In the first part of the trip the current slides us quietly past brilliantly colored cliffs and towering table-top mesas. Here the river conditions both body and soul, giving you time to prepare yourself for the behemoth rapids waiting below the confluence of the Green and Colorado rivers.
Nowhere on its entire course does the Colorado River descend more precipitously than through Cataract Canyon. On river night three, the Colorado River will not rest. The roar of the cataracts will lull you to sleep, dance in your dreams, and then wake you the next morning with a new bearing. Time to batten down the hatches and hold on. Twenty-three BIG ONES, among them Mile Long, Ben Hurt and the grand-daddy of them all, The Big Drops, a succession of three big-hitters that will take you laughing and cheering, 30 feet closer to sea level in less than a mile.
Never in my life have I spent so many consecutive days in a state of wonderment, disbelief, high excitement and continual laughter. The spirit will remain as an everlasting and dominating memory of a lifetime. What an incredible group of humans came together to raft, row and float Cataract Canyon.
Cataract Canyon is an anomaly. Its rapids rank along with those of the Grand Canyon in power and difficulty. In fact, the river becomes unruly during the run off in May and June.
Yet Cataract Canyon contains mile after mile of rafting through canyons where you are awe struck, not at whitewater, but the deep multicolored canyons of this section of Canyonlands National Park. Side canyon hikes to ruins and petroglyphs delight you as you head toward the Confluence of the Colorado and Green rivers.
Once you reach the Confluence, the Colorado's behemoth rapids emerge. Rapids 15 through 23 comprise Mile Long and The Big Drops, a fall of 80 feet in less than four miles-one of the Colorado's steepest descents.
One of the advantages of a river trip is the flexibility of the daily itinerary. It can vary widely from one trip to the next based on group desires, Mother Nature, and courtesy for other groups on the river. This typical itinerary illustrates a five-day trip through Cataract Canyon. From July to September, we lengthen the Cataract trip by one day and follow this general itinerary.
Day 1 - Meet group at headquarters in Green River, Utah. After a 1 ½ hour drive to the put-in the river takes you past a collection of table top mesas. Short hikes reveal a variety of ancient artifacts.
Day 2 - The river peacefully meanders into the heart of Canyonlands National Park. Quiet beaches, hidden canyons and refreshing water fights are common through this section of the trip.
Day 3 - We reach the confluence of the Colorado and Green rivers. The Ute Indians believed the Confluence to be the center of the universe, and some people still do. Just below the meeting of these two rivers enjoy a view of the Doll House, an appropriately named collection of free standing, sandstone columns.
Day 4 - Possible early morning hike into Doll House. Ascend steeply to the canyon rim in the Maze District with red rock formations. After descending to the river, the rapids of Cataract Canyon await. The climax: Big Drop Rapids with Little Niagara and Satan's Gut.
Day 5 - Lunch at Rock Canyon and a trip across Lake Powell with the aid of motorboat "Hayduke" brings you to Hite Marina and the end of the trip. A two-hour drive brings you back to Green River.
Hiking is a highlight of the trip, however, it is strictly an optional activity. There are many interesting short hikes available. Hiking can be done in durable sneakers or lightweight hiking boots. Remember that hiking and other activities vary widely pending time, and what other plans are ahead for the day on the river.
Fishing - Trout can be found on the upper stretches of the Green River the first two days of the trip. This section is in the state of Colorado, so if you wish to fish these two days you will need a Colorado fishing license, which can be purchased en route the morning of your trip (be sure to let your trip leader know). Most of the fish caught from the river after the first two days will be catfish. However, on the third day we will arrive at Jones Hole, a beautiful trout stream. We normally spend about three hours here and may even camp. You will need a Utah fishing license to fish here, which may be purchased at most sporting good stores, or Smiths in Vernal prior to the trip. Please note that these stores will not be open the morning you meet for your trip. Only artificial lures and flies are allowed on this stream.
5-Days - $937.00 (adults), $798.00 (children ages 8-18 and Seniors 65+);
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USA Utah Outdoor: Water Drifter Canoeing/Kayaking/Rafting
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