When the hot sun is beaming, there’s no better way to have fun than a whitewater rafting trip out on the refreshing Colorado and Green Rivers.
Whether you’re looking for a morning adventure, an epic five-day trip, or something in between, you’ll have plenty of options to choose from. Rafting season in Moab goes from March to October. Here is a quick breakdown of what’s possible so you can start dreaming about your Moab rafting trip today.
Popular Rafting Companies
While all the companies provide licensed guides and offer roughly the same expeditions, you will find some differences in price and what is offered, so shop around a little. Some of the major players include:
- Red River Adventures
- Moab Adventure Center
- NAVTEC Expeditions
- Canyon Voyages
- World Wide River Expeditions
What to Bring
Your guide will provide everything you’ll need for a safe rafting experience (including lifejackets), but there are still things you should bring to have the most enjoyable time possible.
- Reusable water bottle (water provided)
- Sturdy footwear
- Quick-dry clothing
- Poncho or raincoat
- Sun protection (ie. sunglasses, lip-balm, long-sleeve shirt, etc.)
Full & Half-Day Trips
Only have a day to go rafting in Moab? No problem! These full and half-day trips are compact, family friendly, and give you a great introduction to the area.
The classic expedition that started it all, a rafting trip down the Colorado River begins at the iconic Fisher Towers. Popular among rock climbers and photographers, these towers are made of Cutler and Moenkopi sandstone from the Triassic Period and caked with red mud, which gives them an appearance of some lost, fantastical world.
Traveling seven miles down river, you will experience a mix of Class I and II rapids (Class III in spring and early summer), which are just big enough to wake you up and make a little splash. A half-day trip is a great introduction to rafting for kids and adults—just be advised that there is a 50-pound minimum weight requirement. During calm stretches, your guide will tell you all about the fascinating geological history, and you’ll even have time for a refreshing swim!
If you opt for the full-day trip, a delicious picnic or BBQ lunch will be provided (depending which company you choose), and you’ll get to experience more exciting rapids as you travel 14 miles downriver. The full day is a great way to go if you know you like rafting, because it lets you spend more time absorbing your gorgeous surroundings.
As an alternative, most companies offer multi-trip packages for the second half of the day if you want to switch gears halfway through. No matter which option you choose, you’re sure to sleep well after a full day of adventure in the sun.
The reality of rafting in Moab is that there is far more to see than a one-day trip allows. If you have the time and desire for more excitement, you should definitely consider a longer trip. It will give you time to unwind, bond with your group, and really appreciate your surroundings.
Westwater Canyon (2 Day)
Laughs and splashes are guaranteed on this exciting canyon adventure, which is open to ages 12 and older. Through red and black canyon walls, you will travel through calm waters and navigate adrenaline-inducing Class III/IV rapids with names like Skull, Funnel Falls and Last Chance. You’ll take hiking breaks to see mysterious caves and Native American petroglyphs, and even have a delicious dinner cooked for you.
Cataract Canyon (3-5 Day)
For an even longer trip, go on a three-five day excursion through Cataract Canyon. Starting just south of Moab, you’ll wind past Dead Horse Point State Park and beyond where the Green and Colorado Rivers meet. Day three sees you nearly 2,000 feet deep in a canyon and splashing through 30 whitewater rapids, including Little Niagara and Big Drops, where you’ll battle 30-foot waves. Camp on white sand beaches at night after a barbecue dinner and marvel at the stars. On your last day, your only way out is by plane!
Desolation Canyon (5 Day)
The longest trip offered in Moab is a 5-day float on the Green River through Desolation Canyon. With this trip, you’ll have plenty of time to absorb your beautiful surroundings, learn about the geological history, explore famous outlaw hideouts and dinosaur habitats, and navigate over 60 whitewater rapids! Your guide will provide you with delicious meals, Dutch-oven desserts, and entertainment with plenty of stories.
Labyrinth Canyon (4-5 Day)
Beautiful views and tranquil water is what this trip is all about. For anyone who wishes to witness Utah’s beauty without concern about getting splashed by a rapid (we can’t speak for others in your group), this 45-mile stretch of the Green River may be your perfect choice. You’ll have opportunities for kayaking, learning river navigation, and scenic hikes.
For many, floating down a river surrounded by stunning ancient rock formations acting as a canvas for the glorious hues of a sunset is the stuff of dreams. For you, this will be a memory that lasts a lifetime.
With so many options, you’re sure to find the perfect rafting trip for your next vacation—and one of our Moab vacation rentals is an excellent home base, before, during, or after your trip!
Featured photo courtesy of Malcolm Surgenor
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