time starts now! It’s a gentle float below the massive tabletop mesas and buttes of Dead Horse State Park and the Island in the Sky District of Canyonlands. Watch the canyon wall for the rock we call “God’s Golfball”, and go on a short hike to see a remarkably exposed collection of petrified wood.

Day 2:

 Refresh yourself with a swim along the sandy-bottomed river, or start a playful water fight. The river is quiet here. We’ll stop for a hike to a rock art panel, or perhaps scramble up to an overlook beneath the imposing Airport Butte. Camp on a massive sandbar island and enjoy the singularly rare experience of simply watching night fall.

Day 3:

Float silently as we push off into the current this morning. Feel your senses come alive without the distraction of conversation. Look downstream and see who can spot the confluence with the Green River first. Some cultures believe this is the center of the universe. Watch the red and white spires of The Doll House come into view, high above on the right-hand cliff. Camp below the first rapid or just above it.graph

Day 4:

If conditions allow, we may start the day with the steep climb to the rim and into The Doll House, where we’ll find a surreal landscape of standing rocks, fins, and rich desert life. Post-hike, it’s time for rapids! Splash through Baseball Diamond, Upset, and Ben Hurt before arriving at the biggest of them all: the Big Drops. Thirty feet of elevation loss in three-quarters of a mile!

Day 5:

Enjoy one last cup of coffee on the beach before tackling the last few rapids: Imperial, The Chute, Waterhole, and more. The transition between river and reservoir means that the lower rapids are constantly changing. We’re officially in Lake Powell. When the reservoir is low, we’ll row to the take out. When it’s high, we’ll get a motorized assist across the lake from our small “Seldom Seen” motorboat. Take in the last views of the unbelievably tall, smooth walls of the lower canyon before we float under the Hite Narrows Bridge and to the boat ramp. It’s a spectacular two-hour drive back to Green River for a return time of 5:00–6:00 p.m.

Please keep in mind that this is a sample itinerary and not an exact description of your trip. The intent is to give a general idea of what your trip may entail. Rest assured, if you’re not doing these things, it’s because you’re doing other amazing things! It’s why our motto is “Go With the Flow”!

The itinerary for the six-day Cataract Canyon trip is similar, although with changing water levels you may expect to spend an extra day in the upper canyon, or taking your time through the rapids of the lower canyon. 

Reviews

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Holiday River Expeditions
Average rating:  
 8 reviews
by Teresa Solak on Holiday River Expeditions

Had a great time! Loved getting pampered by the guides :-) The Kayak was super fun and absolutely loved the star gazing!! Thanks Tom!!

by Jamie McDermott on Holiday River Expeditions

Amazing! We have many wonderful images from the trip!

by Frederic Gochard on Holiday River Expeditions

We were taken care of by Jesse, Julian and Colin: awesome guides!

by Anne Marie Cantwell on Holiday River Expeditions

A special commendation to the fabulous guides...their knowledge of the area, their skill in handling the boats, their efficiency and expertise with setting up camp, their amazing cooking and food choices, their musical talents and overall charm, wit and humor made for a truly extraordinary and wonder filled experience! Thank you guys, much love and gratitude

by Thomas Klosterman on Holiday River Expeditions

The trip was great, the guides were very good cooks!

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