Two of our favorite rivers for rafting in Utah are the Green River, and, of course, the Colorado.
Raft the Green River in Utah
The Green River offers a variety of rafting experiences including guided and unguided tours.
Whitewater on the Northern Green River
The section of the Green River where it runs past Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area sports Class 1 and Class II whitewater. Further down, where it feeds into Dinosaur National Monument the rapids offer Class I to Class IV rides. Keep floating downriver to Desolation and Gray Canyons, that, together feature 60 rapids from Class I to Class III. Outfitters can be found in Price and at Green River.
Floating on the Southern Green River
Many people looking for a milder experience guide themselves through the Green River Daily section of the river just above the town of Green River which offers Class I and Class II whitewater.
Dorie Down Desolation Canyon on Boats
Moki Mac River Expeditions pulls out the dories, small flat-bottomed boats used by fresh and saltwater fisherman for centuries, in a unique float down Desolation Canyon on the Green River. The colorful wooden boats can hold up to four people each. I've seen ocean fishermen arriving to shore in these fleet fleets, literally surfing in as they cut their engines to catch a waves. The dorie floats and bobs like a cork making this one of the most fun watercrafts to ride the Green River. The company is owned by three brothers whose father began organizing rafting groups on the river in 1947. (www.mokimac.com)
Annual Classical Music Green River Journey
One of the most unique rafting adventures is Bill Dvorak’s Annual Classical Music Green River Journey. Dvorak is one of the river’s most experienced guides. The Kayak and Rafting Expeditions tour invites a handful of members of the Los Angeles Philharmonic to serenade guests with Bach, Beethoven, Ravel and Bill’s fifth cousin, Czech composer Antonin Dvorak. Each morning, the as the culinary team fills the air with the scent of fresh coffee, the musical team sits down to a practice session that prepares the spirit for the day’s adventure.
Along with rafting, guests will hike to Puebloan ruins, take time to view wildlife and splash in the river’s edge. Evening song is accompanied by passed hors d’oeuvres and wine. Dinner may be blackened salmon, tropical salads and Black Forest Cake. The eight-day trip down Desolation and Gray canyons promise at least four concerts, concluding with a formal concert. Dvorak stages the outdoor series in natural caverns and amphitheaters that enhance the sound. That’s what I call getting in harmony with nature. (www.dvorakexpeditions.com)
Utah Rafting on the Colorado River
When most people think about rafting the Colorado River, they picture catching a whitewater wave through the Grand Canyon. Rafting tours through the Grand Canyon are popular with a number of guiding companies, but the National Park Service restricts the number of passes allowed each year and only approves one pass per year per adventurer.
A different way to go is rafting the section of the Colorado River at the Confluence where the Green River dumps into the Colorado at Cataract Canyon. It's a 100-mile-long chasm that meanders through the heart of Canyonlands National Park. Check with the Visitor Centers in Moab, Arches, and Canyonlands for a list of local guides. Read more about rafting near Moab.
Other Utah Rivers
Westwater Canyon is less well known outside of the Salt Lake City area, and so perfect for those who want a wild experience with eleven impressive rapids and up to Class IV. Known for its bird watching opportunities, this hidden jewel of a canyon gets up close and personal when the Colorado is forced to squeeze through the narrow Black Granite Gorge creating Funnel Falls, Surprise, Bowling Alley, Sock-it-to-Me, the Last Chance and Skull rapids.