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Desolation River Rafting, Green River
Our 37th Year!

Raft Trips

Desolation Canyon Green River Rafting
Class II-III

Trip Length: 5 and 6 days
Green River RaftingThe Green River splits the 10,000 foot high Tavaputs Plateau and forms a gorge deeper than the Grand Canyon. Over one million uninhabited acres surround this holdout of the Old West. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid used these remote canyons one hundred years ago to escape the law. Today, we go just to escape.
Despite the name Desolation Canyon, the river surroundings offer green cottonwood groves, white sand beaches, and clear-water side streams. Your guide's selection of nightly camps will make good use of these features. Off river, abandoned homesteads mark the end of a frontiersman's dream, and prehistoric Indian petroglyphs the end of a civilization.
Born in 1987, the child of a side canyon flash flood, Belknap rapid is a formidable addition to the over 60 rapids on this 84-mile trip. With whitewater that builds in intensity each day, Desolation Canyon is an ideal place to occasionally swap your seat in the raft for a thirst quenching ride in an inflatable kayak.

Ages: 5 years and up
Desolation Multi Day Raft Trips
Desolation Canyon Green River 5-Days 6-Days
Adults $1105.00* $1175.00*
Children ages 5-18 $905.00* $975.00*

*Desolation trips are subject to the BLM special area use fee of $25.

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.

The prices above may not be current.

We no longer offer reservations for this adventure.

Please contact: Holiday Expeditions at 800-624-6323
You can also contact them by email at:


Desolation and Gray canyons are on the National Register of Historic Places because the famous and infamous were drawn here. In 1830, trapper Denis Julien left graffiti on the canyon walls. Almost 40 years later, John Wesley Powell traveled through the canyons and christened them. Soon after Powell passed through, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid found this a great place to escape justice. Today, if you really want to get away, there's no better place than the Green River Wilderness.
The Green River cuts a series of chasms through the Tavaputs Plateau and forms a gorge deeper than the Grand Canyon at Bright Angel Creek (5500'). There are petroglyphs, ruins, abandoned homesteads and marvelous camping sites among verdant cottonwoods on soft sand beaches. This is a perfect place to try your skills with an inflatable kayak.

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 Desolation and Gray canyons. In August, we lengthen the Desolation Canyon trip by one day and follow this general itinerary.
Day 1: Fly into Sand Wash put-in from Green River. There is a 30 minute downhill hike from canyon rim to the rafts waiting at river bottom. The trail is well marked but there is some loose footing along the way. Plan ahead to wear appropriate shoes for the hike. Guests who are apprehensive about the hike can be transported by vehicle to the river. View a historical marker at head of Desolation Canyon before entering the canyon. Camp this evening near Gold Hole.
Day 2: Hikes to Fremont Indian ruins and petroglyphs interspersed with sections of whitewater. Steer Ridge Rapid is the most memorable. Camp in a cottonwood grove or on a mile-long sandbar.
Day 3: Side canyon hike up Rock Creek, a clearwater stream. Extensive petroglyphs, and abandoned Rock Creek and McPherson Ranches, where Butch Cassidy's Wild Bunch slept.
Day 4: The whitewater has gotten bigger each day. The crescendo: Belknap, Three Fords, and Coal Creek rapids. Leave Desolation and enter Gray Canyon.
Day 5: We will run a half dozen more rapids before lunch and then take out near Swasey's beach. Short trip back to Green River and our headquarters.
If you have any questions prior to leaving for your trip, we welcome you to call our Salt Lake City office, Monday through Friday at 801-266-2087. We're happy to take the time to answer your questions. You may also contact us by e-mail at
When you arrive in Green River the day before your trip, there will be a pre-trip orientation meeting at 8:00 p.m. (Mountain Time). A Holiday representative will give you a short orientation on all aspects of river travel. At this time we will issue your waterproof bags, answer any questions you may have, and finalize your flight departure time for the trip. If you plan on buying any last minute items from our accessory's store, please plan to do so at this time (see check list of what to bring for a list of items you can find at our store). Special Note: Due to the limited space and weight on the aircraft. If you have any specialty sodas, beer, wine or other extra heavy items, please bring items to our headquarters by 2:00 p.m. the day prior to your trip (see beverages).
Beginning of the trip: On the morning of your trip, plan to arrive promptly at the predetermined time established at the pre-trip orientation meeting. We will then take you to the local airstrip. Our prescheduled flight will be waiting to take you to the embarkation point (30 minutes). The flight is on a small single engine type aircraft.
After the trip: We will return you to Green River, Utah (30 minute van ride). Our expected time of arrival back at our headquarters is 3:00 to 4:00 p.m.
The best place to eat in Green River is Ray's Tavern. Ray's is a true small western town bar rich in atmosphere and good food. They serve incredible hamburgers, pork chops, small salads and steaks. The Tamarisk Restaurant offers family dining with riverside seating.
Raft Trips Desolation CanyonDesolation weather: In May and early June temperatures average 70 to 80 degrees during the day and 50 to 60 degrees at night. In late June through August the daytime temperatures are 80 to 100 degrees, with nighttime temperatures 60 to 70 degrees. Light rain showers occasionally occur in this area, and it can cool temperatures considerably. With this in mind we recommend you have a poncho or rain suit, polypropylene underwear, (fleece top and pants are nice in cool weather too) and a light tent. If you reserved a rental unit with us when you booked your river trip, we will have a tent and rain gear for you. There will also 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 a generous supply of 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.

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. However, because of the limited space on the charter flight we must control the amount of beer you carry with you on the plane. If you intend to bring 1 case or less then please bring the beer with you the morning of the trip and carry it on the plane. For quantities greater than this we request that you contact our office three weeks prior to your trip to make arrangements in getting your beer to the river. 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. The liquor store in Green River, Utah is located in the back of the West Winds restaurant. In Utah, wine or liquor is not sold after 7:00 p.m., before 11:00 a.m., or on Sundays and holidays.
Rafting Desolation Canyon Meeting Place & Time
We meet for your trip in Green River, Utah at Holiday Expeditions headquarters (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. If you are driving, your car can be left at our headquarters. Departure time can vary from 6:00 to 9:00 a.m. (Mountain Time), depending on your flight. For this reason it is imperative that you attend our pre-trip orientation the night before your trip to finalize your departure time.
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.

Refund Policy
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.

Insurance: Medical and cancellation insurance on a vacation plan can be obtained from numerous insurance companies. We offer plans underwritten by TRAVEL GUARD that cover accident, baggage and cancellation claims. An application should be enclosed with this information package. We encourage all to take advantage of this coverage. This is available to American and Canadian citizens as well as citizens of another country as long as you have a U.S. address. If you have questions give us a call. Also, if you are bringing expensive cameras, binoculars, or other items we suggest you have insurance coverage for them (commonly available through Homeowners Policies). In the event of a loss, our insurance will not cover those items.

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