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6 Whitewater Rafting Options in Utah

by Kristl 7. December 2020 07:23
If you are looking for a great whitewater rafting trip for your spring, summer or fall vacation, Utah has some really great options!  From family friendly trips with fun and splashy rapids to adrenaline pumping excitement, there is something for everyone.  Here is a list of really great options (in no particular order):

  1. 1. Fisher Towers on the Colorado River. This river stretch has fun and splashy rapids and big, sandy beaches.  This trip is great for beginning rafters or families with younger children.  The rapids are rated up to Class III, but are typically smaller Class I and II.  The whitewater is most exciting during the peak run-off window during the last two weeks of May and first two weeks of June.  Water temperatures vary throughout the season (March through October), but are warmest in July and August when the water is around 70 degrees.  This trip is great with paddleboats, oarboats, Inflatable Kayaks and Stand-Up Paddleboards.  Typical trips range from Half-Day trips, Full Day trips, 2 Day or 3 Day trips.
  2. 2. Desolation Canyon on the Green River.  This is another great family-friendly river trip that has fun and splashy rapids, beautiful sandy beaches and many historical sites.  This trip is another one that is great for beginners, but can be enjoyed by everyone!  The rapids in Desolation Canyon are rated up to Class III, and there are LOTS of them!  The whitewater on this trip is most exciting in June, but stays great throughout the rafting season (May through September).  Water temperatures vary a bit, but typically average around 70 degrees.  This trip is great with oarboats, Inflatable kayaks, Paddleboats and Stand-Up Paddleboards.  Desolation Canyon is typically run as a 4 or 5 day rafting trip, so it is a great way to get away from it all for a week!
  3. 3. Westwater Canyon on the Colorado River. This river trip is a bit more feisty with rapids up to Class IV.  It is still a good run for beginners, but due to the higher whitewater rating, is more appropriate for children 10 and older.   This trip offers beautiful scenery, a secluded adventure and exciting whitewater.  This trip tends to be LESS fun during the peak run-off (Last two weeks of May, First two weeks of June).  The canyon is very narrow, so when the water levels come up, the rapids get buried.  This trip is really great in March and April and from July through October.  The water temperatures average around 70 degrees, but are colder in March and April.  This trip is typically offered as a Full day trip, but is also great as a 2 or 3 day rafting trip.  Westwater Canyon is run with oarboats and paddleboats.
  4. 4. The Gates of Lodore on the Green River. This river trip through Dinosaur National Monument offers beautiful scenery, great hiking, exciting whitewater and pristine beaches.  The whitewater in the Gates of Lodore is rated up to Class IV.  Major John Wesley named this stretch of the Green River over 150 years ago, after they had many dis-heartening adventures in their exploration of this wild place.  The canyon has remained largely untouched, allowing for one to explore unknown places for themselves.  This stretch of river is at a slightly higher altitude, so the air and water temperatures are a bit more moderate, which is lovely in the hotter months of July and August.  This trip is typically offered as a 4 or 5 day journey.  This trip typically features oarboats, paddleboats and inflatable kayaks.  Stand-Up Paddleboards may also be an option.
  5. 5. The Yampa River.  This beautiful river also winds it's way through the heart of Dinosaur National Monument, but because it is undammed it runs out of water on low-snow years.  When it runs, though, it is a favorite among enthusiasts.  Splashy and exciting whitewater, pristine beaches, wonderful hikes and outstanding scenery all combine to make the journey the true destination.  This trip typically runs from mid-May through Mid- to Late- June.  Air temps can be chilly at night, and are moderate during the day.  Water temps average around 60 degrees.  The rapids on the Yampa River are rated up to Class IV, appropriate for ages 10 and older.  This trip is typically offered as a 4 or 5 day expedition.  The boats used on this trip include oarboats, paddleboats and inflatable kayaks.  Stand-UP Paddleboards may be an option.
  6. 6. Cataract Canyon on the Colorado River.  For the thrill-seeker and the canyon enthusiast.  Cataract Canyon is the premier whitewater trip in Utah.  The rapids in this canyon of the Colorado River are rated up to Class V, and with names like "Little Niagara" and "Satan's Gut", it lives up to the hype.  During the peak run-off (late May and early to mid-June) the river swells to around 10 times its "Normal" levels, leading to adrenaline-pumping excitement for guests and guides.  Later in the year the river tames down just enough to still be exciting without leaving a feeling of having tempted the fates.  Cataract Canyon is typically run as a multi-day rafting trip as it is 96 miles long.  Motorized trips are 2 to 4 days long, non-motorized trips are typically 5 to 7 days long.  The whitewater isn't the only awesome thing in Cataract Canyon.  There are many geological wonders and ancient historical sites along the way, too.  The boat choices in Cataract Canyon include Motorized J-Rigs, Oarboats and Paddleboats, Inflatable Kayaks and Stand-Up Paddleboards when water levels are appropriate.

BONUS!  Labyrinth Canyon on the Green River offers no whitewater, but is perfect for sea kayaking.  The tame waters of this canyon have slowly but persistantly worked their way down through the sandstone layers into a deep and beautiful labyrinth of canyon walls. The pace is perfect for a re-set of the soul.  This trip is typically run as a 4 or 5 day journey.  It is typically offered in the spring and fall only as sweltering temperatures and an abundance of blood-sucking vampire bugs are typical of warmer months (June-August).

Tags:

Colorado River Rafting | Green River Rafting | Yampa River

Find Yourself, and Love What You Find

by Kristl 20. October 2015 07:28

Yoga in the National Park!

When you think of yoga do you think "I'm too old", "I'm not flexible enough", "Yoga is for girls", "I'm overweight", "My balance is terrible", "It's religious", "I can't touch my toes", "I'm not interested in twisting myself into a pretzel", "Yoga is too slow for me"?

Yoga is far more than it might appear on the surface. It is a blend of moving the body with the flow of your breath and calming the mind. When you say "I'm not flexible" what you should be thinking is "yoga will allow me to become flexible"! All bodies large, small, thin, or thick included and invited.
Kristen Crisp, founder of the Sanity Gurus, took her first yoga class in 2006 and fell in love with it! She became both a 200 hour CYT (certified yoga teacher) and a NASM CPT (certified personal trainer) in order to combine yoga with exercise, nutrition and positive thinking as she helps others transform their minds and bodies.
  In Celebration of the National Park Centennial in 2016, Kristen will be joining Sheri Griffith Expeditions for a special Yoga in the National Park rafting trip through Cataract Canyon in Canyonlands National Park. This trip will combine all the great aspects of a Sheri Griffith Expeditions rafting trip, (hiking, exciting whitewater, comfortable camps and healthy, fresh meals) with the wellness programs and yoga of Kristen Crisp and the Sanity Gurus.No previous rafting or yoga experience required!!!

Trip Date: May 10-14, 2016
Rate: $1799 + government fees

Tags:

Canyonlands National Park | catraract canyon rafting | Colorado River Rafting

Celebrations and the Circle of Life

by Kristl 22. April 2015 13:35

Photo of Arlo's TreeIf you have rafted on the Moab Daily stretch of the Colorado River over the last few weeks, you might have noticed a new addition to one of the Onion Creek camps.  On April 10, 2015, a locally grown from seed juvenile Cottonwood tree was planted, with the permission of the Moab office of the BLM, in memoriam of Arlo Tejada, former co-owner of Sheri Griffith River Expeditions.  Arlo loved the outdoors and spending time both telling and making stories. 

On April 18, 2015, nearly 80 of Arlo’s close family and friends met at Onion Creek to dedicate the tree to his memory, and then moved on to a celebration of life hosted by the Red Cliffs Lodge.  Stories were shared, songs were sung and hugs were shared all around in celebrating the life of a man who was well known in the river and tourism community of Moab.  Arlo was a strong advocate and lobbyist for the outdoor industry, and volunteered a lot of his own time to different committees and boards, including the Moab Travel Council, Utah Guides and Outfitters board and the America Outdoors Association Board.  He was honored in December of 2014 with an Outstanding Service award by the America Outdoors Association for all of his efforts.
Picture of Arlo's Familly
The tree was donated to the family by Wildland Scapes. In order to provide enough water to the tree that it can establish a strong root system, there is a watering barrel set up near it.
  Sheri Griffith Expeditions guides will be taking a bucket or two of water to the barrel each day that they pass it when on the Moab Daily, and we appreciate anyone else who is willing to share in the memory of Arlo by pouring a bucket or two in the barrel when they happen upon it during the rafting season. 

As we’ve all noticed, the season is in full swing!  Happy boating!

Tags:

Arlo's Cancer Story | Colorado River Rafting | Sheri Griffith River Expeditions

A Winter Westwater Tale

by emma 12. February 2015 08:03

Sheri Griffith River Expeditions Header-Newsletter

Winter Westwater

 Cataract Canyon on the Colorado River

During the last weekend of January, Sheri Griffith Expeditions owner Jose Tejada and his son Obe took a trip through Westwater Canyon.  Our Operations Manager, Brenda Milligan also took some time to go rafting in Westwater Canyon that weekend.We asked Obe to give us his thoughts on the weekend:

Westwater Winter RocksWe arrived at the Westwater ranger station around 10:30 in the morning. It was raining. In fact, it had been raining all night and most of the day before. There was no trace of the sunny, high 50 degree weather that was present when my dad and I hatched this plan.  “You can’t boat every month if you don’t start in January” My father had said. He hadn’t been on the water yet this year. Sure I had been on a San Juan River trip two weeks earlier but this was Westwater. Here the waves would be unavoidable. To be cast out of my brother’s 14 foot NRS boat was a real possibility. It is easy to stay dry on the San Juan River, but this was not the “Juan”. The date was January 30, his last chance to get on the river this month.

For those who have never experienced winter rafting, the gear you bring can make or break an excursion of this sort. It was on a cold April trip down the Gates of Lodore, while wearing a wet suit, that I decided my winter wardrobe needed some upgrades. The neoprene that makes up these suits is designed to trap water next to the skin so your body can warm it. This is great if you are submerged in the water. Also not bad if air/water temperatures are higher than the 40F/35F temps we had when we put in. I went on this trip with a dry top and splash bottoms. My dad wore splash gear: the same type that Sheri Griffith Expeditions routinely gives to their customers in the spring and fall.
And so we pushed off into the frigid water with the rain in our faces both silently wondering if this was going to be one of those trips more fun to tell about than to experience. There was no turning back now. Not that it ever really crossed either of our minds. You don’t go white water rafting in the winter expecting to be perfectly comfortable, and it could have been much worse.

A quarter mile downstream we spotted a Red Headed Sapsucker (Woodpecker), my first.  An hour or so later, we saw our first bald eagle of the trip at the miners’ cabin. It flew within 20 feet of my Dad’s boat. These I have seen many times because some of them live in Moab year round. I never get tired of seeing these amazing birds. Just before Little Delores rapid we saw a small heard of mule deer does. This was a very good trip for wildlife.

We had planned on meeting up with Brenda’s group, who had spent the night in the canyon (doing some river clean up), run the rapids together then push them out with our motor. They thought we might have canceled due to the bad weather and we missed each other by about half an hour. At Lower Cougar Bar, which had three feet of ice on it, we did our final tie down. It was also here that the rain stopped and we could see a small sliver of blue sky to the north!
Our runs through the inner gorge of Westwater Canyon were great! My dad didn’t even get his sorrel boots wet. With all of the water on the black Granitic Schist canyon walls, it made the canyon seem like it had been polished. Sometimes it is hard to pay attention to my runs because of all the scenery that there is to take in. Every time I am here I marvel at the contrast of the red Windgate Sandstone on the black Granitic Schist. This is truly a special place.
After Westwater Canyon, the water fall at Star Canyon was spectacular.  I tried to take pictures of it but I could not do it justice.   This is where we spotted Brenda’s group. So we quickly hung the motor and caught up to them. It sounded like they had had a great trip as well. One of their crew had hauled out two huge beams from the canyon. I love to see people hauling out trash like this. It shows the dedication the river community has to keeping this amazing place clean!

Scott Takig out trash WW

The sun came out for the ride out. The temperature must have come up into the fifties. What a wonderful trip. There was great wildlife, great scenery, great friends, a great time with my dad, and now the weather had just gotten gorgeous! Hard to believe it was January 30th. We will see what February brings.
 

Sheri Griffith Expeditions

2231 S Hwy 191
Moab, UT
84532

www.griffithexp.com
800.332.2439

It's Never Too Late for a Daddy-Daughter Date

by Kristl 29. July 2014 07:25
My family is a Ranching family.  I grew up in La Sal, Utah, which is just south of Moab, Utah, and my dad was a rancher.  He worked hard every day, either out managing the cattle, checking the irrigation, fixing fences or running the tractors as he was cutting, baling and hauling the hay that would get the cows through the winter.  I am the oldest of six children, but I am a girl.  My younger brothers were the ones who got to (they will tell you they HAD to) work with Dad every day, while I played and did "Girly" things with mom.  I did get to (though at the time it was a HAD to) go and feed the cows on Saturdays, and I did finally learn how to run a tractor, though I never had to bale or haul the hay like my brothers did.  My dad worked really hard to provide for our family, and even though my brothers were able to work with him a lot, my sisters and I didn't really have that opportunity.

Enter the Daddy-Daughter Date.  Our church would organize the occasional Daddy-Daughter date night, with the idea that we would get some one-on-one time with our dads, away from the distractions of siblings and work.  These Daddy-Daughter dates were a lot of fun, and I loved the opportunity to dance with my daddy and have his undivided attention.

About 10 years ago, a group of Dads and their 3rd Grade daughters came for a Daddy-Daughter date weekend on the river.  They came to Moab to spend 3 Days and 2 Nights on the Colorado River.  The trip was purposely run at a slower pace, with lots of time for the girls to play on the sand and in the inflatable kayaks with their dads.  Our guides took care of all of the cooking, while the Dads and Daughters worked together to set up their tents and sleeping gear.  The Dads and Daughters had lots of time to play together without the distractions of TV, sports, phones, other family members or work needs. 

Since that first trip, the group of Dads and Daughters has returned again and again over the years.  The group has changed somewhat over the years.  Many of the Dads have been the same, but the Daughters aren't always the same as their younger sisters have taken their turns on the river trip when they have graduated the third grade.  The group joined us again this year for another great rafting trip.  The girls were all so cute!  We really enjoyed having them all on the river with us again, and we look forward to seeing them again over the next few years.

We had another Daddy-Daughter duo join us for one of our Multi-Sport Adventures in June, but this duo was a Grand-Daddy and Grand-Daughter.  They participated in a Zipline Tour, a Sunset Hummer Tour, a Horse-back ride and a 1 Day Westwater Canyon Rafting trip.  They had a great time together here in Moab and we look forward to seeing them again in the future.

It's never too late to set up your own Daddy-Daughter date, whether it is just going out for dinner or taking a longer adventure vacation together.  The time spent together is priceless, and cannot be replaced.

We're Not Done Yet!

by Kristl 14. July 2014 11:14

We’ve been having an awesome summer at Sheri Griffith Expeditions!  We've met many new friends, and we've been happy to reconnect with old friends, too. 

In the past, we've experienced a general slowdown in July as the temperatures rise and the high water levels drop, but this year has still been pretty busy!  We still have trips headed down Cataract Canyon on the Colorado River and through the Gates of Lodore on the Green River, as well as lots of Westwater Canyon rafting happening over the next few weeks. 

Many people think that Moab is just too hot to visit Moab in July and August, and with temperatures in the 100 degree range, we'd probably agree, if we didn't know that with warmer air temperatures come warmer water temperatures.  Right now the Colorado River is about 70 degrees Farenheit, which is GREAT for swimming!  Also, to beat the heat, our guides love the Gates of Lodore Rafting trip on the Green River.  This trip starts at a higher altitude, and thus has a bit cooler temperatures than the Colorado River trips.

Still too hot?  Well, September is just around the corner, and we've got some great trips planned in Labyrinth Canyon and in Cataract Canyon.  One of the trips that we are really excited about is our NEW Fit Kayaking Tour with Melanie Webb!  This trip will not only feature the beauty and solitude of Labyrinth Canyon by sea kayak, but will also include fitness exercises and personal fitness consultations with Melanie Webb.  (To learn more about Melanie, click here.)

Another September trip that we are excited about is our John Wesley Powell 12 Day Expedition, which combines 5 days of kayaking in Labyrinth Canyon with 8 Days of hiking and rafting through Cataract Canyon.  We're not planning on running this trip again for a few years (ask about our exciting John Wesley Powell Sesquicentennial Trip for 2019!), so if you've been thinking about this one, now is the time to book your seats.

We also have Cataract Canyon and Westwater Canyon rafting trips scheduled throughout the rest of the season. 

We're Not Done Yet!

Tall Canyon Walls

by GriffithAdmin 10. June 2014 13:53

Classic Camp Site

This majestic camping spot in Canyonlands National Park is next to a 2000 foot cliff in Cataract Canyon.

Page Lamberts Writers Trip

by Kristl 20. May 2014 08:50
Sheri Griffith River Expeditions Header-Newsletter

“A River of One’s Own: A Heroine’s
Journey into the World of Story“

 Cataract Canyon on the Colorado River
This week features Page Lambert’s River Writing Journeys for Women as our highlighted women’s rafting adventure. A Colorado River trip, this six-day Cataract Canyon Adventure includes a spectacular scenic flight over Canyonlands National Park back to Moab. The theme for this year’s creative adventure, A River of One’s Own: A Heroine’s Journey into the World of Story, was inspired by Page’s special guest, renowned playwright and actress Ellen McLaughlin.
 
Nature Inspires Creativity! Deep within the boundaries of Canyonlands National Park, Cataract Canyon offers a perfect balance between serene floating, incredible optional hiking, and fast-moving rapids. 300 million years of rock history, abstract sculpted sandstone spires, and ancient Anasazi petroglyphs and granaries grace Cataract Canyon. Creative discussions will take place at the river's edge and continue throughout the day, ending with readings under the stars.  

Featured in Oprah’s O magazine! Sheri Griffith Expeditions has been outfitting Page Lambert’s River Writing Journeys for Women for 17 years. In 2006, Oprah’s O magazine featured these trips as “One of the top six, great all-girl getaways of the year.” Personal writing time is woven into the moments between floating down the Colorado River, optional hiking, relaxing on shore, and “circling up” with Page, Ellen, the other river women, and SGE’s fabulous women guides.  

5 Day Cataract Canyon Booking PageStorytelling on the River! Who told you your first story? For most of us, it was a woman. “We pass the great stories down from generation to generation,” Ellen tells us. “Mother to mother to mother. And so many of our stories are about journeys—heroes and heroines who leave the confines of the familiar and, in the spirit of curiosity and adventure, light out into the unknown. There we encounter not only the magnificence of the world, but our very souls.”  

Women Only River Trips PageJoin the Heroine’s Adventure! Sunday night’s orientation at SGE is followed by dinner with Page, Ellen, and the other women guests. The trip launches Monday morning, August 11th. You’ll float down the Colorado River, past the confluence of the Green River, through beautiful Cataract Canyon, culminating with a breathtaking scenic flight from Lake Powell back to Moab. SGE provides everything—rafts, tents, sleeping bags, fresh healthy meals, etc. The fabulous women guides do all the cooking and rowing!  

Praise from Previous Guests of Page’s River Writing Journeys! This is a fantastic trip! I have experienced Page’s women-only trips twice now and they are terrific. The Sheri Griffith company is excellent, the guides were super and both times the trip brought together amazing women. Rafting, hiking, camping, great food... a fabulous trip start to finish!"  

Do you have to be a writer? No previous writing experience is necessary for this adventure. Page will provide journals as well as written material for you to take home, and the river and the canyon will provide all the inspiration you need!

This is Whitewater!

by GriffithAdmin 16. May 2014 08:04

Video of the Week:

2014 looks like one of the better whitewater rafting years in Cataract Canyon since 2011.

The Year of the Family Rafting Trip

by GriffithAdmin 10. May 2014 08:03

“The Year of the Family Rafting Trip “Cataract Canyon on the Colorado River

Sheri Griffith River Expeditions has always been a company focused on family togetherness. Sheri started running rivers with her family in the 1970s, before opening a whitewater rafting company in Moab that was focused on safety, high quality and family fun. Later, long time employees Jose and Arlo Tejada took over the operation of the business, carrying on the same goals and values that Sheri established. Over the past 5 years, family has become even more important as Arlo has battled cancer, and our extended family has come together to support him. This year, we welcome Emma Tejada, Jose’s daughter, to the Sheri Griffith River Expeditions family.  In recognition of the importance of families of all kinds, we at Sheri Griffith River Expeditions want YOU to have the best Family Vacation Possible in 2014.

 

"Family is not an important thing.  It’s Everything." -Michael J. Fox


What makes a Sheri Griffith Rafting Expeditions family rafting vacation the best

Sheri Griffith River Expeditions understand how difficult it can be to plan and pull-off the perfect vacation. We have spent many years working out all the “kinks” associated with river vacations. Once you are on the river with us, we handle all of the day-to-day concerns so that you can relax and enjoy the time with your family. No cell phone or television interruptions, no soccer games or ballet practice, no running to the store, no meetings, no distractions. Just time to play, explore and build stronger family bonds.
 

We are so sure that you will LOVE your vacation with Sheri Griffith River Expeditions that we will GUARANTEE IT! If you don’t have a great time with your family while on one of our vacations, we will refund the price of your rafting trip.


 

This Weeks Highlighted Family Trip:

Family River Rafting on the Green River

book onlineOur signature family rafting trip in Utah is the 5 day/4 night “Family Rafting  expedition on the Green River. This great Utah river rafting vacation offers exceptional bonding opportunities, plenty of moderate yet fun  whitewater for children ages 5 and up, charming campsites on sandy beaches, stunning geological features and ancient and recent Western history. This Green River rafting adventure begins with a scenic flight to the launch site!
 

What are our Goals for your family  Your family gets a refreshed escape  with an easy, no hassle vacation. The kids will not stop talking about their favorite guide. And you are the hero of the PERFECT vacation.


Is this for your family? Great way to introduce the kids to the wonders of the river rafting. Including marshmallows, fireside stories, water fights, and sandcastles. There is also time for parents to relax and enjoy each other as the guides take the kids for learning nature walks.