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Utah Rafting
Desolation Canyon 5 Day Trip

Desolation Canyon 5 Day Trip Itinerary

A beauty betrayed by her name, Desolation Canyon begins with a land of non-descript desert hills, quickly towering into the high pine and aspen covered Tavaputs Plateau. But the revelation of this canyon's secret soul is kept from those unwilling to trek further in and discover what's on the inside: majestic canyons that will make your jaw drop from day one to day five.

The docile Green River that carves out such beauty is gentle, playful and fun-loving. This makes Desolation Canyon a charmer for children (young and old) playing in the sand, with waves each day of the expedition.

Desolation Canyon River Map

Day 1: Desolation Canyon »

Experience a breathtaking morning flight over the canyons of the Green River, landing atop a spectacular desert plateau. Enjoy a beautiful hike or van ride to the river's edge. Launch onto a calm stretch of the Green River, perfect for swimming and relaxing. Before your first delectable camp dinner, explore the area, play a game or just relax and soak in the soothing beauty of Utah's Desolation Canyon while your guides do all the cooking.

Landing at Sand Wash Airstrip

Days 2 & 3: Desolation Canyon »

Awaken to a hearty breakfast and hike a short distance to 1,000-year-old Fremont Native American petroglyphs or maybe an old moonshiner's hideout. Savor a delicious riverside buffet lunch. Then, climb aboard your oar boat and let your guide pilot you through several exciting Green River rapids, or you and a partner may chose to paddle your own inflatable kayak.

Cataract Canyon waterfall

Day 4: Desolation Canyon »

Hike to a historic homestead rich in folklore and outlaw history. Run Wire Fence and Three Fords rapids, among the biggest whitewater on the Green River. Float out of Desolation Canyon, and enter scenic Gray Canyon, traversing 40 million years of geologic history in the blink of an eye. Savor another night camping under the innumerable stars of the astounding southern Utah sky.

Whitewater rafting in Cataract Canyon

Day 5: Desolation Canyon »

After a restful night under the stars, you'll awaken to relish your last morning in the canyon. Even by your final day, you will be amazed at how surreal it is to wake up with the first rays of sun gently spreading through the shadows of the Green River's towering cliffs. You'll enjoy a riverside breakfast then set off for more whitewater excitement interspersed with calm stretches for swimming and occasional waterfights. After lunch, you'll celebrate your successful journey and return with a 1-hour bus ride to Moab, Utah (arriving approximately 2:30 PM).

*Note: This itinerary is provided as a sample. Daily activities and sights will vary based on weather conditions and guide preferences.

Desolation Canyon Utah Rafting Nefertiti Couple

Suggested Adventure Extensions »

Add it before or after your Desolation Canyon trip, but be sure to make the most of your stay in Moab by extending your Adventure with us. Western's Moab Adventure Center is your one stop for any adventures you'd like to add to your itinerary.

OPTION A: Experienced Moab Adventure Center trail guides will lead you through Arches Natl Park early morning (4 hrs), then join us again in the evening for a uniquely thrilling Sunset Hummer Safari (3 hrs) over ancient petrified sand dunes.

OPTION B: Grab some morning thrills on a Slickrock Hummer Safari (2 hrs) and then join up with an Arches Sunset Van Tour (4 hrs) through Arches National Park.

OPTIONS C - Z: The sky is literally NOT the limit with these adventure possibilites... We've got Hot Air Ballooning, Scenic Flights, Ziplines, Canyoneering... Call us and we'll help you decide!

Top 12 Adventures in Moab

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Before your Desolation Canyon Trip...

Beginning in the quaint town of Moab, Utah this trip offers plenty of opportunity for additional adventure, shopping, dining and relaxing. Schedule a few days before or after your trip to explore downtown Moab, Arches National Park, Canyonlands National Park, and participate in some unforgettable Moab activities such as an off-road Hummer Safari or canyoneering. At any time before departure, Western can add to your itinerary additional activities, lodging, and Jeep rental. Simply give us a call and we'll arrange everything for you.


Once you make your reservation, you will receive a Confirmation Sheet (via email). You should also receive several other timely emails that will help you with travel planning, packing and general information that guests have found useful.

Travel Planning Resources

Where and When to Meet

Meet in the lobby of the SpringHill Suites by Marriott in Moab on the morning of your river trip. [SEE CONFIRMATION SHEET FOR EXACT DEPARTURE TIME].

How to get to Moab, Utah

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After your Desolation Canyon Trip...

You'll return back to SpringHill Suites by Marriott around 2:30 PM the final day of your trip. Depending on your schedule, you may want to reserve at least one night of lodging the final day of your trip. If you will be traveling on but wish to shower before leaving Moab, we can direct you to several locations in town that offer shower facilities.

Tip » After returning to Moab, we highly recommend adding a Sunset Hummer Safari to your itinerary. You'll have time to check into your hotel, relax, eat some dinner, and then experience a one-of-a-kind off-road adventure. You'll ride over incredible sandstone fins out to a beautiful sunset overlook that will take your breath away. For optional 2-hour to full-day excursions in Moab, Utah before or after your trip plus helpful Moab area information, visit Western River's Moab Adventure Center.