White River

Put-in: Near Bonanza, Utah
Take-Out: BLM Campground
Trip Length: 3 days
Mileage: Variable
Class: I-II

This is probably Utah's best family trip! More information:

One-day Trips
The White River is too extensive to be rafted in a single day.

Multi-day Trips | White River guides |
The White River is full of diverse experiences to suit every taste on a rafting trip.

A White River rafting trip is a step back in time following the footsteps of Western history. Born from snowmelt in the Colorado Mountains, the White River meanders over 175 miles to its confluence with the Green River in Utah.

As the river wanders into the White River Canyon it enters one of the least visited canyons in the West. In this area, the White River still retains many of those prehistoric sights not seen on most Western rivers these days: piles of driftwood, abundant beavers, low water beaches, groves of ages-old cottonwoods, native fish, and open vistas.

Stark tawny cliffs clasp you in solitude. At night, one of the darkest night skies in North America is festooned with billions of stars. Wild horses and other wildlife trek to the White River to quench their thirst in mornings. Spring flocks of colorful mountain bluebirds flutter past waterfowl staking out their territory, and the graceful song of canyon wren paints the background.

The White River races along impetuously, sweeping around each bend as if some great rapid awaits below. It then slows and chatters over easy rapids. This is truly a place for people to learn and hone their river running skills: from young to elderly. At the takeout confident smiles from families and groups betray the intimacy discovered here. For many that intimacy develops a feeling of protectiveness for this unique place that is becoming more and more threatened.

In 1871 three men from John Wesley Powell's Colorado River Expedition hiked cross-country from the Green River to map the area. Near mile 37 they discovered an area of pinnacles and spires named Goblin City by a previous expedition. Frederick S. Dellenbaugh, artist and mapper for the Powell Expedition wrote: "What lies before you is a series of stacked ridges with towers, spires... 'numerous small buttes and square rocks, almost in rows and about the size of small buildings, so there is a striking suggestion of a town.'" The location of Goblin City had been forgotten and lost until a local resident researched and rediscovered it in 1989. The trail from the river to Goblin City is a rewarding moderately 2-hour hike to the ridge overlooking this geological oddity and photographic opportunity.

Information courtesy of Dinosaur River Expeditions.

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