Fall Canyonlands National Park Stargazing & Hiking Trip


About This Trip


Enjoy an extended 8-day float on the Green River as it meanders into the confluence of the Colorado River through the mighty  whitewater rapids of Cataract Canyon in the heart of Canyonlands National Park. Hiking enthusiast can look forward to hiking to the Dollhouse, enjoying the depths of Dark Canyon as well as the unforgettable rapid "Cataracts" of Cataract Canyon. Then at night, turn your gaze skyward....

This recently certified “Dark Sky Park” will make the Colorado the perfect backdrop for stargazing. While your days will be spent luxuriating in the sunshine, exploring ancient side-canyons and facing some of the biggest whitewater in North America, your nights will open up a whole new world. Using both binoculars and the naked eye, we will explore the Milky Way, see the Andromeda Galaxy, watch satellites and meteors, and learn constellations.

Trip Overview


Location: Canyonlands National Park
Type: Rafting/ Naturalist 
Length: 7 Days
Date: Sept 28 - Oct 4
Meet At: Green River, UT 8:00 AM
Rating: Intermediate
Age Min: 12
Deposit: $300


  • A whole new side of Cataract Canyon from the Green River
  • A truly immersive experience with 8 days to disconnect
  • Enough time to dig into the depths of the cosmos
  • Unforgettable whitewater

Trip Price & Departure Date


7 Day Trip

$1,645.00 Adult

7 Day Trip Date

Sept 28 - Oct 4, 2019

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This trip, contrary to our traditional Cataract Canyon Trip, will start on the Green River side of the drainage and wind though Stillwater Canyon before reaching the confluence of the Colorado River.  We will then continue through Cataract Canyon and take-out in Glen Canyon National Recreation Area on ‘Lake’ Powell.



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.  This itinerary illustrates our specialty 8-day extended hiking trip in Cataract Canyon.

Day 1:  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. 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 accessories store at this time. We will buckle up for a 1 ½ hour drive to Mineral Bottom, our put-in. The boat ramp is accessed by a steep, switch backed descent down the cliffs to the Green River.  From there we go to Fort Bottom to explore the mysterious ruin atop the mesa, find a suitable camp in the vicinity, and hopefully enjoy our first of many spectacular river sunsets.

Day 2:  We head towards Anderson Bottom and see not only the Anderson Family’s cave dwellings and Ancestral Pueblo rock art, but also delve into the (mostly) non-technical slot canyon there.

Day 3:  This day will be spent in the heart of the Ancestral Pueblo stronghold here.  Numerous dwellings and granaries will be visited at Valentine Bottom. We will see the large rock at Turks Head covered on all sides by strange petroglyphs as we bypass by foot the long meander made by the river here.

Day 4: As the canyon continues to narrow and deepen the hikes become more strenuous, but also lead to breathtaking views from the rim of the canyon.  The hike up Water Canyon is no exception as its narrow trail leads over 800 feet up and out of the canyon. A shorter stop may also be made at Jasper Canyon to see the incredibly intact granary, where the original builder’s fingerprints can still be seen in the mortar.

Day 5:  This day brings an end to the tranquil flat water stretches of Labyrinth and Stillwater Canyons as Cataract Canyon officially begins at the confluence with the mighty Colorado.  There the water flow doubles and the gradient quickly increases. Before we reach the whitewater, however, a difficult but very worthwhile hike to the rim is in order to explore the Dollhouse, an area considered by many to be one of the crown jewels of Canyonlands.  A visit to its huge sandstone sentries and sweeping views of Canyon Country is at the top of many visitors list.

Day 6: Whitewater!  The rapids will increase in frequency and intensity as the day goes on until we reach the infamous Big Drops, where some careful scouting will definitely be in order.

Day 7: After some final rapids we enter another stretch of flat water, which is considered by many guides to be the most spectacular scenery of the trip.  Another hike will be made into the sheer walls of Clearwater Canyon, home to many pools and some great desert riparian ecosystems.

Day 8: As the canyon walls recede from the river we enter what was until recently the waters of Lake Powell (a great spot to discuss Western water issues).  Upon arrival at North Wash “boat ramp” and Mile 100 of our trip we will pack up the boats and head back to Green River. Our expected time of arrival back at our headquarters is 5:00 to 6:00 p.m.

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!


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