Cataract CanyonTrip Length: 3, 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 descents.
Beginning of the trip: Upon your arrival at our headquarters (6:00 am for 3 day trips, 8:00 am. for 5 and 6 day trips, Mountain Time), we will issue your waterproof bags. You can buy any last minute items from our accessory's store at this time (Please see our packing list). We will then take a 90-minute van ride to the embarkation point, where we will transfer to the boats.
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. Minimum Age: 8 (16 yrs May/June)
|Cataract Canyon, Colorado River||3-Days||5-Days||6-Days|
|Children ages 8-18 and Seniors 65+||$940*||$965*||$1025*|
*Cataract Canyon trip rates include an optional $60 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 $155.00. 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.
Sorry, we currently do not have any raft trips scheduled for this river. The water may be too low. Please use the Search all Trips/Clinics button below and choose another raft trip.
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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 artifacts.
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.
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.
Hiking 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.
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.
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.
Meeting Place & Time
We meet for your trip in Green River, Utah at Holiday Expeditions headquarters, 6:00am for 3 day trips and 8:00 am for 5 or 6 day trips, (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 (435-564-3273) 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 reservation agent.
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.