Moab Rafting Itinerary

Moab Rafting Itinerary

By Chad Taylor & Jake Wilhelmsen
March 09, 2017 | Updated January 22, 2024

This article is sponsored by Western River Expeditions

Take Me Rafting!

Stillwater to Serious Soapsuds. Whatever floats your boat.

If the different things to do in Moab were each represented by one of the Golden Girls, then...

...Dorothy would represent Moab’s hiking — the most obvious example, fairly straightforward and stoic in nature.

...Blanche would represent Moab’s biking — just about as well known as Dorothy/hiking, not quite as accessible, but people who love it love it with a passion.

...Rose would represent Moab’s river rafting — maybe the third one you think of, but the most likely to make you laugh out loud and arguably the most fun in general.

(If you think you’re going to get through this page without a bunch more Golden Girls references, you’re a fool.)

While hiking and biking are easy to get into, rafting requires a bit more time, gear, commitment and/or equipment. But to truly tap into the unparallelled experience Moab has to offer, you have to ride the river(s).

Not ready to acquire a boat and a trailer and enough experience to know how to not kill yourself but still want to travel down the [river] and back again? is your pal. is your confidant. Allow us to recommend an easy option to get floaty: Moab’s own Western River Expeditions.

Throw a party. Invite everyone you know. When you get off the river, they’ll all thank you for being a friend.

Here are our three favorite multi-day trips:

Two-Day Cataract Canyon Express

This is the quickest way to see the Cataract Canyon (blurred vision not included). Rated one of the best rafting trips in the country, it’s a cruise through Canyonlands National Park on the Colorado River. Navigate through 30 whitewater rapids as you explore ancient Native American habitations on your way to Lake Powell.

The Deets

Four-Day Cataract Canyon Classic

Similar to the Cataract Canyon Express, but with more time built in to explore and relax. Oh, and you get to return to Moab via a scenic flight above Canyonlands National Park.

The Deets

  • Begins and Ends: Moab
  • Season: May-August
  • River Distance: 100 miles
  • Rapids: Class III-V
  • Boat Type: J-Rig, oar boat, paddle rafts (depending on water levels)
  • Min. Age: 12 (May-June) 10 (July-Aug)
  • Itinerary
  • Packing Guide
  • Guest Reviews

Five-Day Desolation Canyon

This one is a little more family friendly with mild rapids. And it’s on the Green River (the chief tributary of the Colorado River). The trip begins with a scenic flight to the starting line. No big deal, but you’ll travel along a corridor of 40 million years of geologic history – twisted mountains, dramatic cliffs, and towering plateaus. You’ll run Wire Fence and Three Fords rapids while you explore famous outlaw hideouts, ancient dinosaur habitats, and Fremont Native American petroglyphs.

The Deets

Additional Activities

Add a couple days to the end of your trip and stop by Moab Adventure Center on Moab’s Main Street. They’ll set you up for a variety of adventures. Here are some of our recommendations:

Jeep Rental: Trust us, it’s way better to cruise around Moab behind the wheel of a Jeep than your Toyota Corolla.

Hot Air Ballooning: See Moab the way the man upstairs does.

Hummer Safaris: Traverse Slickrock like a tourist...because you are one.

Stand Up Paddleboarding (SUP): It’s the new fad and you need a new Instagram profile pic.

Arches Hiking Tours: See the sights you saw photos of that inspired you to go to Moab in the first place.

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