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The Ultimate Raft Trips in Cataract Canyon

Cataract Canyon is often overshadowed by its downriver counterpart, the Grand Canyon primarily due to name recognition. But the whitewater and scenery in Cataract are comparable and absolutely breathtaking. It’s somewhat of a hidden gem. The trip cuts right through the middle of Canyonlands National Park. In fact, the river itself was recently made a “district” of Canyonlands National Park.

Cataract Canyon offers comparable beauty and whitewater excitement, with more affordable multiple-day trip options and better last-minute availability than Western’s already-sold-out excursions through the Grand Canyon (with one exception –  a few spaces remain available for the Grand Canyon 6-Day trip on August 25). While Cataract Canyon bookings are up nearly 40 percent this year with waiting lists on some departure dates, there are still a number of prime departures available.

The two-day Cataract Canyon Express designed for those challenged with busy schedules offers a 100-mile, thrilling adventure via motorized raft at $695 per person ages 12 and up, run weekly through early July.

Cataract Canyon Classic engages guests for four days of rafting and three nights of deluxe camping on the banks of the river and a little more time for side canyon exploration at $1,150 per person and $995 per youth ages 10-15, weekly through August.

The six-day Cataract Ranch and Raft includes two nights at Sorrel River Ranch with an off-road Hummer Safari and optional horseback ride in advance of a four-day river adventure at $1,730 per person and $1,560 for ages 10-15; weekly through August.

The trip has much warmer water than Grand Canyon and water levels fluctuate more because it’s not dam-controlled.  This gives visitors the chance to choose between bigger rapids in May and June and more moderate (but still very exciting) whitewater later in the summer. Guests also have a choice of boats: high-speed snout rig, j-rig, oar-powered rig, and paddle raft.

Trips depart from Moab, Utah, and getting to Moab has never been easier. There are direct flights from Denver to Moab; air service is also available to Grand Junction, CO, a 1.5- hour drive to Moab, and Salt Lake City, a 4-hour drive to Moab.

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