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. 

Overview

Take an exciting 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 rafting novices, this journey features three days on the mighty Colorado from Canyonlands National Park. Throughout your trip, your experts and river guides provide expertise about the region’s geologic history, flora and fauna, and early Native American presence and describe John Wesley Powell’s full-length canyon expedition from the Green River to Lake Powell.

Highlights Include

  • White-water Rafting: Take a jet boat along calm waters in Canyonlands National Park to your put-in point at the confluence of the Green and Colorado Rivers. Then enjoy the exhilaration of Class III-V white water from your pontoon boat navigated by expert river guides. Your boat will float and churn down the Colorado through Cataract Canyon, one of the best rapid runs in the American West. A charter flight back to Moab provides yet another perspective of the river, and the spectacular towering cliffs, and canyons.
  • Active Adventures: Enjoy a variety of easy to moderate hikes through twisting slickrock canyons and up to an ancestral Puebloan dwelling during your river journey. Plus, go into Arches National Park and Deadhorse State Park for hikes and breathtaking views of towering arches, buttes, and plateaus.
  • Tent Camping: Savor the desert solitude and beauty as you enjoy deluxe tent camping for two nights, as well as delicious meals, star-filled skies, and the camaraderie of other adventurous travelers.

Limited to 20 Smithsonian Journeys guests. Daily hikes from 1 to 5 miles.

Itinerary

Day 1 – Arrive in Grand Junction, Colorado

Arrive during the day into Grand Junction. Gather this evening for a welcome reception and opening remarks by your Smithsonian Journeys Expert. (R,D)

Day 2 – Dead Horse Point State Park, Arches National Park, Utah

After breakfast depart for the red rock desert of Utah’s Canyonlands. The first stop will be Dead Horse Point State Park. From high atop this mesa-promontory vantage point, take in sweeping views of Canyonlands National Park and the Colorado River, landscapes that will be visited later in the trip. Drive to Arches National Park for a short walk to view one of the park’s most popular natural arches. Late in the day arrive at Red Cliffs Lodge, and enjoy dinner with views over the Colorado River. (B,L,D)

Hike/Walk: Delicate Arch (.5 miles), Easy or Landscape Arch (1.5-miles) easy

Day 3 – Jetboat to the confluence of the Green and Colorado Rivers

Travel to the launch point and the start of the three-day rafting journey. Board a jetboat and cruise down the flat waters of the mighty Colorado River through the heart of Canyonlands National Park. Stop at a scenic spot for a picnic lunch, then continue towards the Colorado’s confluence with the Green River. All along the way marvel at the beauty of the towering red cliff walls of Canyonlands. As you cruise, learn about the area’s fascinating natural, geologic, and human history. Arrive at the confluence of the two rivers where a deluxe campsite awaits. Relax at the camp and take in the canyon’s grandeur from the sandy riverbanks or hike up to an overlook and visit an ancestral Puebloan dwellings. Cap off the extraordinary day with a chef-prepared gourmet dinner under the stars. (B,L,D)

Day 4 – White-water rafting through the Cataract Canyon

Wake to freshly brewed coffee and a hot, hearty, alfresco breakfast. Mid-morning head to meet the rafts for the upcoming white-water adventure—choosing from a large, J-rig pontoon raft or a paddle raft. Journey over as many as ten rapids this morning, as the river doubles in size and force. Enjoy lunch on the river bank.

An excursion to explore the canyon further by foot will be offered or relax riverside watching other’s run the rapids. In the afternoon, raft to even bigger white water, navigating through rapids with names such as Big Drop, Satan’s Gut, and Little Niagara. Late in the day pull up to a sandbar where a deluxe campsite and refreshments await, and relax and relive the day’s adventures. Enjoy a delicious riverside dinner and then take in the beauty of a star-filled sky before settling in to your deluxe tent. (B,L,D)

Day 5 – Lake Powell, scenic flight over Canyonlands National Park

After breakfast and time riverside, board the rafts for a final morning of rapid running and, if time permits, there will be an option to hike Clearwater Canyon or Dark Canyon before reaching the take-out point in the calm waters of Lake Powell. After docking, depart for your charted flight and soar over Canyonlands National Park enroute back to Moab. Return to Red Cliffs Lodge for a farewell dinner and enjoy a final evening of camaraderie and celebration. (B,L,D)

Day 6 – Depart for Home

Depart Moab, Utah and the splendor of canyon country and make the return drive to Grand Junction, Colorado for afternoon flights home. (B)

Included meals are denoted as follows: Breakfast (B), Lunch (L), Reception (R), Dinner (D)