Cataract CanyonTrip Length: 5 and 6 days
Cataract Canyon of the Colorado River takes you to the
heart of Canyonlands National Park. Otherwise inaccessible side canyons,
pristine camping beaches and the largest rapids the Colorado River
has to offer await you. Prehistoric Native American sites are a short
walk from rivers edge. If you want to see the best of the Colorado
River and truly get away from it all, this is the one.
Colorado River Rafting
This legendary gorge named Cataract Canyon is buried in the heart of
Utah's Canyonlands National Park. Our rafts offer effortless conveyance
to side canyon grottos, waterfalls and ancient Anasazi ruins that
are otherwise inaccessible. On this trip we see the most vivid contrast
between utter tranquility and all-out high adventure.
In the first part of the trip the current slides us quietly past
brilliantly colored cliffs and towering table-top mesas. Here the
river conditions both body and soul, giving you time to prepare
yourself for the behemoth rapids awaiting below the confluence of
the Green and Colorado rivers.
Nowhere on its entire course does the Colorado River descend more
precipitously than through Cataract Canyon. On river night three,
the Colorado River will not rest. The roar of the cataracts will
lull you to sleep, dance in your dreams, then wake you the next
morning with a new bearing. Time to batten down the hatches and
hold on. Twenty-three BIG ONES, among them Mile Long, Ben Hurt and
the grand-daddy of them all, The Big Drops, a succession of three
big-hitters that will take you laughing and cheering, 30 feet closer
to sea level in less than a mile.
Never in my life have I spent so many consecutive days in a state
of wonderment, disbelief, high excitement and continual laughter.
The spirit will remain as an everlasting and dominating memory of
a lifetime. What an incredible group of humans came together to
raft, row and float Cataract Canyon.
Al Hanna, Mortgage Banker, Chicago
Cataract Canyon is an anomaly. Its rapids rank along with those
of the Grand Canyon in power and difficulty. In fact, the river
becomes unruly during the run off in May and June.
Yet Cataract Canyon contains mile after mile of rafting through
canyons where you are awe struck, not at whitewater, but the deep
multicolored canyons of this section of Canyonlands National Park.
Side canyon hikes to ruins and petroglyphs delight you as you head
toward the Confluence of the Colorado and Green rivers.
Once you reach the Confluence, the Colorado's behemoth rapids emerge.
Rapids 15 through 23 comprise Mile Long and The Big Drops, a fall
of 80 feet in less than four miles--one of the Colorado's steepest
of the trip: Upon your arrival at our headquarters (8:00 a.m.,
Mountain Time), we will issue your waterproof bags. You can buy
any last minute items from our accessory's store at this time (see
check list of what to bring for a list of items you can find at
our store). We will then take a 90-minute van ride to the embarkation
point, where we will transfer to the boats.
Minimum Age: 8 (16 yrs May/June)
IN THE EVENT OF EMERGENCY CIRCUMSTANCES THE NIGHT BEFORE THE TRIP,
OUR GREEN RIVER HEADQUARTERS NUMBER IS 435-564-3273.
After the trip: We will disembark at Hite, Utah. From Hite
we will take you back to our headquarters in Green River (2 hour
van ride). Our expected time of arrival back at our headquarters
is 5:00 to 6:00 p.m.
|Cataract Canyon, Colorado River
|Children ages 8-18 and Seniors 65+
*Cataract Canyon trip rates include an optional $50 transportation charge for a van shuttle from the takeout at Hite, UT back to Green River, UT. This charge will be deducted from the cost of your trip if you choose to make other arrangements for travel out of Hite. We can shuttle your vehicle to Hite for a fee of $135.00. If you want one of these options, please give us a call or email and we will make the changes to your reservation.
All river equipment including waterproof bags for your personal
belongings. Full course meals from lunch the first day to lunch
the last day. Transportation from the meeting point to trip, and
return to original meeting point. All National Park, B.L.M., and
Forest Service fees. Please see our packing
list for what to bring and what not to bring on this trip.
To see dates for any of these trips, choose a trip
from the option box and press the submit button above. Once you are
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Day 2: The river peacefully meanders into the heart of Canyonlands
National Park. Quiet beaches, hidden canyons and refreshing water
fights are common through this section of the trip.
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
Cataract Canyon. From July to September, we lengthen the Cataract
trip by one day and follow this general itinerary.
Day 1: Meet group at headquarters in Green River, Utah. After
a 1 ½ hour drive to the put-in the river takes you past a
collection of table top mesas. Short hikes reveal a variety of ancient
Day 3: We reach the confluence of the Colorado and Green
rivers. The Ute Indians believed the Confluence to be the center
of the universe, and some people still do. Just below the meeting
of these two rivers enjoy a view of the Doll House, an appropriately
named collection of free standing, sandstone columns.
Day 4: Possible early morning hike into Doll House. Ascend
steeply to the canyon rim in the Maze District with red rock formations.
After descending to the river, the rapids of Cataract Canyon await.
The climax: Big Drop Rapids with Little Niagara and Satan's Gut.
Day 5: Lunch at Rock Canyon and a trip across Lake Powell
with the aid of motorboat "Hayduke" brings you to Hite
Marina and the end of the trip. A two-hour drive brings you back
to Green River.
Canyonlands weather: In the early and late seasons (May to
mid-June and late August- September) the daytime temperatures are
70 to 90 degrees, with nighttime temperatures 50 to 60 degrees.
It seldom rains in Canyonlands, but when it does, it can cool temperatures
considerably in May and September. From mid-June to mid-August the
days are hot, and temperatures average from 80 to 100 degrees, and
from 60 to 75 degrees at night. This is the time of year that swimming
in the Colorado becomes a popular activity. This seems warm but
remember the humidity is very low. There will be an abundance of
sun, so bring a hat and plenty of suntan lotion and/or sunscreens.
Bugs, snakes, etc. are generally no problem. In
fact, the lack of pesky insects is one of the reasons that wilderness
camping on the river is so pleasant. Any river trip, however, is
subject to an occasional localized insect hatch. During these hatches
(most common in June to mid-July) mosquitos can be bothersome. Be
sure to bring long sleeve clothing and repellent. Insect repellents
that contain "deet" are by far the most effective during
heavy hatches, but are also suspected of causing various health
problems. Citronella-based products (skin-so-soft) work only in
light hatches. We rarely see any snakes, but if the thought of them
bothers you, try sleeping on the beaches or in a tent instead of
rocky or bushy areas.
is a highlight of the trip, however, it is strictly an optional
activity. There are many interesting short hikes available. Hiking
can be done in durable sneakers or lightweight hiking boots. Remember
that hiking and other activities vary widely pending time, and what
other plans are ahead for the day on the river.
Medical emergencies: Our guides are trained in
first aid and carry first aid supplies only. REMEMBER to bring your
own prescription medicines. ALERT our guides to any medical problem
you might have such as diabetes or allergic reactions. Wilderness
expeditions are a long way from hospitals, doctors, and pain-relieving
medicines. Evacuations to modern medical care are uncertain, and
protracted. In case of evacuation and/or medical treatment beyond
first aid, expenses incurred are the responsibility of the participant.
Beverages: We provide ice water, lemonade, two
sodas per day per person and ample cooler space. If you choose to
bring any specialty sodas and/or alcoholic beverages, we have no
problem taking whatever you want to bring - within reason. Don't
bring beer, wine coolers or sodas in glass containers. Wine packaged
in a box is ideal. Mark beverages that you bring so they are packed
on your boat. In Utah, wine or liquor is not sold after 7:00 p.m.,
before 11:00 a.m. or on sundays and holidays.
Tipping the guides: Many guests ask us if tipping is appropriate. If you feel the guides have been instrumental in your enjoyment of the trip, you may choose to direct a gratuity
to the trip leader. He/She will then distribute it evenly to the
other crew members. Of those that choose to tip, the average contribution
amount ranges between $10.00 and $20.00 per guest, per day. However,
the decision to tip is left at your sole discretion.
Things to see in the area: John Wesley Powell Museum in
Green River, Utah. Arches National, Dead Horse Point State Park,
Canyonlands National Park, Fisher Towers, Colorado National Monument,
Goblin Valley State, San Rafael Swell, Capital Reef National Park,
Natural Bridges National Monument, and the La Sal and Henry Mountains.
The BOC store
has what you need for this trip and can ship your order out quickly.
Meeting Place & Time
We meet for your trip in Green River, Utah at Holiday Expeditions
headquarters, 8:00 a.m. (Mountain Time) the morning your trip begins.
Our headquarters is located 1/4 mile east of the Green River Bridge,
across the highway from the Motel 6 and behind the Comfort Inn.
If you arrive in Green River by shuttle, bus, Amtrak, or plane,
call our headquarters (564-3273) upon your arrival to make arrangements
to have you and your gear transported to our headquarters the morning
of the trip. If you are driving, your car can be left at our headquarters.
If you are flying, you can fly to Salt Lake City located 180 miles
northwest of Green River, Utah. From there you can rent a car, take
a shuttle with Bighorn Express (call 888-655-7433), ride a bus,
or fly in a light aircraft to Green River, Utah. If you need assistance
with your travel arrangements, please ask your Holiday Expedition
In the upper right hand corner of this page, you can enter your location or a point that you know of and hit enter and google maps will open and show you a map to the meeting location and driving time.
If cancellations are made prior to 90 days before the trip, monies will
be refunded less a $50.00 service charge per person. If cancellations
are made within 90 days and outside of 45 days of the trip date monies
will be refunded less a $100.00 service charge per person. Cancellations
made within 45 days of the trip date are non-refundable. Prior to 45 days
to trip date we will transfer reservations to another trip in the same
year with a $25.00 per person service charge.
All policies will be enforced and we strongly recommend trip cancellation
insurance. Ask us about a brochure with applications. Cancellation of
a trip is very unlikely. But, we reserve the right to cancel any trip
due to river or weather conditions or the lack of sufficient reservations.
A full refund will be made if such is the case.