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 Laminated)
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.