The Cataract Canyon Itinerary
At 5 pm (MDT) the day BEFORE the departure we meet at our office just outside of Moab Utah for a pre-trip meeting. Here you will learn what to expect and prepare for, receive your dry bags, sign Assumption of Risk forms and get a chance to ask any last minute questions.
If you cannot make the meeting, please let us know beforehand. That way we can drop off your dry bags and any last minute instructions at your hotel.
Orientation time: 5 PM (MDT) the day before your trip starts.
Orientation: The evening before the trip, we meet at our office in Moab for a trip orientation. Here you will meet Page, featured guest, renowned sculptor from the Santa Clara Pueblo, Roxanne Swentzel., and one of your guides, learn what to expect and prepare for, receive your dry bags, sign release forms, and ask questions. The orientation is followed by a no-host dinner with Page, Roxanne, and Sheri Griffith to kick off the creative adventure.
This morning you will be transported from the Sheri Griffith Expeditions office to the Potash Boat Ramp on the Colorado River. You may catch a glimpse of petroglyphs on the cliff walls, dinosaur tracks on some of the roadside boulders or fossils in the rocks surrounding the boat ramp.
Once on the river we settle into the boats and begin our journey down river through the heart of Canyonlands National Park. This morning guests may visit a petrified wood bed and will pass the Pyramid Butte.
The canyon walls are a beautiful, deep red which contrasts beautifully with the pristine blue sky that will be your ceiling for the next 5 days. After lunch, we settle back onto the boats and continue downstream, where we will pass Tex's Grotto, where a Grand Piano is set up for concerts during the Moab Music Festival, and Dead Horse Point, where the movies Mission Impossible 2 and Thelma and Louise were filmed.
We will pull off the river to camp for the night. Guests can sit back and relax or hike the canyons while their guides setup the kitchen and dining areas. Swimming is also an option. Dinner prepared for you by your river guides. Meals are wonderful combinations that fit well into the atmosphere of your canyon dining room.
Note: Meals are served from a set daily menu, but you are welcome to request, in advance, special dishes or tell us if there are particular things you would prefer not to have.
Potential Hiking Opportunities: Tex's Grotto, Little Bridges, Petrified Wood.
Wake to the smells of fresh coffee and a delicious breakfast cooking in the morning after you eat, we will assist you in taking down your tent and in preparing for the day's journey if you need.
This morning we will pass Lockhart Canyon, where Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid used to hide their stolen cattle until they could move them to market. We will also see Indian Ruins at Lathrop Canyon.
We'll pull off river for a healthy lunch and possibly a short hike. Vegetarian option is available with advance notice.
This afternoon we will see picturesque Airport Tower, which rises nearly 1200 Feet above the canyon rim, and is long enough to land an airplane on. We will also see the Coffee Pot Ruin and the "Racing Stripe," a bright white stripe of Gypsum suspended midst the deep red sandstone that makes up the rest of the canyon.
We will pull off river for another evening of big sandy beaches, exploration, contemplation and beautiful starry skies. After we assemble our River Side Oasis, you are welcome to sit back and relax or take a short hike up Indian Creek Canyon to see the waterfalls (spring trips only). Spend the evening in warm camaraderie as you relax and enjoy the desert wonders around you.
Potential Hiking Opportunities: Lathrop Canyon or Indian Creek Canyon
Breakfast is served in your canyon dining room. Breakfast offerings will vary throughout your rafting expedition. Hot coffee, tea and chocolate are always available, as are juices, and fresh fruit. After breakfast, clients will board the boats and we will head down river.
We may take the opportunity to participate in the Loop Hike, which takes us to the top of the ridge around which the Colorado River takes a four mile bend onto itself. You will be able to see both sides of the ridge from nearly 1000 feet above the river! Enjoy another healthy and delicious Lunch, served as you visit a large sandy beach alongside the river.
This afternoon we will reach the Confluence of the Green and Colorado Rivers. We now enter the true heart of Canyonlands National Park as we near the Confluence. If it has rained recently, the mixing of the rivers will be defined in brilliant swirls of red and green. We will lay-over near Brown Betty, a beautiful river-side beach.
Potential Hiking Opportunities: The Loop Hike or The Dolls House
This morning's fare is complimented by the sound of rushing water and the anticipation of a great day of running the famous rapids of Cataract Canyon. We will load everything back onto the boats and prepare ourselves for the exciting day at hand.
This morning we will run some of the biggest whitewater in the Western United States (on trips during May and June, later season trips ~July and August~ have smaller rapids). Rapids whose names are almost as intimidating as the whitewater itself: Big Drop 2, North Seas and Capsize. Everyone will be thoroughly soaked as we take a break at midday for lunch and to catch our breath.
Stop for Lunch and for some "Land Time". While the guides prepare lunch, guests are welcome to explore the canyon a bit or watch as others run the big rapids they have just been through.
Once we have finished with lunch, we get back on the boats and head into the big whitewater. This afternoon we will navigate through more intimidating rapids, including Big Drop 3, Satan's Gut and Little Niagara. There may be stops along the way as the guide scouts the rapids to find the best route through the churning whitewater.
We will pull off the river. After we recreate our riverside oasis, guests are welcome to kick back, relax and relive the day's adventures over and over again as the evening deepens and a bright canopy of stars replaces the blue sky.
Though every trip has its own unique “last night,” traditionally the last night on the river is a "Dress Up" night. Anything goes, from formal wear to clown outfits with floppy hats. Guests are not required to participate, but are welcome to use their imagination and help celebrate an amazing trip.
Your final day of rafting begins with hot coffee, tea or hot chocolate followed by a delicious breakfast, prepared by your guides.
This morning we will pass through the final rapids. We may have some opportunities for hiking in some of the canyons previously lost to Lake Powell's waters, but accessible now that the waters in the lake have dropped. Clearwater Canyon and Dark Canyon are guide favorites.
We'll climb back aboard the boats and follow the Colorado River as it pushes its way into the calm waters of Lake Powell. Here we'll be in the deepest part of the canyon, surrounded by nearly 2,000 foot cliffs. We'll see the Dirty Devil River and Piano Leg Arch.
We will motor off of the lake and pull off near what used to be the Hite Marina on Lake Powell. You will be escorted to the landing strip for your return flight to Moab. As you take this scenic flight, watch for the Henry Mountains, the White Rim, the Abajo Mountains, the La Sal Mountains and nearly the entire Colorado Plateau. You will bet met at the Moab airport and transferred back to Moab and the Sheri Griffith Expeditions office where your journey ends.
Potential Hiking Opportunities: Clearwater Canyon, Bowdie Canyon, Dark Canyon