Desolation Canyon Youth Rafting Trips


About This Trip


This canyon is the perfect location for Youth Groups, where kids of all ages will enjoy the beauty of colorful canyon walls and natural rock sculptures created by Mother Nature. Many of the rapids on the Green River through Desolation Canyon are perfectly suited for young hands to get in the ‘driver’s’ seat in an inflatable kayak or stand-up paddleboard.  With nearly 60 exhilarating rapids, they will have plenty of time to get into their own unique rhythm with the river.


  • Deeper than the Grand Canyon at the Bright Angel Trail
  • White sandy beaches, shimmering side streams and abundant wildlife
  • 60 easy rolling rapids makes this trip great for kids

Trip Overview


Location: Green River
Type: Rafting
Length: 4 and 5 Days
Dates: May - August
Meet At: Sand Wash boat ramp
Rating: Beginner
Age Min: 5
Deposit: $300

Trip Price & Departure Dates


Up to 50% OFF for Youth Groups of 14 or more.

Please call for pricing 800-624-6323

Mondays May through August

Please call for availability 800-624-6323

Trip Slideshow

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Starting at Sand Wash put-in in the center of the Tavaputs Plateau, this 84 mile white water rafting trip into Desolation Canyon takes us on the ride of a lifetime and we will encounter over 60 rapids! The whitewater builds in intensity each day and finally leads you out of the Plateau at Swasey’s take-out, just north of our Green River headquarters.



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 Desolation and Gray canyons.  In August, we lengthen the Desolation Canyon trip by one day and follow this general itinerary.

Day 1: View a historical marker at head of Desolation Canyon before entering the isolated canyon passing Sumner’s amphitheater with incredible natural acoustics. Camp that night near Jack Creek.

Day 2:  Hike to one or more ancient Fremont cultural sites interspersed with sections of playful whitewater.  Bigger whitewater today includes Steer Ridge and Surprise rapid. Camp in a cottonwood grove or on a mile-long sandbar.

Day 3: Enjoy a tour of abandoned Rock Creek and later McPherson Ranches, where Butch Cassidy's Wild Bunch slept. End your day with the wildest rapid in the canyon, Cow Swim. Born of a recent 2008 flash flood, it marks the former location of historic cattle ford.

Day 4:  Today brings continued whitewater fun with Wire Fence, Three Fords, and Coal Creek rapids. You will also cross over from Desolation to Gray Canyon.

Day 5:  We will run a half dozen more rapids before lunch and then take out near Swasey's beach. We will return you to Green River, Utah (30 minute van ride).  Our expected time of arrival back at our headquarters is 3:00 to 4:00 p.m.

If you are on a 6-day Desolation 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 can expect to see a whole new set of campsites than your 5-day counterparts. Day 1 could leave you near Gold Hole, across from a historic Powell campsite where wild horses often play; night two could find you settling in bellow massive cottonwoods at Cedar Ridge; Day 3 typically brings you back to a more typical camp schedule seeing similar camps to the 2nd day of a 5-day trip.

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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Holiday River Expeditions
Average rating:  
 1 reviews
by Tracy Thompson on Holiday River Expeditions

AMAZING trip... Everything blew our expectations out of the water. Our guides were professional, fun, energetic and inspiring young women. We loved our trip and it was the time of our lives. Thank you Holiday for everything you did to make it one of our best vacations of all time.