We wish we could control Mother Nature, it sure would make our lives a lot easier. But you can plan for whatever weather she decides to come your way! Don’t be fooled by the desert, it can and will get chilly. Bring the extra layers, you’ll be glad you did when a thunderstorm or breezy overcast day rolls through.
Rapids & Water Levels in Desolation Canyon
Have you heard raft guides and river folks throw around the term ‘CFS’ but aren’t sure what that means? CFS stands for cubic feet per second. This is a unit of measurement referring to the volume and speed of water flow. Basically, if a river has a high CFS that means the water is flowing faster resulting in larger rapids. This is very important to be aware of as different levels will give you different experiences on the water. Desolation Canyon is considered having high water when the CFS is 50,000 and above and low water is around 900 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 can be found on city water data sites. Inflatable kayaks are not used at high water flows as a safety precaution.
If your Cataract Canyon trip occurs during a period of high flow, you can expect multiple very large class III & II rapids with class I mixed in. There where be plenty of whitewater! If your trip is during a period of low flow, you can still expect class II & I rapids. For trips taking place with medium flow rate, expect a mix of both.