Cataract Canyon Whitewater Rafting

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Colorado River Rafting, Cataract Canyon – About This Trip

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Colorado River Rafting through Cataract Canyon has become synonymous with adventure. Buried in the heart of Utah’s Canyonlands National Park the mighty Colorado River cuts through red rock and creates awesome 'cataract' rapids. Our rafts carry you to side canyon grotto’s, waterfalls and ancient Pueblo ruins that are otherwise inaccessible in the park. On this whitewater river rafting vacation we see the most vivid contrast between serene tranquility and all-out high adventure.

During the first segment of this Colorado River Rafting the fast-moving current slides us quietly past brilliantly colored cliffs and towering table-top mesas. Here the river conditions both body and soul, giving you time to prepare yourself for the behemoth whitewater rapids awaiting below the confluence of the Green and Colorado rivers.

Nowhere on its entire course does the Colorado River descend more precipitously than through Cataract Canyon. On night three of our river rafting adventure, the Colorado River will not rest. The roar of the cataracts will lull you to sleep, dance in your dreams, only to awaken you the next morning with a new song. Time to batten down the hatches and hold on because this is Cataract Canyon whitewater rafting at its best. Twenty-three BIG ONES, among them Mile Long, Ben Hurt and the grand-daddy of them all, The Big Drops, which is a succession of three heavy-hitters that will leave you laughing and cheering. We move 30 feet closer to sea level in less than a mile.

Trip Overview

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Location: Colorado River
Canyonlands National Park
Type: Rafting
Length: 5-6 Days
Dates: May - September
Meet At: Green River, Utah 8:00 am
Rating: Intermediate, Advanced
Age Min: 16 (June), 8 (July and August)
Deposit: $300

Highlights

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  • Picturesque sandy beaches
  • Classic red-rock canyons
  • Abundant and diverse hikes
  • River thunder and thrilling whitewater

Trip Price & Departure Dates

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5-Day
Adult - $1,150
Youth/ Group/ Senior - $1,010
(18 & under) (10 or more) (65 & older)

6-Day
Adult - $1,225
Youth/ Group/ Senior - $1,075
(18 & under) (10 or more) (65 & older)

5 Day Trip Dates

May 7, 14, 21, 28
June 4, 11, 18, 25
July 2, 9, 16

6 Day Trip Dates

July 23, 30
August 6, 13, 20, 27
September 2, 9

Trip Slideshow

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Full Gallery

Map

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The Colorado River through Cataract Canyon runs just downstream of Moab UT and into the heart of Canyonlands National Park.  After all the rapids you can handle the river enters Glen Canyon National Rec. Area where we take out below the confluence of the Dirty Devil.

Itinerary

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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 typical itinerary illustrates a five-day trip through Cataract Canyon.  From August to September, we lengthen the Cataract trip by one day and follow this general itinerary.

Day 1: 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 (see our packing checklist for a list of items you can find at our store).  We will then take a 90-minute van ride to the embarkation point, where we will transfer to the boats.  After pushing off we will float past a collection of tabletop mesas. Short hikes could reveal a variety of ancient artifacts or a petrified forest.

Day 2:  The River peacefully meanders into the heart of Canyonlands National Park.  Quiet beaches, hidden canyons, and refreshing water fights are common throughout this section of the trip.

Day 3:  We reach the confluence of the Colorado and Green Rivers.  The Ute Indians believe the Confluence to be the center of the universe.  Just below the meeting of these two rivers enjoy a view of the Doll House, an appropriately named collection of freestanding, sandstone columns.

Day 4: Possible early morning hike into Dollhouse.  Ascend steeply to the canyon rim in the Maze District with red rock formations.  After descending to the river, the rapids of Cataract Canyon await. The climax: Big Drop Rapids with Little Niagara and Satan's Gut.

Day 5: Begin the journey through majestic Glen Canyon and the former high-water mark for “Lake” Powell.  Aided by motorboat “Hayduke” during higher lake levels, you’ll finish the trip at Hite Take-out. A two-hour drive brings you back to Green River. Our expected time of arrival back at our headquarters is 5:00 to 6:00 p.m.

If you are on a 6 day Cataract Canyon trip, you can expect a similar itinerary to this 5-day.  However with lower late-season river flows and an extra day to play, you may take some extra time in the upper canyon exploring artifacts or side-canyons and reach the confluence sometime on the 4th day.  You may dive into some whitewater on day 4 but likely will spend the 4th night nestled between mighty rapids in the heart of Cataract Canyon. On Day 5 you would then run out the “Big Drops” and the rapids below Lake Powell’s historic high-water mark. This 6 day trip will finish much like its earlier season counterpart, exploring the upper reaches of Narrow Canyon and the boat-ramp back to the ‘real’ world.

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!

Reviews

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by Eric Hubert on Holiday River Expeditions

Food was excellent. Hikes were informative and beautiful scenery. This is better than an all inclusive resort! There are no lines, no crowds and better than any theme park. Nature is fantastic.

by Derrick Kinglsey on Holiday River Expeditions

Your staff was phenomenal with the arrangements, payment, and information. Awesome job all around! Bryn and Julian were great guides on the hikes. Very knowledgeable! This was one of the "bucket list" items, but was able to share with 2 of my closest friends from college. So glad we were able to share in the experience. Great times and I definitely plan to bring my kids for an expedition when they are older.

by Martha Mastroberti on Holiday River Expeditions

Very comfortable van, fabulous guides (Brinn and Rocky) and delicious food. The guides make or break a trip like this. They were very skilled, good natured, personable and always happy to help with anything. We would take another trip with Rocky and Brinn anytime!

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