A powerful, delicate river
A low water Westwater Canyon trip is a pleasant surprise. The Colorado River has many personalities: In it’s 1,450 mile course it cuts through all kinds of rock, from alpine granite to desert sandstone. Sometimes the Colorado can feel like a lazy, humble flow of muddy water, while at other times it can feel like an angry god, thrashing around boulders and people alike in its whitewater torrents. The Colorado has carved some of the world’s most magnificent wonders, and yet, at its core, it is just a collection of tiny springs and snowmelt creeks that have joined together.
In short, the Colorado is both powerful and delicate. This is a fact that our Holiday team must always be cognizant of, as both our lives and livelihoods depend on this river’s flow. If we are careless on our boats, the river can eat us up. But, if we are careless as a species (which we sometimes have been), we can destroy the ancient balance of the Colorado’s ecosystem.
It’s no secret that this has been a bad year for snowmelt, and it’s no secret that this lines up with a general trend towards warmer, dryer winters and hotter summers. While we’ve been doing what we can as a company to address the meta-issue of climate change, we’ve also been busy adapting our trips so that they are as exciting and impactful as ever before.
Going with the flow
When the flow changes, so do we. We’re focusing our trips in those parts of the Colorado (and the Green), where even a low-water year can provide some serious, world-class rapids and a wild, fun trip for you and your family. One of these places is Westwater Canyon.
Westwater Canyon is actually one of the few river sections that actually gets BETTER when waters are on the lower side. While we do run Westwater in high water, the rapids can get swallowed up under the rushing current. When things are a bit lower, like this year, the rapids really come out to play.
Westwater’s rapids are nothing to scoff at: “Funnel” “Scull” and “Bowling-Alley” are just some of the names. Our very own Dee Holladay even had the honor of bestowing one of the rapids the name “Sock-It-To-Me” after it gave him a good crushing blow to his bow.
These rapids come right after you pass through Westwater’s tight corridor of craggy, magnificent black schist rock. It’s like a 1.7 billion year-old art gallery passing by you on either side. If you’d like a little taste of just how lively and untamed this part of the river is, check out this top-shelf production by National Geographic about a trip we did several years ago.
It’s not just the rapids that make Westwater special. In this canyon you can also find some incredible architectural ruins left behind by the Fremont people. You can see Holiday’s pioneering conservation efforts at work. If you are a real keen observer, you might see a few nesting bald eagles along the stoic, red cliffs!
How you can experience Westwater (It’s easier, and cheaper, than you might think)
Our Westwater trips pack all of that and more into a weekend (2-3 day trip options)! And it won’t break the bank either.
If a weekend of whitewater rapids, standup paddleboarding, excellent wildlife, and camping under the stars sounds like an enticing summer treat, then check out this list of upcoming Westwater trips!
Aug 4-6 3-day Colorado River through Westwater Canyon – 10 seats
Aug 7-9 3-day Colorado River through Westwater Canyon – 6 seats
Aug 21-23 3-day Colorado River through Westwater Canyon – 9 seats
Sept 4-6 3-day Colorado River through Westwater Canyon – 5 seats
Sept 11-13 3-day Colorado River through Westwater Canyon – 6 seats
Small Private Trips
Enjoy a private Westwater Canyon trip with as few as 12 people!
You get the discounted “group rate”. $630 + $16 BLM fee each.
- Aug 18-20, 21-23
- Aug 25-27, 28-30
- Sept 18-20, 25-27
Easton Smith is a Local Wasatch Front resident and writer. He spends his time community organizing, rock-climbing and playin’ some mean banjo. For more writing from Easton, check out his organizing collective’s blog “Brine Waves” here or stay tuned for future loggings in River Currents.