Take an exciting 100-mile white-water rafting trip on the Colorado River through Cataract Canyon, one of the river's most spectacular stretches with towering walls and exhilarating rapids. Ideal for novices, this journey features three days of riding the rapids with our expert raft guides. 

 Rafting down the Colorado River  Colorado River near Canyonlands National Park  The Colorado River near Canyonlands National Park

Rafting Cataract Canyon on the Colorado River

6 days from $4,295

Take an exciting 100-mile white-water rafting trip on the Colorado River through Cataract Canyon, one of the river's most spectacular stretches with towering walls and exhilarating rapids. Ideal for novices, this journey features three days of riding the rapids with our expert raft guides. 

Accommodations

* Click on hotel name to visit hotel web-site.

DoubleTree by Hilton Grand Junction

Grand Junction, Colorado, United States

DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Grand Junction offers easy access from Grand Junction Airport (one mile) and downtown. There are 273 comfortable guest rooms, each with cable television, telephone with voicemail, morning newspaper, coffee maker, complimentary WiFi, iron and ironing board, and a hairdryer. On the premises is an outdoor heated swimming pool and whirlpool, fitness center, putting green, outdoor tennis courts, gift shop, business center, restaurant serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and a lounge. Services include valet laundry and dry cleaning and a complimentary shuttle from Grand Junction Airport and to any destination within five miles of the hotel. 

Number of nights: 1

River Camping on the Colorado River

Colorado River, United States

The private camps are brought along and tended to by your tour staff, so each day when you depart the riverside your area is returned to pristine wilderness again. Tents are set up and can accommodate two or three persons comfortably. Guests are also provided a comfortable/freshly laundered sleeping bag, cot, and pads. Sleeping bags are professionally laundered prior to each trip. There are shared bathroom facilities for men and women. Due to environmental impact issues, bathing facilities are limited to areas in, or directly adjacent to, the river. If you choose to bring your own soap/shampoo, we request that they be biodegradable products. The camp’s sanitary system is a sealed container with a regular toilet seat attached. Hand washing stations will be located near the toilet and dining areas and all guests will be encouraged to use them regularly. 

Number of nights: 2

Red Cliffs Lodge

Moab, Utah, United States

Red Cliffs Lodge sits on a former 258-acre working cattle and horse ranch homestead. The property offers stunning views of the mighty Colorado River and towering red cliffs in every direction. Guests will stay in a combination of lodge rooms and cabins, each with individual air conditioning and heat controls, log furniture, a kitchenette with a mini fridge, microwave, toaster, and coffee maker, air conditioning, a television, telephone, complimentary WiFi, cotton robes, a hairdryer, iron and board. The main lodge serves as the central gathering place, with a wrap-around deck, huge fireplaces, Mexican tile, log furniture, and lots of western memorabilia – particularly relating to movies that were filmed on the property. There is an outdoor swimming pool, whirlpool spa, exercise room, tennis courts, volleyball, tetherball, and horseshoes. A riding stable and massages afterwards both available by appointment. The lodge’s Cowboy Grill offers indoor and outdoor seating and overlooks the river with views out to Fisher Towers.

Number of nights: 2

Activity Level

Level 3: Moderate / Active

Expectations: This journey is part of our Smithsonian Active Journeys collection and is primarily a fully escorted calm water and Class II to Class IV white-water rafting trip with plenty of waves and drops as you meander through the Cataract Canyon. If you are reasonably fit and are up for a thrilling adventure this should be a comfortable and fun  journey for you. This tour will feature early mornings and each rafting day the trip will cover from 20 to 35 miles (up to 6 hours per day on the water) on the Colorado River, either motoring or paddling, encountering Class II to Class IV rapids, depending on water levels. No previous rafting experience is necessary, and all rafting gear and equipment is provided. Optional hikes of up to 1 mile (up to one and a half hours) and up to 800 feet of elevation gain and loss are taken at a leisurely pace over terrain that will include groomed trails with short steep sections. However, surfaces can be uneven, with uneven steps, rocks, mud, and exposed roots. All hikes are optional. It is always possible to stay with the raft and float to the next destination. Afternoons and evenings are at leisure to enjoy the canyon and camp. Packing suggestions including what to bring as far as clothing and gear, will be included in your Pre-Tour documents.

The flight from the take-out point on Lake Powell back to Moab, Utah on Day 5 is included in the trip price. Accommodations feature one night in Grand Junction, Colorado, two nights at a comfortable inn in Moab, Utah at the beginning and end of the rafting trip and two nights of camping along the river in deluxe tents with cots, sleeping bags, and sleeping pads. Your river guides will assist with tent set up each evening.

Appropriate for: Travelers who are physically fit, expect a somewhat vigorous pace, are comfortable with early mornings and participating in up to three hours of rafting the river per day, and enjoy challenging themselves physically.

Reading List
Belknap's Waterproof Canyonlands River Guide All New Edition
By: Buzz Belknap/Loie Belknap Evans
New--for 2018--Read-as-you-Run Format! Covers Green River--Labyrinth and Stillwater; Colorado River--Horsethief & Ruby, Westwater, Moab Daily, Cataract Canyon, Lake Powell & Glen Canyon This All New Edition contains updated information on boating the Green and Colorado rivers; all new topo maps with colorful shaded relief added; new camping information, new photos, more history.
Moon Arches & Canyonlands National Parks (Travel Guide)
By: W. C. McRae, Judy Jewell
Moon Travel Guides: Find Your Adventure!Forge your own path through the rock arches, canyon-carving rivers, and ever-present ancient cultures of Southeastern Utah with Moon Arches & Canyonlands National Parks.Moon Arches & Canyonlands National Parks features:Full coverage of both national parks and their surrounding areas, with chapters covering Arches National Park, Canyonlands National Park, Moab, and the Southeastern CornerFull-color, vibrant photos and detailed maps throughoutItineraries for every timeline and budget, ranging from one day in each park to a week-long trip covering both, including the best ways to avoid the crowdsThe top activities and unique ideas for exploring each park: Climb dramatic stone bridges and slickrock bluffs to Delicate Arch, and find the perfect spot for a red rock photo-op. Join a ranger-led hike through Arches' Fiery Furnace, or a half-day rafting tour down the Colorado River. Hike to mesa-top vistas, mountain bike through high-desert canyons, and explore countless backcountry trails. Visit the Ancestral Puebloan preservation at Hovenweep National Monument, and enjoy a couple microbrews with mountain biking locals in MoabStrategies for getting to both parks and traveling between themHonest advice on when to go, what to pack, and where to stay inside and outside the park, including the best places to pitch a tent, park your RV, or relax at a B&BCoverage of gateway cities and towns, including Bluff and MoabUp-to-date information on park fees, passes, and reservationsExpert tips from seasoned explorers W.C. McRae and Judy Jewell for travelers looking to go hiking, biking, climbing, rafting, and more, plus essential health and safety informationDetailed hike descriptions with individual trail maps, marked with duration, elevation change, and effortRecommendations for families, LGBTQ+ travelers, seniors, international visitors, travelers with disabilities, and traveling with petsThorough background on the wildlife, terrain, culture, and historyWith Moon Arches & Canyonlands National Parks' curated advice, myriad activities, and expert insight, you can explore the parks your way.Exploring more of Utah's natural wonders? Try Moon Zion & Bryce. For full coverage of America's national parks, check out Moon USA National Parks: The Complete Guide to All 59 National Parks.
Where the Water Goes: Life and Death Along the Colorado River
By: David Owen
An eye-opening account of where our water comes from and where it all goes.The Colorado River is an essential resource for a surprisingly large part of the United States, and every gallon that flows down it is owned or claimed by someone. David Owen traces all that water from the Colorado’s headwaters to its parched terminus, once a verdant wetland but now a million-acre desert. He takes readers on an adventure downriver, along a labyrinth of waterways, reservoirs, power plants, farms, fracking sites, ghost towns, and RV parks, to the spot near the U.S.–Mexico border where the river runs dry. Water problems in the western United States can seem tantalizingly easy to solve: just turn off the fountains at the Bellagio, stop selling hay to China, ban golf, cut down the almond trees, and kill all the lawyers. But a closer look reveals a vast man-made ecosystem that is far more complex and more interesting than the headlines let on.The story Owen tells in Where the Water Goes is crucial to our future: how a patchwork of engineering marvels, byzantine legal agreements, aging infrastructure, and neighborly cooperation enables life to flourish in the desert —and the disastrous consequences we face when any part of this tenuous system fails.
Paddling the John Wesley Powell Route: Exploring the Green and Colorado Rivers
By: Mike Bezemek
On May 24, 1869, John Wesley Powell and nine crewmen in four wooden rowboats set off down the Green River to map the final blank spot on the American map. Three months later, six ragged men in only two boats emerged from the Grand Canyon. And what happened along the rugged 1,000 river miles in between quickly became the stuff of legend. Today, the JWP route offers some of the most adventurous paddling in the United States. Across six southwestern states, paddlers will find a surprising variety of trips. Enjoy flatwater floats through Canyonlands and the Uinta Basin; whitewater kayaking or rafting in Dinosaur National Monument and Cataract Canyon; afternoon paddleboarding on Flaming Gorge Reservoir and Lake Powell; multiday expeditions through Desolation Canyon and the Grand Canyon; and much more, including remarkable hikes and excursions to ancestral ruins, historic sites, museums, and waterfalls.Paddling the John Wesley Powell Route is a narrated guide that combines a multi-chapter retelling of the dramatic 1869 expedition with stunning landscape photography, modern discoveries along the route, overview maps, and information about permits, shuttles, access points, rental equipment, guided trips, and further readings. Come celebrate the dramatic 1869 expedition by exploring the route and learning the story.
Ancient Landscapes of the Colorado Plateau
By: Blakey, Ron, Ranney, Wayne
24x36 World Wall Map by Smithsonian Journeys - Tan Oceans Special Edition (24x36 Paper Folded)
By: Smithsonian Journeys
Swiftmaps is proud to partner with Smithsonian Journeys to bring a new and exciting World Map series to the American marketplace. Featuring eye-catching bold and vivid colors complemented with rich vintage tan ocean tones that will make this the perfect reference piece --- sure to stand-out and highlight any home or business wall. The precise detail and digital accuracy shows color-matching visual shaded 3D relief and other physical features without sacrificing the maps readability. Now printed on high-quality 80 lb. paper and professionally FOLDED in a compact 8x10 inch size. FEATURES: 1) Africa centered allowing viewers to see continents complete and intact 2) Clearly labeled country and city names for easy location 3) Latitude and longitude indications 4) Shaded relief of ocean and land topography 4) Desirable Miller Projection. The Smithsonian Journeys wall map series serve not only as a handy reference piece, but as an eye-catching accent for any room or office. NOTE: each map is professionally folded to 8x10 inches and when unfolded the map is 24 inches high and 36 inches wide.
Travel Insurance

For the convenience of our travelers, Travel Guard provides an on-tour Insurance Plan. On-tour emergency evacuation insurance (up to $100,000), medical expense coverage (up to $25,000), dental expense coverage (up to $500), travel medical assistance and worldwide travel assistance (U.S. Residents only). It also includes up to $25,000 medical and up to $500 dental expense coverage, and 24-hour worldwide travel and medical assistance. Please click here to view complete coverage details.

Please visit www.TravelGuard.com/SmithsonianJourneys or call Travel Guard at 1-800-208-6142 to learn about additional (optional) coverage.

Terms and conditions

Our Mission

Smithsonian Journeys engage travelers in the mission of the Smithsonian – “the increase and diffusion of knowledge.” Like the Institution, our tours enrich our guests’ lives and satisfy their curiosity about the world around them. Your participation benefits the work of Smithsonian’s 19 museums, national zoo, and nine research centers, helping to preserve our national treasures and shape the future through science, research, and exhibitions.

What is Provided With Your Tour

  • Expertise of a Smithsonian Journeys Expert.
  • All accommodations (based on double occupancy). 
  • Meals and beverages as noted in the itinerary (B-breakfast; L-lunch; D-dinner; R-reception). 
  • All sightseeing and visits as noted in the itinerary.
  • Pre-tour information, including a reading list.
  • All on-tour transportation, unless otherwise noted.
  • Gratuities for all tour staff, local guides, and drivers. 

What is Not Provided With Your Tour

  • Passport fees, visas, and visa photos as required.
  • Personal items such as wines, liquors, à-la-carte orders, meals other than specified.
  • Expenses incurred by our tour operators in making individual travel arrangements in conjunction with the tour.
  • Other items not specifically mentioned as included.
  • Optional Travel Insurance

Registration

Space is reserved in the order of receipt of phone or web reservations.

To submit a request for a reservation, please order using our secure online process, or contact a Cultural Travel Specialist, at 1-855-330-1542 Mon-Fri 9 am - 6 pm.

Submitting an online request does not guarantee space on a tour. You will be notified of your status when your request has been received and processed. Please note: No new registrations can be accepted within 30 days of most tours. Some tours are more restrictive; please see individual tour pages for these exceptions.

To complete your request, the following is necessary:

Required Information 
For all international departures, passport information including the following, in accordance with the Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) Secure Flight program as well as by our international travel partners: your full name as it appears on your passport, date of birth, and gender (for further information, please visit www.tsa.gov). In the event an airline ticket is issued with incorrect information you have provided, or if you use a different passport than originally cited, you will be responsible for charges associated with the ticket’s reissue.

Payments
Deposit of $500 per person, per tour, is required to reserve a space on a tour program. The deposit may be made by credit card or check to Smithsonian Journeys and is applied to final payment of the program price. Balance due upon invoicing at least 95 days prior to the program. If payment is not received by the final payment due date, your place cannot be guaranteed on the tour.

Late Registration

Any registration received within 95 days of departure is considered a “late registration” and must be subject to special confirmation. Smithsonian Journeys will process the credit card deposit of $500 per person, then payment in full must be made immediately by credit card or by check and sent by overnight mail to the tour operator before confirmation is possible. Once confirmed, cancellation penalties apply as set forth below. If confirmation is not possible, all payments made will be refunded in full. Late registration confirmation procedures apply to any participant who is transferred from the wait list to the program within the designated late registration period for that program.

A Note About Costs

Tour costs are based upon current airfares, tariffs, currency values, and on the basis of a minimum number of participants. While we will do everything possible to maintain the listed prices, they are subject to change. Should actual enrollments fall significantly below minimum numbers, a surcharge may be added. Due to fluctuations in oil prices, a fuel surcharge may be added to your tour fee (e.g. internal flights, cruises, etc.). Details and costs will be advised prior to departure.

Wait List

If the tour of your choice is fully subscribed, you may choose to be placed on a waitlist by contacting a Reservation Specialist at 1-855-330-1542 Mon-Fri 9 am - 6 pm or SJReservations@si.edu. Individuals on the wait list will be contacted if space becomes available and can inquire about tour status by contacting a Reservation Specialist. If you choose to withdraw from a wait list, please notify us.

Cancellation and Refund Policy

Per person cancellation fees are based on date of notice to Smithsonian Journeys.

  • Cancellations within 7 days of booking (if not within final payment date): full refund.
  • Cancellations after 7 days of booking: Entire deposit retained.
  • Final payment due: 95 days prior to departure.
  • Cancellations made less than 95 days prior to departure: no refund.
  • Cancellation by the Smithsonian: full refund.
  • No refund for unused portions of the tour, including but not limited to, missed meals, hotel nights, and sightseeing.

Please understand that there will be no exceptions to our cancellation policy.

Air Service

For tour packages that include round-trip international airfare, rates are based on economy class from designated departure cities as shown. Airfares from other cities are available upon request. Airline upgrades at additional cost may be available on request for the international portion of your flight. Since international and domestic air schedules are subject to change at any time, we recommend that if you choose to make your own airline reservations, you do not purchase nonrefundable tickets or those with high penalties for changes. Neither Smithsonian Journeys nor the tour operator has any liability for any loss resulting from tour cancellations or changes in international gateways, travel dates, or airline schedule changes. If an air schedule requires an overnight stay in a gateway city, the cost of the overnight will be at your expense. For tour packages that include round-trip international airfare, we will be happy to help with arrangements. Please note that seat assignment on your international flight is usually done at airport check-in. The tour operator is unable to guarantee any seat assignments.

When planning our tours that include international round-trip airfare, the tour operator contracts with those airlines that they feel provide the level of service, routings, and value necessary for your entire trip. While another airline may offer a more direct connection, it may be at a price unavailable at the lower group rates that enable us to offer you the best possible travel value. Please note that frequent flyer mileage credits are issued at the discretion of the airline(s) and may not be available for the flights on your tour. If you prefer to make your own airline reservations, “land only” pricing is available on most of our tours.

Individual Arrivals and Group Transfers
A designated group flight is not included on most tours. However, transportation from the arrival airport to the ship/hotel is included in your tour cost if you arrive in time to meet the scheduled group transfer. Your first tour bulletin will thoroughly explain the details of the options available for your individual flights.

Air Tickets Purchased Independently of the Tour
We urge you to check airline cancellation penalties before purchasing airline tickets since international departure times and flights can change. Tours also can be canceled due to low enrollments. Neither Smithsonian Institution nor the tour operator accepts liability for cancellation penalties related to domestic or international airline tickets purchased independently in conjunction with a tour.

Travel Insurance

For the convenience of our travelers, Travel Guard provides an on-tour Insurance Plan. On-tour emergency evacuation insurance (up to $100,000), medical expense coverage (up to $25,000), dental expense coverage (up to $500), travel medical assistance and worldwide travel assistance (U.S. Residents only). It also includes up to $25,000 medical and up to $500 dental expense coverage, and 24-hour worldwide travel and medical assistance. Please click here to view complete coverage details.

Please visit www.TravelGuard.com/SmithsonianJourneys or call Travel Guard at 1-800-208-6142 to learn about additional (optional) coverage.

Travel Documents
For all international departures, a passport valid for at least six months after the completion of your tour, and with at least six blank visa pages, is required for U.S. citizens on all tours in this catalog. If your tour requires a visa or other entry documents, we will send you the appropriate information after you make a reservation. You are responsible for obtaining these documents. If you are not a U.S. citizen, please contact your embassy or consulate to ensure you obtain the proper documentation.

Physical and Medical Considerations

Please note that these tours require that participants be in good physical condition. You must be capable, without assistance, of walking a minimum of two miles over uneven terrain and of climbing stairs that may not have handrails. Participants should have sufficient stamina to keep pace with an active group of travelers on long days of touring. If you have any questions about your ability to participate in a tour, please call us at 855-330-1542. Some tours have additional notes regarding physical and medical considerations, which may be discussed with the Cultural Travel Specialist at 855-330-1542.

Itinerary or Program Modifications

Smithsonian strives to improve tour itineraries and their features. If improvements can be made, or unforeseen circumstances beyond our control make changes necessary, we reserve the right to vary itineraries and to substitute hotels. Every effort will be made to carry out the program as planned but alterations may still occur after the final itinerary is sent. Please note that weather conditions may force changes to the advertised sailing schedule on cruise programs. The ship’s captain has the authority to change the ship’s schedule.

Accommodations

Smithsonian chooses hotels based on a combination of their location, service, atmosphere, and price. On adventure tours and programs in out-of-the-way places, best-available hotels are used. In most cases, hotels have elevators and meeting rooms for Smithsonian lectures. Program prices are based on two persons sharing a room with a bath.

Singles and Roommates
Hotel rooms are always reserved for single travelers; however the number of single rooms available on a tour may be limited. Therefore we recommend that you register early. Please note that a single supplement will apply for a single room. If you are traveling alone and wish to share a room, we will do our best to find someone of the same gender and smoking preference to share with you. If you are matched with a non-smoking roommate, it is mutually agreed that you cannot smoke in your hotel room. When a roommate cannot be found, the single supplement will be charged.

Children

All tours, except family programs, are designed for adults. Some may be suitable for older children. Regardless of age, children must pay full price unless otherwise noted, and a parent or guardian must accompany those under 18.

Special Travel Arrangements
Participants may wish to extend their stay in the group hotel either before or after the tour. Our tour operators will work with you on these arrangements, dependent upon space availability. Please note that certain tour operators are unable to help with pre-tour arrangements. Your pre-tour bulletins will further explain all options.

Photography
Participants on tour may be photographed for the educational and promotional purposes of the Smithsonian Institution. Photographs may be printed in publications and posted on websites to promote Smithsonian Journeys. Travelers who prefer that their image not be used must advise the tour manager at the beginning of the tour.

Smoking Policy
For the comfort of all participants, we ask that there be no smoking during all group activities, including excursions and meals. On certain cruises, there is no smoking aboard the ship. Your pre-tour bulletins will provide further information.

Preparing for Your Journey

Prior to departure, you will receive tour bulletins containing both general and tour specific information to help you prepare for your travel experience. These bulletins will include:

  • Passport and visa instructions
  • Flight information
  • Weather, clothing, and packing suggestions
  • A suggested reading list
  • General information about the countries you will visit, e.g. the food, customs, medical precautions, and currency.
  • Information about your Smithsonian Journeys Expert and tour staff
  • Baggage tag(s) and name badge(s)
  • Final itinerary
  • Participant list

READ CAREFULLY: RESPONSIBILITY STATEMENT AND  LIABILITY DISCLAIMER

Smithsonian Journeys tours are organized and administered by professional tour operators hired as independent contractors. The use of designated tour operators allows the Smithsonian to offer participants a wide array of educational travel opportunities. The tour operator acts only as an agent for the respective suppliers by making arrangements for transportation, accommodations, and other services. Neither the Smithsonian Institution nor the tour operator shall be held liable for personal injury, death, property damage or accident, delay or irregularity arising out of any act or omission of these suppliers. The Smithsonian Institution and the tour operator reserve the right, without penalty, to make changes in the published itinerary whenever in their judgment conditions warrant, or if they deem it necessary for the comfort, convenience, or safety of tour participants.

The Smithsonian Institution and its designated tour operator also reserve the right, without penalty, to withdraw the tour announced, to decline to accept any person as a participant in a tour, or to require any participant to withdraw from the tour at any time (including, but not limited for inappropriate, or offensive behavior) when such action is determined by tour staff to be in the best interests of the health, safety or general welfare of the tour group or the individual participant.

Dates, schedules, tour details, and costs, although provided in good faith based on information available at the time of publication on the website, in the brochure or catalog, are subject to change and revision.

AS A CONDITION OF ACCEPTANCE OF ANY APPLICATION, EACH APPLICANT MUST AGREE TO THE STATEMENT SET FORTH BELOW:

The undersigned has read carefully the Responsibility Statement and Liability Disclaimer set forth above, the schedule of activities for this tour, as well as the terms and conditions of application and participation as set forth in the tour materials, and recognizes and accepts any risk associated with the tour and the conditions, including the refund policy, set forth in the tour materials. The undersigned further acknowledges that there are many risks and uncertainties inherent in any travel tour, including but not limited to the hazards of various modes of transportation, forces of nature including, but not limited to, weather, flooding, and high/low water levels, acts or omissions of foreign governments, terrorism, war or insurrection, theft, illness, bites from or attacks by animals, insects, or pests, and damage to person or property due to the negligent acts or omissions of tour staff or others. In consideration of, and as part payment for, the right to participate in the tour, the undersigned, on behalf of himself, his dependents, heirs, executors, administrators and assigns, agrees to release the Smithsonian Institution, its Regents, officers, employees, representatives or agents, the United States, and the tour operator and its officers, employees and agents, from liability for personal injury, death, property damage or loss suffered by any person in connection with this tour, even if caused by the negligence (but not the reckless, willful, or fraudulent conduct) of tour staff or other related persons or entities. In addition, by registering for this tour, the applicant certifies that he or she is mentally and physically capable of full participation in this tour. By registering for a Smithsonian Journey, the participant agrees to the Responsibility Statement and Liability Disclaimer and the Terms and Conditions herein.

By Registering For A Smithsonian Journey, The Participant Agrees To The Responsibility Statement And Liability Disclaimer And The Terms And Conditions Herein. Updated April, 2019. ©2019, Smithsonian Institution