Grand Canyon Rafting
  • Reservations: 800-253-7328 or 801-261-1789
  • Telefax: 801-268-1193
  • E-Mail:
  • Post Office Box 57575
  • Salt Lake City, Utah
  • 84157-0575

Cataract Canyon Rafting in Canyonlands National Park

Cataract Canyon, famous for its Big Drop rapids, is located below the dramatic confluence of the Green and Colorado Rivers in the heart of Canyonlands National Park. Riding a bucking raft through Cataract's rapids is exciting, especially early in the summer when the river is high. But this river trip is about more than rapids! It's about seeing Utah's largest and least accessible national park in a very up-close and personal kind of way. It's about being awestruck by the natural beauty of the red rock cliffs during the day and by the grandeur of the star-filled sky at night. It's about following ancient paths to Ancestral-Puebloan granaries and rock art sites, exploring a maze of monolithic rocks and canyons called "The Doll's House", and hiking to breathtaking views.

When Major John Wesley Powell made his exploratory trip down the Green and Colorado Rivers in 1869, one of the main objectives of the expedition was to locate the confluence of the Green and the Grand Rivers, which was then thought to be the source of the Rio Colorado. The area was a huge blank on the maps of the day, and Powell and his men had no idea how far they would have to go, what obstacles they might encounter, or if indeed they would actually find such a juncture. As it turned out, on the 55th day of their journey down the Green River, they came to the confluence. Powell noted that they "eagerly rowed around into the Grand and set up camp on its banks." They remained at this camp several days "for the purpose of determining the latitude and longitude, and the altitude of the walls." Today this significant landmark is located in the middle of Canyonlands National Park. We pass the confluence on every Cataract Canyon expedition and never fail to think of Powell and his small group of explorers who first mapped it and described it to the world.

If you are in the market for a good "all around" river rafting adventure-one that will introduce you to the geology and prehistory of the canyon country; provide you with the opportunity to do a bit of nature study and a lot of hiking and exploring; and one that offers a "short, but sweet" dose of highly challenging whitewater-a Cataract Canyon rafting trip is the river trip for you! We offer Motorized rafting expeditions in the spring and summer, and then switch to rowing trips later on when water levels are more suitable for the smaller rafts.

During our Cataract Canyon river rafting journey, we camp nightly on sandbar beaches, explore ancient ruins, swim in pools and waterfalls, and take several short daily hikes. If time and weather conditions permit, we may also take a longer hike over the Loop or into the Land of Standing Rocks and the Doll's House, where unsurpassed views of Canyonlands National Park and the Colorado River reward our efforts. On many of our trips we have observed sizable herds of desert bighorn sheep. Mule deer, coyotes, ring-tailed cats, and mountain lions also inhabit the area. The scenery of Cataract Canyon and Canyonlands National Park is so spectacular that it defies description. You will want to bring a camera, extra batteries, and plenty of memory space.

Cataract Canyon rafting trips generally launch near scenic Moab, Utah. The journey concludes approximately 100 miles downriver at Hite Marina on Lake Powell. For the first part of the trip, the river is tranquil and relaxing. Then, five miles beyond the confluence of the Green and Colorado Rivers, the two joined rivers make a mad dash through the narrow gorge of Cataract Canyon(so named by Major Powell because of the seemingly endless chain of major rapids his party encountered on their 1869 expedition). For about fifteen to twenty miles, rapids such as Mile Long, Satan's Gut, and Big Drop follow each other in quick succession. Although this segment of rapids is short, it includes some of the best Class III-IV white water on the entire Colorado River.

On the last day of the trip, we once again travel on calm water as the river's current disappears into the warm, blue waters of Lake Powell. As we head for Hite Marina, you will appreciate the chance to lie back, relax, and contemplate the many wonderful and marvelous things you have seen and done during your Canyonlands odyssey. We think it's a pleasant way to end a great river trip.

Cataract Canyon Rafting Dates and Prices

2014 • 20152016

Cataract Canyon
Canyonlands National Park

Colorado River & Green River

Meet in Moab, Utah
The standard transportation package for all Cataract Canyon expeditions includes a scenic charter flight back to Moab at the conclusion of the river trip. The cost of the flight ($120) will be added to your account balance when we confirm your reservation. Other transportation arrangements are possible. Please contact us for more information.
May 11-14, May 18-21, May 25-28, June 1-4, June 8-11, June 15-18, June 22-25, June 29-July 2, July 6-9 $1,200.00
5-Day Rowing July 13-17, July 20-24, July 27-31, Aug. 3-7, Aug. 31-Sept. 4, Sept. 7-11 $1,500.00
10-Day Geology/Hiking May 25-30 -- Rafting & Hiking Expedition -- This special 6-day trip down the Colorado River through Cataract Canyon and Canyonlands National Park allows an extended period of time for off-river hiking and exploration. See the canyon country back areas as you hike side canyons like Lathrop Canyon and Indian Creek and take day hikes into the Dolls House and other remote areas that are accessible from the river. $1,400.00
Explore Canyonlands National Park via the Green and Colorado Rivers, raft the famous whitewater of Cataract Canyon, and enjoy a pre-rafting trip hike in Island in the Sky with geologist, author, and interpreter Wayne Ranney. Includes 3 nights of lodging at the Red Cliff's Lodge and a scenic flight over Canyonlands National Park.
Cataract Canyon Map

Cataract Canyon Rafting Trip Options

Enjoying Indian Creek in Canyonlands National Park from a river trip

NOTE: All of these trips can be combined with a stay at the Red Cliffs Lodge on the banks of the Colorado River, a horesback ride, and a Hummer tour if desired. To find out about the added cost of this option just call our office at (800)253-7328.

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.

5-Day Cataract Canyon Rafting Expedition

Our 5-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.

7-Day Rafting-Hiking-Exploring-Photography

This trip is continually a favorite amongst 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 one of our Alaska Adventures on the Tatshenshini or Alsek. This trip traverses the Green River side of Canyonlands National Park and offers opportunities to hike deep into the Maze District and view the confluence of the Green and Colorado River from the Island in the Sky. This trip originates in Moab and ends with a scenic charter flight over Canyonlands National Park back to Moab.

Learn More About Rafting the Colorado River Through Cataract Canyon

Big Drop 3 whitewater rapid splashes the raft
Snout Rig in the Big Drops

The raft we use most in Cataract Canyon is our 22' Snout Rig. It accommodates 7-9 passengers and provides a great ride in the rapids of Cataract Canyon.

Leyland raft

If the water level of Cataract Canyon gets extremely high we trade in our snout rigs for our bigger Grand Canyon style rafts.

Rowing Big Drop 3

Our 18-foot row rafts accomodate 4-5 passengers plus the guide who rows the boat.

Paddle Raft in Rapids

Our Paddle Rafts hold 6-8 passengers plus a guide who steers the raft.

Indian Creek Waterfall

To many people the off-river hiking is as spectacular as the river corridor itself. We specialize in off-river hiking on all of our river expeditions. We are certain you will see places on our expeditions most river travelers miss.

Demaree Bags

Upon arrival, each participant will be given a large water-proof bag for clothing and personal items. Another water-proof bag will contain your provided sleeping bag, foam Paco Pad, and a large plastic ground tarp. Our water-proof bags are 30 inches high and have a diameter of 14 inches.

Waterproof Dry Box

Each participant will also receive an ammo can. It is always readily accesible during the day and is the best place to keep sunscreen, cameras, notebooks, etc.

The Colorado RIver Kitchen

Our Kitchen includes everything we need to make delicious food. Dutch Ovens, Fire Pans, Propane Stove, Tables, and Drink Coolers. Our boats carry everything we need for the entire trip.

Woman Sitting on Cot on River Trip

Cots are provided for all guests on our "Motorized Rafting" expeditions.

paco Pad

Wiggy's Sleeping Bags

Our sleep kit includes a fresly laundered sleeping bag. Our sleeping bags are made in the USA by Wiggy Inc. Wiggy also makes sleeping bags for the US Airforce.

Tent Photo

We supply tents from Kelty & ALPS, but generally the night sky is so spectacular that most people want to sleep out under the stars.

Camp Chairs

We supply camp chairs on all of our rafting expeditions.

Handwash set-up

A handwash device is set-up at lunch and in camp. It is mandatory for guests to wash hands before meals and after using the bathroom.

Bathroom facility on rafting trip

One of our toilets is always enclosed by a roomy yellow tent. It allows privacy as well as a place to change your clothes.

Toilet Photo

Our specially designed toilet makes the fear of using camp toilets go away. It is the most sanitary and clean toilet ever to be used on an outdoor expedition. It has a fly proof lid and utilizes a special chemical along with specially designed plastic bags that allow it to be set-up clean everyday. It has the ability to hold solid waste as well as urine. Along with the toilet, Lysol and toilet paper are always located inside the tent.

Beautiful Camp Setting in Canyonlands National Park

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.

Our office hours are Monday to Friday 9:00 am to 5:30 pm. We also check for messages over the weekend. Call us at (800) 253-7328

We try to respond to email in a timely fashion, and so if it's more convenient for you to send us a note, just use this link:

Cataract Canyon River Trip Photos

Canyonlands National Park

  • Photography Ancient Hand Prints at Lathrop Canyon
  • Colorado River LunchRiverside Lunch
  • Cataract Canyon Whitewater RaftingWhitewater Rafting in Cataract Canyon
  • Canyonlands OverlookHiking in Canyonlands
  • Flowers Blooming at Little Bridge CanyonNice Campsites
  • Row Raft in Cataract CanyonOar Boat in Cataract Canyon
  • Big Wave in Mile Long RapidMile Long Rapids
  • Big Drop 3 RapidsRunning an Oar Boat Through Big Drop 3 in Low Water
  • Playing Guitar on a Cataract Canyon TripMusic Around the Campfire
  • Yoga on the banks of the Colorado RiverNamaste
  • Motor Rafts at Little Bridge canyonUnloading our Motorized Rafts at Little Bridge Canyon
  • aEveryone Enjoying Dinner Together
  • Hiking on a Canyonlands Rafting TripHiking Off-River on a Cataract Canyon River Trip
  • Cataract Canyon in UtahPlaying in the Colorado River
  • Cataract Canyon Whitewater River TripsThe Thrill of Whitewater
Red Special Offer

Last Minute Westwater Canyon and Cataract Canyon 2014 Special Offer

July and August "RED SPECIAL OFFER," Based on availability
10% Group Discount for 4 or more people traveling together on any of the below trips.
10% Group Discount and 1 Free Trip for 15 or more people traveling together
15% Group Discount and 1 Free Trip for 20 or more people traveling together

To Check Availability Call Now (800) 253-7328 or send us an E-Mail with the subject Red Special Offer:

  • Oar RaftCataract Canyon has exciting rapids all year long.
  • aMany people consider Canyonlands National Park the most beautiful scenery on Earth.
  • Hike In addition to rafting, we specialize in taking off river excursions and hikes to beautiful places you might miss otherwise.
  • 2Our trip are "All-Inclusive" and we supply all of your camping gear including Cots, Sleeping Bags, Tents, Foam Pads, and Waterproof Bags for clothing.
  • Cataract Canyon Big Drop 3Big Drop 3 in Low Water, the red water is from a recent rainstorm.
  • aCataract Canyon is a great way to bring your friends and family together with out distractions.
  • Camp Set-upCanyonlands is rich in archaeology and history.
  • aOur Cataract Canyon trips offer plenty of time for photography, relaxation, and hiking.
  • aThis trip on the Colorado River is great for couples, families, and individuals.
  • hiking in canyonlandsOn our Fall Hiking Emphasis Trips we do even more hiking than during the Summer. We travel deep into the Maze district and explore the Island in the Sky.