Top 10 Whitewater Rafting Destinations in the US and Different Whitewater Classes

River Rafting is one of the most adventurous and thrilling water sport activities.   Rapids and sections of whitewater are rated based on their difficulty to navigate.

Colorado River and Trail Expeditions has prepared a very informative Infographic titled ‘Colorado River and Grand Canyon River Rafting’. This has two sections.

The first section demonstrates different type of rapids based on their difficulty levels as per International Scale of River Difficulty. The rapids range from Class I – VI and have waves, rocks and other obstacles.

The second section demonstrates top 10 whitewater rafting destinations in the US and their difficulty levels.  In this chart the Grand Canyon is ranked as the best destination for whitewater rafting.

Top 10 Whitewater Rafting Destinations.

Top 10 Whitewater Rafting Destinations.

 


Colorado River & Trail Expeditions Receives Second Tripadvisor Certificate of Excellence

Certificate of Excellence 2013

Colorado River & Trail Expeditions has been honored with this award for 2013

Colorado River & Trail Expeditions has been awarded a 2013 Certificate of Excellence from Tripadvisor.com for its rafting trips.  This is the second straight year C.R.A.T.E.  has received this accolade, which honors hospitality excellence.  This accolade is only given to tour companies that consistently achieve outstanding reviews on Tripadvisor from their guests.  Only about 10% of those companies and organizations listed with Tripadvisor.com receive this prestigious award.

In order to qualify for this award CRATE had to maintain an almost perfect rating as reviewed by travelers.  Additional criteria included the volume of reviews received during the past 12 months.

CRATE is honored to be rated so highly by their guests and is grateful for all of its wonderful employees who put together such wonderful trips.

 

 

 


RaftGrandCanyon.com a great information website for Grand Canyon Rafting

Raft Grand Canyon

RaftGrandCanyon.com is a great information site for planning a Grand Canyon rafting trip.

The website RaftGrandCanyon.com is a great information tool to use to plan a Grand Canyon rafting expedition.  The site has information about the different type of boats, the different river sections of the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon, and a timeline of events in the Grand Canyon.  In addition the website contains information about the early river runners and advice about what time of year to raft the Grand Canyon.  Colorado River & Trail Expeditions who has been under original ownership for over 40 years believes this is the best Grand Canyon information site on the web for those who don’t know a lot about rafting the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon.

There are all kinds of different boats used in the Grand Canyon.  There are motorized rafts, oar rafts, paddle boats, kayaks, and dories.  The website shows photos of the different boats and explains the advantages of each craft.

When doing a grand canyon rafting tour there are always choices to be made concerning how many days guests want to spend on the river and if guests want to do a complete trip or just a partial trip.  The website explains about the options available and what you will see.

RaftGrandCanyon.com also has a timeline of events in the Grand Canyon and a brief summary about the early rafters and explorers in the Grand Canyon.  Do you want to know about John Wesley Powell, how about when Grand Canyon was declared a National Park, or which president enlarged it to its present size.  This website contains a plethora of Grand Canyon information.

When planning a trip to the Grand Canyon a common question is which month is the best time to raft the Grand Canyon.  The RaftGrandCanyon.com website has an entire page devoted to this question and points out the positives and negatives of each Spring, Summer, and Fall month.

If you are planning a commercial rafting trip, a private rafting trip, or just looking for some information about the Grand Canyon.  Make sure to take a look at RaftGrandCanyon.com.


10 Interesting Facts about the Grand Canyon

The Grand Canyon, one of the most fascinating and intriguing natural wonders of the world has always attracted tourists from the farthest corners of the world. The raging waters, treacherous ravines, gargantuan cliffs and an enviable flora and fauna of the exquisite wilderness make the Grand Canyon one of the most sought out natural wonders. And it is not only the Grand Canyon white water rafting that attracts tourists to this magnificent natural wonder. The Grand Canyon region offers a host of activities for every tourist. Apart from a thrilling Colorado River rafting experience, when in the Grand Canyon, you can indulge in activities such as trekking, walking, bird watching, cycling, photo shoots, camping, hiking, visiting the museums and simply marveling the scenic beauty that the region possesses.

 

So you think you know the Grand Canyon? Here are some interesting facts about the Grand Canyon that will make your trip even more remarkable –

  • Scientific research suggests that Grand Canyon took around 3-6 million years to formed.
  • It was carved owing to the erosion caused by the Colorado River.
  • The Grand Canyon was discovered by Garcia Lopez de Cárdenas in 1540.
  • There are around 90 species of mammals, 250–300 species of birds, and 25 species of reptiles that live in the Grand Canyon.
  • As the North Rim is higher in elevation than the South Rim, the climate there is cooler. Owing to the unpredictability of the climate and possibility of snowfall, the North Rim is open to tourists only during the early fall, late spring and summers.
  • An estimated 5 million people visit the Grand Canyon National Park annually.
  • For Pueblo Indians, the Grand Canyon is a holy site with various spiritual connotations.
  • The Grand Canyon is the second deepest canyon in the world, the first being Yarlung Tsangpo Grand Canyon in Tibet. The Grand Canyon’s average depth is approximately 1 mile.
  • The Grand Canyon floor contains fossil footprints of more than 20 species of amphibians and reptiles. Even though, no fossilized reptile teeth or bones have yet been uncovered.
  • The Grand Canyon has remained a popular movie shooting location with famous movies such as Into the Wild, Transformers, The Thief of Baghdad and Due Date, among others, shot here.
Rafting the Grand Canyon is a Must!!

Rafting the Grand Canyon is a Must!!

 

The Grand Canyon is a perfect place for a fun-filled vacation. Select the best Grand Canyon tours provider and immerse yourself in the magnificence of this mystifying natural paradise.


Studying Elusive Mountain Lions at Grand Canyon

This article was recently published in the Grand Canyon Association magazine, “Canyon Views,” Vol. 20, No. 2, Spring 2013.

Although you can see many wildlife species at Grand Canyon, from small Abert’s squirrels to plentiful elk, some are more elusive. With patience and a trained eye you might catch a glimpse of a bighorn sheep scrambling up a cliff or a condor flying overhead. It’s rare to see a mountain lion, however. And that’s one of the reasons park wildlife biologist Brandon Holton finds them so intriguing.

“I love getting into the mind of a mountain lion and trying to figure out why are they going where they go,” he says. “It’s almost like being a CSI investigator.”

The mountain lion (Puma concolor), also known as the puma, cougar, panther or catamount, is a large cat whose habitat ranges from the Canadian Yukon to the Southern Andes of South America. Up until 10 years ago, little was known about these animals at Grand Canyon. Then, in 2003, the National Park Service began a biological study of mountain lions to uncover their habitat and behavior, how they impact park resources and whether they are a danger to humans. In 2008, Brandon took over the program. Since then, he and his team have put GPS collars on 32 cats – 22 on the South Rim and 10 on the North Rim – and typically track five animals at a time.

The most revealing places to study mountain lions are where they take down and feed on their prey – locations called kill sites. “It’s interesting to do kill site investigations and to recreate them,” says Brandon. “Why are they using a certain habitat? Where did they stalk the animal? Where was the ambush, and what was the struggle? I see all different types of burials, drags and day beds.”

Typically, males eat as quickly as possible and move on, spending one to five days at a site, depending on the season. Females will stay on longer, generally until the carcass is picked clean, especially when they are caring for older cubs. And yet one time. Brandon tracked a younger male who killed a bull elk and sat on it for 20 days. He had observed this mountain lion as a younger cat, and over time watched as the cat got bigger and bigger.

“When he was about three and a half, I walked in on him. He was 30 feet from me, and he had just gotten off a kill. He had to have known I was there, but he couldn’t have cared less. He just rolled onto his back, and his stomach was just so distended. This is not typical behavior when humans are nearby.”

Another cat, a female that was collared in July 2011, also exhibited atypical behavior. She dropped into the inner canyon in November and didn’t come out until April. She was mainly feeding on bighorn sheep and some mule deer. The female crossed the river four different times, always just below Turquoise Rapid. “Thus far, almost all of the collared cats remained on the rim year-around and rarely visited the deep inner canyon,” says Brandon, “but there could be more occurrences like this that we’re not tracking.” This uncommon behavior is one of the reasons the park is studying these powerful and solitary animals.

Mountain lions in Grand Canyon, especially males, typically have a very broad home range – about 150 square miles. Grand Canyon lion studies are run jointly between the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and Grand Canyon National Park Service (NPS) to increase sample sizes, distribute study costs and allow researchers to look at mountain lion ecology on a larger landscape scale. The lions roam far beyond the park’s borders; almost every collared mountain lion has used surrounding U.S. Forest Service land as much as, if not more than, the park itself. For example, two subadult males in the study dispersed south from Grand Canyon to the Flagstaff area.

Humans have virtually no reason to fear mountain lions. These cats avoid humans because they don’t see us as prey. We, however, can be very dangerous to them: 60 percent of collared mountain lion deaths are are due to hunting outside the park, and the second most common cause of death is being hit by a car, especially on East Rim Drive. Mountain lions cross the road, which parallels the rim, to set up their beds for the day. Their deaths could be greatly reduced if only people watched for animals and used caution when driving in the park.

In recent years, the joint NPS/USGS research program has begun to study predator-prey relationships, particularly interactions between desert bighorn sheep and mountain lions. As more is revealed about Grand Canyon’s largest wild predator, the ecosystem as whole can be better understood and protected.

One interesting result of Brandon’s study has been the contrast in behavior between South and North Rim mountain lions. The following data reflects what his team has learned from the mountain lions they have collared.

SOUTH RIM
Prey: 65% elk, 30% mule deer
Age: 2-1/2 years old
Range: South Rim cats rarely go into the inner canyon = 95% of collared cats have stayed on the rim.

NORTH RIM
Prey: 95% mule deer (there are no elk on the North Rim)
Age: 2-6 years old
Range: North Rim cats have gone into the canyon more often than South Rim cats to hunt desert bighorn sheep, especially during winter when the mule deer on the North Rim disperse to lower elevations.


Chicken Salad Recipe

Over the years, we’ve had many compliments and questions about the meals we prepare on our river trips.  We thought we would share a recipe with those of you who would like to try preparing one of more popular lunches at home.

Chicken Salad Wraps (Serves approx. 5)

– 2-3 Cans (7.5 oz) Canned Chicken- 2 Cups Celery
– 1-2 Tomatoes
– 1 Cucumber
– 1 Red Onion
– 2 Cups Red Grapes
– 1 Cup Whole Cashews
– 1 Head of Romaine or Iceberg Lettuce
– Mayonnaise
-1 Package of Tortillas

Open/drain the Canned Chicken and add to a large bowl.  Dice Celery, Tomatoes, Cucumber and Red Onion and add to the bowl.  Shred the Lettuce and add to the bowl.  Add Red Grapes (can be whole or sliced in half) and Cashews.  Add enough Mayonnaise to get the consistency you want and mix all the ingredients together.

Serve in a tortilla and enjoy!

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Spring in Canyonlands Rafting, Hiking, and Geology with Wayne Ranney a GREAT SUCCESS!!

Colorado River & Trail Expeditions April 27-May 6, 2013 Spring in Canyonlands Trips was hosted by geologist and author Wayne Ranney.  The trip included 6 nights camping on the banks of the Green and Colorado Rivers in Stillwater and Cataract Canyon.  In addition 3 nights were spent at Red Cliff’s Lodge on the banks of the Colorado River above Moab.  Everyone arrived at Red Cliff’s Lodge the evening of April 27.  On April 28 Wayne led a land based tour around the Island in the Sky district of Canyonlands National Park.  Stops included Upheavel Dome and the Canyonland’s overlook of the Turk’s Head.  The tour came back to Moab via the Shafer Trail.

The next day, after a quick suburban ride to the Moab airport everyone was loaded onto planes for a 10 minute flight into the bottom of Stillwater Canyon.  The flight was spectacular in every sense.  The Plane flew down Hell Roaring Canyon most of the time under the rim of the plateau.  Then the plane made a sharp left turn following the Green River to the Mineral Bottom airstrip.  The plane landed on a weed covered dirt runway and we had to turn the plane around manually so it would be able to take off.  The rafts had come down from Green River, Utah about a 70 mile trip to meet the group at Mineral Bottom.  After a quick orientation everyone was loaded onto the rafts and the adventure began.  Shortly after we left ,Wayne was pointing out the incredible geology of Canyonlands National Park.  After a deli lunch on a sandbar we hiked to the hill top ruin at Fort Bottom.

Metoposaurus-An amphibian that lived 220 million years ago

Metoposaurus-An amphibian that lived 220 million years ago

On the way up to the ruins we saw fossilized scutes left behind by Metoposaurusan amphibian that lived during the Triassic Period over 220 million years ago.  These amphibians have been measured up to 10 feet in length.  We also saw petrified wood and checked out the old “Outlaw Cabin” in addition to just taking in the incredible view.  Camp was set up at the beach below Fort Bottom and Outlaw tales about Butch Cassidy were spun around the campfire.

 

 

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Fort Bottom Hilltop Ruin

The second day of the river trip started with a geology presentation from Wayne about the younger rock layers of Canyonlands including the Navajo, Wingate, Chinle, and Moenkopi Formations.  We also were able to check out the Geological Map of Canylonlands National Park and get a bering on exactly where we were in the Colorado Plateau.  On the river stops were made at the rincon and abandoned river channel of Anderson Bottom, the Turk’s Head, for looking at ancestral puebloan granaries and checking out the chert knapping sites used by the ancestral puebloans to craft arrow heads and other tools, and Lunch.  Camp was set up just below Horse Canyon which is 37 miles below Mineral Bottom.  During the night we had a big windstorm and enough rain to set up tents for.  You know it is a great trip when everyone is laughing and telling jokes at one in the morning during a 60 mile an hour windstorm with rain in April.

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View Looking Upstream From Above Stovepipe Camp

Our third day on the river trip took us just 8 miles down river to the Stove Pipe trail and hike.  We set up camp early and ate lunch,  then we hiked up the stove pipe trail about 1300 vertical feet and a couple of miles to an incredible view of the Maze and Needles Districts of Canyonlands from the Island in the Sky.  After checking out the landscape we continued to an amazing double arch in the Cedar Mesa Sandstone.  After hiking to the arch we checked out an old burned down Cabin and peered straight down to our camp on the banks of the Green River.  After the hike everyone went for a swim in the River to wash and cool off.  That evening we had a great dinner followed by a night of SMORE cooking perfections.

 

An incredible journey to an amazing destination.

An incredible journey to an amazing destination.

The morning of the 4th day of the river trip we started with a great lecture from Wayne and then headed down to the Green’s Confluence with the might Colorado.  To river runners this is considered the center of the universe, because most river running started on these two rivers.  At the confluence we were able to locate a couple of really cool inscriptions.  One was an inscription from Stanton’s railroad survery in 1889 another was an inscription from the United States Reclamation Service who was looking to build a dam at the confluence in 1914.  Lucky for us neither of these projects ever were completed.  After Lunch we headed down to sign up for our camps for the next few nights in Cataract Canyon.  Lucky for us Brown Betty, which is probably the best camp in Cataract Canyon was open for a layover day.  We signed up for two nights at Brown Betty and one night below the big drop rapids at Gypsum Canyon where we could search for the Paradox Formation.  Wayne gave another great geology lecture about the Paradox Formation and Cataract Canyon.

Learning about Cataract Canyon, Grabens, Salt Valleys, and the Paradox Formation

Learning about Cataract Canyon, Grabens, Salt Valleys, and the Paradox Formation

Day 5 of our river trip was spent hiking into the Doll’s House of the Maze District.  Once again we hiked up about 1300 vertical feet from the river.  From the Doll’s house we had an incredible view of the Island in the Sky and the Needles, but the view in front of us was even more spectacular.  We took a leisurely loop hike through the spires, narrows, and wildflowers of the Doll’s House.  Lunch was spent on a rock overlooking a Graben where the salt left behind by over 60 ocean episodes had flowed into the vacancy of space left by the river cutting Cataract Canyon leading to a huge slump of land sliding into Cataract Canyon and leaving a “surprise valley” below us.  We then hiked back to our fabulous camp and enjoyed a perfect starry night.

Day 6 it was all about Cataract Canyon whitewater rafting.  we ran rapids 2-14 and then stopped at Capsize Rapid to check out the old inscriptions left by the Stanton Expedition and Best Expedition of 1891 that spent 7 days trying to rescue a boat pinned against one of the many rocks in the rapid.   After Capsize we stopped for lunch and then ran in quick succession Ben Hurt, Big Drop 1, Big Drop 2, and Big Drop 3 as well as the remaining rapids.  Camp was set up at Gypsum Canyon and most of the group did a hike up Gypsum where we did find the Paradox Formation.

The last day of the trip was spent motoring through the lower parts of Cataract Canyon. The trip ended at North Wash just past the Dirty Devil.  After unloading the boats everyone flew back to the Moab airport where a shuttle took everyone back to Red Cliff’s Lodge for a Banquet Dinner.  The trip was incredible and the people were some of the best you could ever hope to meet.


Cataract Canyon Photography River Trip Hosted by Tom Till

tomTillSpecial Photography River Trip Hosted by Tom Till, July 29-August 4, 2013

Colorado River Cataract Canyon, Canyonlands National Park

We are excited to announce this special on-river photography workshop with Tom Till.  Tom has lived in Moab, Utah, and has been exploring and photographing the surrounding red rock canyon country for 40 years.  Sharing Tom’s enthusiasm and expertise in his “own backyard,” is a rare opportunity.  The trip is limited to 12 participants to ensure that Tom is able to provide some one-on-one instruction to each person.  Don’t wait too long to make your reservation if you want to photograph Utah’s beautiful Canyonlands with one of the best and nicest photo pros in the business, reserve your place today.

If you have any questions or would like more details about the 2013 Photography Rafting Expeditions hosted by Tom Till, please contact our office at 1-800-253-7328 or crate@crateinc.com.  Additionally, our current brochure includes descriptive information about Cataract Canyon rafting.

About Tom Tom has a degree in education from Iowa State University and was a professional teacher for eight years.  His forty years of exploring the Canyon Country and the world with his camera, and his 32 years as a professional photographer make him uniquely qualified as a workshop instructor and tour leader.  Tom is also an experienced river runner.  He is approachable, eager to share his knowledge, and patient and encouraging with his fellow photographers.  He believes everyone has a unique vision of the world that better photography can reveal.  Proficient with 4×5 medium format, and 35mm cameras, Tom is up-to-date with the latest technology and film and digital cameras.  Visit Tom’s website at www.tomtillphotography.com

Tom’s traveling exhibit of UNESCO World Heritage Sites, sponsored by the UN and U.S. State Department is in its third year of crisscrossing the world.  Tom recently received an award for his work with the Nature Conservancy, the second from that organization he has earned.


Colorado River Rafting: An Amalgamation of Real Adventure and Thrill

Adventure and thrill are not just two words to explain the excitement of the recreation outdoor sport – rafting. They are specific reasons for which millions of professional as well as novice rafters, tourists and water sport lovers of all sizes and types visit great rivers of the world every year. When it comes to living rafting moments ceaselessly and openly, Colorado River rafting outshines all other rivers of the world with its free-flowing, untamed and boisterous water. Rafting on the Colorado River makes people feel energetic and refreshed, shedding their monotony and boredom of everyday life.

The gigantic and colossal river is fairly called the “granddaddy” of rafting trips owing to its dramatic canyons and whitewater rapids that induce adventure in the heart of rafters. Being one of the seven natural wonders of the world, the river entices millions of people across the world to taste all ten grades of difficulty in whitewater rafting within its youthful and bouncy water waves. Another thing that makes the river and its tributaries popular for whitewater rafting is the availability for customized rafting trips


Women’s Solstice Rafting Trip, Desolation Canyon, June 19-23, 2013

Sun Salutations, Beach Yoga, Good Hikes, and Exciting Rapids!
A great way to rev up your spirit in honor of the new solar year.

Calling all women! Mothers and daughters, sisters, best friends, old friends, and new friends! Whether you are an experienced outdoor enthusiast or a first-time camper, you will LOVE this beautiful rafting trip down the Green River through Utah’s Desolation Canyon. Begin each day with a yoga session on the beach, saluting the sun as it rises above the canyon walls. On the Summer Solstice, we’ll have a special celebration to welcome new joys and challenges into our lives.

The trip begins in Green River, Utah, with a get-acquainted meeting the evening before departure. On the day the river trip begins, you will see the river and canyon from the perspective of an eagle as we fly via air charter from Green River to Sandwash, where the actual river trip begins. This spectacular 30-minute flight is an incredible beginning to the river adventure.

Our crew of friendly, capable girl guides will meet you at the Sandwash airstrip and accompany you down the trail to the river (approximately one mile of fairly easy hiking). This is a chance to stretch your legs and get a little exercise before starting the river trip. If you are unable to walk down to the river, you can catch a ride in the truck that will be hauling all of your gear down to the rafts.

Prior to boarding the rafts and starting down river, the trip leader will give a safety talk and each participant will be fitted with a life jacket. If you want to try paddling a 1-person or 2-person inflatable kayak (“duckie”), this is a good time to practice. There will be calm water for most of the first day, allowing you an opportunity to get used to paddling, falling out, and climbing back in. It’s good preparation for the upcoming rapids, which start out small on the 2nd day of the trip and gradually get bigger each succeeding day. If you don’t want to paddle a duckie, you can ride on one of the comfortable 18-foot oar rigs that are rowed by the guides.

In honor of the Solstice, each day on the river will begin with sun salutations and yoga. Our yoga teacher will make these morning sessions fun for everyone, from beginners to more experienced women who might enjoy a more challenging session. On the evening of the Solstice, we’ll have a special “dress up” celebration, so you will want to bring a sarong, muumuu, or casual skirt/dress with you on the trip.

Throughout the river trip we’ll be camping on beautiful white sand beaches next to the river, hiking to ancient ruins and rock art sights, exploring old ranches and outlaw hideouts, and following cascading streams into the backcountry.

Delicious healthy meals will be prepared and served by the guides throughout the trip. We also provide an assortment of non-alcoholic beverages, including coffee, cocoa and tea in camp, lemonade and ice water on the rafts, and various juices and sodas. If you like a beer with lunch or an evening cocktail, you may bring your own modest supply of beer, wine or spirits.

Meet in Green River, Utah, the afternoon prior to departure.

For more information, please call our office at 1-800-253-7328, or send an email to crate@crateinc.com.