“The landscape everywhere, away from the river, is of rock — cliffs of rock, tables of rock, plateaus of rock, terraces of rock, crags of rock — ten thousand strangely carved forms, … cathedral shaped buttes, towering hundreds or thousands of feet, cliffs that cannot be scaled, and canyon walls that shrink the river into insignificance, with vast hollow domes and tall pinnacles and shafts set on the verge overhead; and all highly colored.”
John Wesley Powell Exploration of the Colorado River of the West (1875)
Highlights of Cataract Canyon Rafting with Crate, Inc.
- Rafting through the Famous Cataract Canyon Big Drop Rapids
- Spectacular Hiking Opportunities
- Red Rock Scenery and Slickrock Landscapes
- Fascinating Geology
- Brilliant Star-Filled Night Skies
- Awe-Inspiring Sunsets
- Ancestral Puebloan Ruins
- River Running History
- Big Spring Run-offs
Why Take a Rafting Journey Through Canyonlands National Park?
Canyonlands is the kind of place that captures your spirit. Each time you float down the river, hike up a side canyon or sit on a ledge, you give a piece of yourself to the land. Canyonlands National Park is cut by the Green and the Colorado rivers. Below their confluence is one of the most exciting stretches of whitewater rapids on the entire Colorado River, which runs through the Grand Canyon. Cataract Canyon’s rapids become bigger than those of the Grand Canyon during spring run-off. For those who want a less exciting ride, the rapids become much smaller during the lower water levels of the late summer and fall.
Cataract Canyon Rafting Trips
One of the most important discoveries of John Wesley Powell’s 1869 river expedition was the confluence of the Green and Colorado Rivers. Powell camped for multiple nights, taking scientific readings and plotting the longitude and latitude where the two rivers come together. Today, the confluence is still a very powerful place. River runners generally consider the confluence the center of the rafting universe. After all, most of what has been learned about running rivers came directly from the Green and Colorado. And long before Powell traversed the rivers, Native Americans lived in the area. Remnants of their way of life include granaries and rock art.
Cataract Canyon – The Best Way to See Canyonlands National Park
If you’re looking for an all-around river adventure, our Cataract Canyon rafting trip is a great choice for your next vacation. There are many off-river hiking opportunities, the geology is exceptional, the camping is nice, and the scenery is beautiful. In addition, you will have the opportunity to observe wildlife that may include bighorn sheep, mule deer, coyotes, ring-tailed cats, mountain lions, and many different birds.
The Beginning of Your Cataract Canyon Journey
The starting point for our rafting trips in Canyonlands is scenic Moab, Utah. We operate rafting trips on both the Green River side and Colorado River side of Canyonlands National Park. The trips end at Hite Marina on the upper stretches of Lake Powell. You will then conclude with a scenic flight back up the Colorado River and over Canyonlands National Park to the Moab airport.
Where to Find Us in Utah
Colorado River and Trail Expeditions
255 East 1000 North, Green River, Utah 84525
PO Box 57575 Salt Lake City
3-Day Cataract Canyon Rafting Expedition
The focus of our 3-day trip is experiencing the rapids of Cataract Canyon. In addition the trip allows for some off-river hiking and time to relax and enjoy Canyonlands National Park. During most water levels we use are sporty 22-foot motorized rafts. During extremely high water we break out our custom designed 35′ rafts. This trip generally originates in Moab and ends with a scenic charter flight back to Moab.
4-Day Cataract Canyon Rafting Expedition
Our 4-day itinerary allows plenty of time for some great off-river hiking, as well as extended periods of peace and quiet for relaxation and contemplation. During most water levels we use are sporty 22-foot motorized rafts. During extremely high water we break out our custom designed 35′ rafts. This trip generally originates in Moab and ends with a scenic charter flight back to Moab.
In 2016, we have a special 4-Day Cataract Canyon Photography Rafting Trip with Tom Till, June 1-4. Tom is recognized as one of the foremost landscape photographers in the world, and he is the recipient of many honors and awards both for his photography, and for his work with environmental groups and organizations. He is also a good friend of CRATE (and his daughter guides for us!). Moab, Utah, is Tom’s home turf, and although he’s photographed and exhibited all over the world, the place he loves most and knows best is Utah’s red rock canyon country. The dates of the Cataract Canyon photo trip are June 1-4, 2016. The complete photo trip is 12 days and includes 6 days of rafting in Desolation Canyon May 24-29, and two days with Tom in the Moab area May 30-31. Tom is looking forward to hosting a photo tour that will be energetic, adventurous, and exciting, with extraordinary photographic opportunities.
6-Day Cataract Canyon Rafting Expedition
Our 6-day itinerary uses oar rafts, and people powered paddle rafts if requested to navigate the river and rapids. Mid-summer is a great time for this trip as the water has dropped exposing nice sandy beaches and the river has warmed up allowing for swimming and playing in the water. The rapids are still exciting, but not as big as during the high flows in the spring.
8-Day Geology Expedition Through Canyonlands National Park Hosted by Wayne Ranney
This trip is continually a favorite of our guides, who claim if you can only do three rafting trips in a lifetime this should be one of them, along with our Spring Hiking trip in Grand Canyon, and an Alaska rafting adventure on the Tatshenshini or Alsek River. Your host, Wayne Ranney is a wonderful interpreter, geologist, author, and guide. Wayne has a way of explaining the complex geology of Canyonlands so that it is interesting and understandable. Off-river hiking excursions will take you behind the rocks to back country regions of the park that evoke a sense of wonder. You will follow ancient trails that lead to incomparable views of Canyonlands National Park and beyond. Spring cactus blooms and colorful wildflowers are delightful at this time of the year. The trip originates in Moab, Utah, and ends with a scenic charter flight over Canyonlands National Park. Pre- and post-trip lodging are included at beautiful Red Cliffs Lodge on the banks of the Colorado River. Our 2016 trip date is May 15-22. Additional information is available on our Schedule & Rates page, or you may call our office at 1-800-253-7328 to request a detailed flyer about the trip.
12-Day Dory and Music Trip
This traverses the entire greater Canyonlands area in hard shelled Dory boats. The trip follows the course of the Colorado River from Loma, CO through Ruby, Horsethief, Westwater, and Cataract Canyon. The trip ends at the headwaters of Lake Powell. This trip is hosted by famous author, boatman, and storyteller Brad Dimock and Dory boat builder Andy Hutchinson.
Speak With A Cataract Canyon Rafting Expert
We’ve done our best to design a website that is informative and easy to use, but we realize you may still have some questions. If that’s the case, please call our office and get the information you need right away. Our staff is friendly and knowledgeable. They have been on all of the river trips offered by our company and can speak to you from experience. You won’t have to press a sequence of buttons, and there’s even a good chance one of our owners will answer the phone directly and assist you.
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