Great Old Broads Stars & Raft – Westwater Canyon

Join us for this special 4-day stargazing and rafting trip through Ruby Horsethief and Westwater canyons in partnership with the Great Old Broads for Wilderness and Moab Astronomy Tours. Spend two days floating idyllically through the calm waters of Ruby Horsethief Canyon, and another two days running the rip-roaring rapids of Westwater Canyon. The best thing about stargazing trips is the fun doesn’t stop when the sun goes down! Join a professional star guide from Moab Astronomy Tours each evening and expand your horizon. Reflect on your place in the universe as you spend the nights looking for stars, listening to ancient constellation stories, or viewing the Milky Way through a telescope. 

In addition to stargazing and rafting, this unique four day trip provides ample time for SUPing, paddling inflatable kayaks, and exploring side canyons. This is your trip – take time to relax on sandy beach camps, swim in the river, or hike to scenic overlooks. Leave the logistics and gourmet meals to the guides as you disconnect from the modern world and kick back, worry-free.

As a Great Old Broads for Wilderness (or just, ‘Broads’) partner trip, you’ll also have the opportunity to engage with a grassroots organization passionate about conservation. Not only will you have the benefit of Holiday’s professional guide team and a star guide from Moab Astronomy Tours, but we’ll also have a Broads leader joining us on this trip to facilitate connection and discussion about the importance of protecting wilderness spaces. Holiday is proud to support grassroots organizations, like the Broads, that help to protect and treasure the wild spaces we recreate in. We donate a portion of the proceeds from this trip to the Broads to fund the work they do to help protect our nation’s public lands.

More about our stargazing and rafting partners:

Great Old Broads

Great Old Broads for Wilderness gives voice to the millions of Americans who strive to protect public lands for future generations. They support women’s leadership and are one of the few public land conservation organizations founded and led by women. Grassroots action is critical to their approach with more than 8,500 members spread across the nation. Broads balance doing serious advocacy work with fun and education.

 

 

Moab Astronomy Tours

Moab Astronomy Tours founded by Crystal White. Crystal has over 19 years of experience as a professional naturalist. Certified as an interpretive guide with the National Association for Interpretation, she is also a Solar System Ambassador with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and has vast experience teaching astronomy, space science, and cultural links to the constellations. Whether you’re on a tour with Crystal, or one of Moab Astronomy Tours’ other amazing guides, Laura and Heidi, you’re guaranteed to spend the night in awe learning about the importance of dark skies, constellations, and more!

 

 

Want to know all the details? Check out Insider’s Guide to Rafting the Colorado River through Westwater Canyon.

We’ve got all the local recommendations if you get into town early: Green River, Utah: Things to Do and Places to Explore

Featured Review:

“The entire experience was amazing and the guides were perfect! They took the time to make sure everyone knew what was going on and that everyone was having fun and being safe too! The food was better than I eat at home and everyone agreed it was the best food they had had on a camping/hiking trip. The guides’ personalities were awesome and they took the time to point out things to make the trip even better than standard and really made the trip memorable! I couldn’t have asked for a better trip.” (Daniel Lederer)

The Núu-agha-tʉvʉ-pʉ̱ (Ute) people have lived on and cared for Westwater Canyon since long before we recreated here. Holiday River Expeditions acknowledges and respects the land and rivers as traditional homeland to the Núu-agha-tʉvʉ-pʉ̱. Read more about our land acknowledgments here.
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Trip Overview

  • Type:

    Naturalist

  • Location:

    Colorado River - Westwater Canyon

  • Length:

    4

  • Dates:

    Sept 18-21, 2023

  • Meet at:

    Green River, Utah @ 8:00 am

  • Difficulty:

    Intermediate

  • Min. Age:

    14

  • Deposit:

    400

Highlights

  • Exciting Class III & IV whitewater rapids through the narrowest part of the Colorado River
  • Calm water to practice paddling on SUPS and inflatable kayaks
  • Professional dark sky guide to provide nightly stargazing tours
  • See bighorn, birds of prey, & otters
Getting Here Before You Go Packing List FAQs

Rates & Dates

4 Day

  • Adult:
  • $1400
  • Youth:
    18 and under
  • $1400
  • Senior:
    65 and older
  • $1400
  • Group:
    10 or more
  • $1400
Book This Trip
Check Availability
2023
  • Sept 18-21

Itinerary

Just west of the Colorado National Monument in southwest Colorado, the Colorado River snakes its way towards Utah. We’ll begin our rafting trip in Loma, Colorado where we’ll quickly watch the pink and orange sandstone walls of Ruby Horsethief Canyon enclose around us. Before you know it, we’ll experience a dramatic geologic, and color, shift as we enter the black schist of Westwater Canyon. The trip ends in the artistic ghost-town of Cisco, Utah.

Sample Itinerary

Day 1:

Meet at our headquarters in Green River, Utah at 8:00 a.m., Mountain Time. We’ll hand out waterproof bags and show you how to pack them. You’ll have time to pack your waterproof bags and purchase last minute items from our warehouse store (see our packing checklist for a list of items we stock). Once all the bags are packed and loaded, we’ll jump into the vans and drive east for about two hours until we reach the put in. Watch as your guides deftly slide the rafts into the water and go about preparing the boats. Watch the smooth sandstone walls rise up around us as we officially enter Horsethief Canyon. We may stop to hike Rattlesnake Canyon, where you’ll see dramatic arches and desert plants. Once we reach camp, marvel as we unload the boats to create a kitchen and living room space for you! From camp, you’ll have the opportunity to explore and hike up the canyon, or stay cool near the river. After dinner, listen to our star guide orient you to our place in galaxy and watch for the first star you see.

Day 2:

Wake up to the sound of the river flowing, canyon wrens singing, and your guides serving hot coffee and tea. As you watch the sun creep down the canyon walls, you may even catch a glimpse of a bald eagle or a hawk! Today brings more calm water to practice your balance on the SUP, learn to paddle an inflatable kayak (affectionally called “ducky”), or just lie back and relax on the rafts. Watch as we float from Horsethief Canyon into Ruby Canyon. After lunch, we’ll go through a couple small riffles before winding into the Black Rocks – 1.7 billion year old vishnu schist that emerges at river level to create an other worldly backdrop. We’ll set up camp, and have time to ducky or SUP around the black rocks, hike to the canyon rim, or meander into Moore Canyon. As night falls, join us in the camp circle to hear ancient constellation stories.

Day 3:

After another delicious breakfast, we’ll enjoy a peaceful morning of floating before reaching the Westwater Ranger Station. Keep your eyes peeled for wildlife, and for the Utah-Colorado border as we drift back into Utah! Notice how quickly the canyon closes in around us and watch as the black rocks of Westwater emerge. This afternoon, the rapids get a bit bigger – which brings more excitement for those in the inflatable kayaks! We may hike Little Hole to see a large, natural amphitheater before arriving to our final campsite of the trip, right in the heart of Westwater Canyon. After dinner, peer through a telescope to see a giant star cluster, or perhaps a planet!

Day 4:

By now you’re an expert at river life! This morning will be a bit more leisurely as the guides rig the boats for the biggest rapids of the trip. The guides will review rapid safety, and then we’re off. After a few splashy warm up rapids, we’re in the thick of the Westwater rapids! We’ll pass through Skull Rapid – the canyon’s greatest drop and the narrowest section of the Colorado. A clean run through Skull is quickly celebrated, but it’s not over yet! More exciting rapids await us downstream. As the rapids come to an end, the black rock slinks back below the Earth and the canyon walls drop. Take advantage of your last few hours on the water by soaking up the sun or swimming alongside the rafts. We’ll have one final river lunch and aim to be at the take out around 2:00pm. Once we’ve loaded the boats, we’ll climb back into the vans and come full circle, back to our Green River warehouse between 4:00 and 5:00pm.

As mentioned earlier, this is a sample itinerary and may or may not reflect the exact trip schedule you’ll be on. It is intended to give an idea of what the trip will be like. Flexibility and going with the flow will ensure you get the most enjoyment from your trip!

Keep an open mind, be flexible, go with the flow, and enjoy!

Westwater canyon girls duckying

River trips allow for maximum flexibility from day to day. No two trips are the same due to assigned campsites, group requests, weather, and any other unpredictable circumstances. That’s why we say we’re on an expedition and encourage you to go with the flow!

 

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Holiday River Expeditions
Average rating:  
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 by Debra Galbraith

Awe Inspiring/Thank you!