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.
Learn More About Rafting the Colorado River Through Cataract Canyon
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.
If the water level of Cataract Canyon gets extremely high we trade in our snout rigs for our bigger Grand Canyon style rafts.
Our 18-foot row rafts accomodate 4-5 passengers plus the guide who rows the boat.
Our Paddle Rafts hold 6-8 passengers plus a guide who steers the raft.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Cots are provided for all guests on our "Motorized Rafting" expeditions.
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.
We supply tents from Kelty & ALPS, but generally the night sky is so spectacular that most people want to sleep out under the stars.
We supply camp chairs on all of our rafting expeditions.
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.
One of our toilets is always enclosed by a roomy yellow tent. It allows privacy as well as a place to change your clothes.
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.
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: email@example.com.
Cataract Canyon River Trip Photos
Canyonlands National Park
Raft Cataract Canyon in 2013 Special Offer
Sign up for a Cataract Canyon trip before November 30, 2013 and mention you saw the "RED SPECIAL OFFER," and we will include one night complimentary lodging and dinner ($25.00/person) at the beautiful Red Cliffs Lodge on the banks of the Colorado River in Moab. The complimentary lodging package can arranged before or after your Cataract Canyon rafting trip. This offer is based on double occupancy. While at the ranch you may wish to take a horseback ride, go wine tasting, or just relax by the pool.
To Check Availability Call Now (800) 253-7328 or send us an E-Mail with the subject Red Special Offer: firstname.lastname@example.org