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Westwater Canyon, Colorado River Guide
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River Guide

Colorado River: Westwater Canyon

Length of Trip: 18 miles
Gradient: 7 ft/mile Maximum Gradient 20 ft/mile
Difficulty: Class IV- below 4,000 cfs and Class IV above 4,000 cfs
Water Flows: May 20th-June 15th
Flow: Call Watertalk @ 831-7135, Division 5, Station 10 for current river levels.
Permits Needed: May 1st-September 30th, overnite camping permits needed year round. Call the BLM at 801-259-8193 for a permit.
Scenery: A+ Classic Desert Canyon Run.
Put-In: From Colorado, 4-miles past the border on I-70, in Utah, take the Westwater exit, left under the bridge. Stay on the paved/dirt road 8.3 miles to the put-in (keep left at the fork at 4.8 miles).

Take-out: Cisco exit, left under highway, then right on frontage road. 5.2 miles to Cisco, then left, just before the buildings, (dirt road). 4.9 miles of dirt, bare left at "Y" to takeout.

Shuttle: From the put-in, drive 3.5 miles to the fork in the road, bare left, (dirt) and drive 4 miles. The road goes under I-70, then turn right (east), and right again to circle back around to parallel I-70 west. Get on highway, go 7.1 miles to Cisco exit.
Description: 1 or 2 day run. The first 7 miles are flat with some class II and III rapids. Little Dee is the first major rapid, then a little more flat water before Marble Canyon. Once the boater starts Marble Canyon, the rapids come one after another. Above 5,000 cfs, rock walls often come straight down into the water, making stopping or rescue difficult. Funnel Falls comes at you quickly, then a few more rapids lead to Skull rapid and the Room of Doom. Skull rapid can be scouted from river left. You recognize Skull by the talus on river left, smooth rock wall on river right and the canyon angles left below the rapid. Just below Skull rapid on the right is the Room of Doom, where a large eddy swirls around. Rafts have been known to get stuck in this whirlpool. Most boats and boaters should avoid this whirlpool above 4,000 cfs. Below Skull rapid is Bowling Alley, Sock-it-to-me, and Last Chance. Below Last Chance is 6 miles of flatwater to the takeout. At high water, 20,000 cfs, many of these rapids disappear, and huge eddy lines appear to challenge boaters. This is a great late season run, and has big water characteristics year-round.

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