Cataract Canyon Rafting
Trip Planning & Itinerary
Cataract Canyon Itinerary
EVENING PRIOR TO YOUR TRIP:
Verify you have all that is suggested on the packing list. If in Moab, check into our office (745 Kane Creek Blvd, Moab, UT 84532) at 7 PM for a pre-trip organizational meeting.
Meet at 8:00 AM at the Mild to Wild Office (745 Kane Creek Blvd, Moab, UT 84532). We will start our adventure with a 30-minute drive to the put-in at Potash followed by a thorough safety orientation and then we will hit the river! Our first day on the Colorado River will be calm and we will cover many miles through towering canyon walls and beautiful desert scenery. We may even stop for a swim or short side hike before lunch. We will find a beautiful sandy beach to stop for our picnic lunch. Lunch can be mid-afternoon, so be sure to pack some granola bars or snacks to hold over the kids. We recommend a fanny pack to keep these essentials nearby on the rafts. After 4-5 hours on the river, including our lunch, we will stop for the evening on another fantastic sandy beach for camp. While your guides will tie down the boats, set up camp (kitchen, camp chairs, groover- the portable toilet), we welcome your help in setting up your bedroom (tent) and getting yourself settled. Camp allows plenty of time to relax, explore hikes, play on the beach, soak in some rays, beach games, read a book or nap. Then comes the pre-dinner hors-d’oeuvres while the guides prepare a delicious gourmet steak dinner, scrumptious salad, warm bread, and guide specialty of potato, pasta or rice. As you savor dinner, you will relish in the smell of the Dutch Oven dessert as the whole camp will smell of a sweet aroma. As the sun drops and the stars shine, we enjoy fun, games, and stories around the campfire. Surely, this will be one of your best night’s sleep in a long time, under the stars!
DAY TWO ON…
Wake to the smell of brewing coffee and a crackling fire. The early bird catches the worm as the sunrise can be the most breathtaking part of the day in the canyon, with vibrant, Instagram-worthy hues. Fill yourself with a delicious guide-prepared breakfast, as they clean up and pack up the kitchen. Your help packing up your gear and tent will be appreciated. Your guides will rig the boats and secure gear. Then, it is time to launch on the river for another day of adventure and memories to last a lifetime! On the river, we will pass the confluence with the Green as we enter Cataract Canyon. Here, the current picks up and in the upcoming days, we will enjoy thrilling big drop rapids that will be exhilarating and satiate any whitewater enthusiast. Down in the canyon, we will find many opportunities for hikes, from the Anasazi ruins at Indian Creek to the 360-degree views at the Doll House, we will find amazing experiences at every turn. Just like previous evenings, we will settle ourselves in a beautiful sandy camp for the night. As guides prepare a delicious meal, you can get your “bedroom” settled and find yourself a spot to relax or take a self-guided walk exploring your surroundings. Many side hikes rise from the camp. On the last day of our trip, we will reach Lake Powell where we will reach our take-out at Hite Crossing. Here we prepare to say goodbye to our new friends, cement in our minds this magnificent scenery and prepare to adjust back to the hustle and bustle of life.
Important Note: As the river is different every time it is run, so is each trip! Depending on water flows, the number of participants, and other circumstances Mother Nature imposes, our itineraries are just an estimate!
Cataract Canyon Rapids & Water Levels
Have you heard raft guides and river folks throw around the term ‘CFS’ but aren’t sure what that means? So what is CFS? CFS stands for cubic feet per second which is a unit of measurement referring to the volume and speed of water flow. So basically, if a river has a high CFS that means the water is flowing faster resulting in larger rapids. With this said, CFS is very important to be aware of as different levels will give you different experiences on the water. Cataract Canyon considered having high water when the CFS is 20,000 and above and low water is around 4000 CFS. If the river is low, your rafting trip might be more mellow and have less intense waves. Gauges are installed on rivers in order to measure the CFS and that information can be found on city water data sites. Inflatable kayaks are not used for high water flows as a safety precaution.
Peak flows occur in the late spring and early summer. Low flows occur in late summer and early fall. Plan your trip accordingly.
If your Cataract trip occurs during a period of high flow, you can expect multiple class IV & V rapids with class III mixed in. There where be plenty of whitewater! If your trip is during a period of low flow, you can expect class II & III rapids. For trips taking place with medium flow rate, expect a mix of class III & IV rapids.