Rafting and Hiking Cataract Canyon

Destination: Moab, Utah

| Activities: Rafting and Hiking

Cataract is an old fashioned word for waterfall - so you are headed down "Waterfall Canyon" from the safety of a professionally guided woman-powered boat. This section of the Colorado river is a perfect place for beginners or more experienced paddlers - there is something for everyone. This trip is suitable for any woman who is a confident and comfortable swimmer who is enchanted by the magnificent southwest desert. Spend your days basking in the sun on the boat, learning about the geology and history of the red rock canyons as you float peacefully by. After a day or two of learning the rhythms of the river, get your fill of adrenaline through more than 30 white water rapids with names like Mile Long, Ben Hurt and The Big Drop. This stretch is a natural rollercoaster sure to splash a smile onto your face! Spend your nights in the company of new friends trading stories and eating hearty meals. Sleep out under the endless Utah sky or curl up in a cozy two person tent. Spend the last night back in Moab with the comfort of a hot shower and a celebratory farewell dinner. Maximum group size: 20


  • Spend a night at the beginning at end of the trip in world famous Moab, the gateway to adventure in the Southwest
  • Relax on slow moving river time for the first part of the trip, with time to unwind and reconnect
  • Unleash your sense of wonder as you navigate breath taking white water rapids
  • Learn about the powerful Colorado river as you flow through a red rock wonderland
  • Sleep under a brilliant tapestry of stars


  • Female rafting guides and an Adventures in Good Company group leader
  • Two nights double occupancy accommodation in lodges in Moab
  • Meals from dinner on the first day through breakfast on the last day
  • Transportation from the time you arrive at the airport to the time you are dropped back off at the airport.
Not included: Personal gear, alcoholic beverages, personal snacks, guide gratuities, and travel insurance.

Trip Documents

Trip Intro

This trip is suitable for any healthy, active woman with good mobility who wants a whitewater rafting trip. The rafts are paddled by certified river guides so you can sit back and enjoy the ride, or try your hand at paddling in a "ducky" (inflatable kayak) or stand up paddle-board. You must have sufficient agility to get in and out of rafts in moving water. No previous rafting or hiking experience is required. All hikes are optional and range from easy strolls to strenuous hikes with significant inclines and declines. While this trip is suitable for a variety of fitness levels, you will have the best time of engaging in all activities if you are prepared for a level 3 trip. Prior to beginning a level 3 trip, participants should be engaging in aerobic conditioning, such as walking vigorously up hills, jogging, cross country skiing or stair stepping for 30 - 45 minutes at least 3 - 4 times a week. Rating: [1] [2] [3] 4 5.

The Cataract Canyon rafting trip allows you to get both hiking and rafting in each day. When you're on the river, there will be a combination of oar boats (you sit back and relax) and small inflatable kayaks and stand up paddle boards (you supply the power). Oar boats are always an option and the amount of time you spend on the others depends on how many women are interested in which.

We will spend the first and last night in modern lodging in Moab, Utah with hot showers and beds. The rest of our nights will be spent camping on sandy river banks, either out in the open or in comfortable two person tents. There are no showers or formal bathrooms while on the river but each day our guides will set up a "groover" or a portable and private river toilet. We will practice Leave No Trace ethics which means the guides will pack out all of the waste in the leakproof and airtight containers.

Below is the proposed itinerary for the trip. As is true on any adventure travel trip, plans for any specific day may be modified due to weather considerations, unforeseen circumstances, new opportunities, and group interests.

Welcome to the desert! Fly into Moab, Utah (CNY) by 3PM for the pre arranged group shuttle to the trip hotel where you can check in starting at 4PM. Time to settle in for the evening before strolling to a Welcome Dinner in Moab at a local restaurant. Moab is an adventure mecca for outdoor enthusiasts, perfect for exploring if you’re considering extending your trip on your own. There are 2,000 arches and counting in nearby Arches National Park! As Edward Abbey said in his book Desert Solitaire after spending time as a ranger in the national parks of Utah, “Wilderness. The word itself is music.” Overnight Moab lodging (D)
Good morning Moab - nothing like a desert sunrise! After a hearty breakfast at our lodging we’ll meet our river rafting guides and receive a detailed orientation on what to expect on the river and how to pack our belongings into waterproof bags. From there we’ll head to our put-in on the Colorado river. The Green River and the Colorado River both flow through Canyonlands National Park where they have formed the park’s canyon mazes and plateaus, unbroken scarps, and iconic sandstone pillars. The Green River merges with the Colorado in the heart of Canyonlands at the Confluence in Cataract Canyon, and from there, the Colorado continues its journey south. We’ll experience the Colorado river at its finest, from the vantage point of a quiet human powered vessel. Hop in an inflatable kayak or onto a stand-up paddle board (SUP) for some added adventure, or settle in on a raft. We’ll lunch on a sandbar and maybe take a short afternoon hike to an exposed petrified wood boneyard. The hike is an easy stroll from the river bank to a remarkable concentration of ancient logs preserved in the canyon’s rock layers. Another possible hike today is to the Lathrop Canyon ruins, a moderate hike to see where indigenous canyon dwellers stored food and painted stories on the walls a thousand years ago. Afterwards, we’ll float through magnificent canyon walls, far below hikers and visitors at Dead Horse Point State Park. Overnight camping on river (B, L, D)
Our first full day on the river! A bright dawn light makes the canyon walls glow like red gold. Listen for the descending song of the canyon wren, or paddle your SUP along the shore in search of otters and great blue herons. The Colorado river meanders peacefully in this section. Swim alongside the rafts or lounge under an umbrella; the afternoon may provide the opportunity to hike to thousand-year-old rock structures built by the Fremont Culture. Learn to spot granaries (ancient food storage structures) on the cliff walls as we continue downstream. Another possible hike today is to Indian Creek, where a trickle of water sometimes becomes a raging waterfall. Overnight camping on river (B, L, D)
The Colorado river through Cataract Canyon is considered to be the “King (or in our case Queen) of Utah River Trips.” Its tranquil start lulls paddlers into a peaceful trance before treating them to thrilling white water rapids later on. Today we’ll reach the confluence of the Colorado and Green rivers, believed by some cultures to be the center of the universe. Buckle up your personal flotation device to swim through the line where the two rivers meet if you would like! Make your way back in the boat and get ready for the rapids ahead! Just below the confluence, enjoy a view of the Doll House, a collection of freestanding, sandstone columns. The Doll House is one of the remotest regions of the Maze District of Canyonlands. Today we may hike a mile in an area called The Loop, where we climb up and over a low point in the canyon wall while the rafts travel a full four river miles to reach the same place. Overnight camping on river (B, L, D)
Conditions permitting, ambitious hikers may start the day with a hike into the Doll House. It’s a strenuous, 800-foot climb out of the canyon and into a world of white and pink striped sandstone pinnacles. See evidence of the Paradox Formation, the salty remnants of an ancient sea that lies under most of eastern Utah. Ascend steeply to the canyon rim in the Maze District to explore the red and white red rock formations and prehistoric artifacts. Once again on the river, we’ll look forward to the rapids of Cataract Canyon. We’ll stop and scout a few of the big ones, giving plenty of time for the suspense to build. Hold on for the Big Drops: Little Niagara and Satan’s Gut. Another possible hike today is to Clearwater Canyon, a relaxing walk in a deep, sandstone side canyon, past small pools and smooth sandstone ledges. Overnight camping on river (B, L, D)
After a few last rapids, the water calms again, and the canyon walls rise, smooth and majestic. We’re now officially in Lake Powell, although depending on the reservoir level, it may still feel like a river for a long distance. We’ll float under the Hite Narrows Bridge and pull over just beyond the mouth of the Dirty Devil River. A two-hour drive brings us back to the river warehouse. Our expected time of arrival back at our headquarters is from 5:00 to 6:00 p.m. Let’s toast to our incredible journey over the past week over a delicious farewell dinner in town. Overnight at lodging in Moab (B, L, D)
After a final breakfast with our new AGC sisters and friends, you are free to fly out at any reasonable time. Two group shuttles will be arranged based on participant flight information. (B)

*These are the unfiltered reviews of women who have been on this trip in answer to the question "What made this trip special for you?". We take reviews very seriously and often tweak itineraries based on feedback. Please feel free to contact us about any questions you have.


(2 reviews)
5 Food
4.5 Lodging
4.5 Safety
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Catherine B.
0 months ago

The scenery, out in nature, the awesome river guides, good food, the night sky, co-travelers.

Ethel G.
0 months ago

I was taking this trip because it would enable me to be with my long time good friend who I don’t see all the time..

  1. Where do we eat?

    While staying in Moab on the first and last night we will eat at local restaurants. While we're on the river we will have backcountry gourmet meals. (While we can accommodate a wide range of tastes, participants with severe allergies or restrictions should contact the office before signing up for this trip.) We'll eat picnic lunches along the river and/or trail and have relaxed buffet style breakfasts and dinners at our riverside campsites.
  2. What dietary preferences or restrictions can you accommodate on this trip?

    Vegetarians are welcome on this trip and will have delicious hearty meals but we cannot guarantee zero cross contamination during food preparation. Some specific dietary needs cannot be accommodated unless supplemental food is brought (i.e. vegan). if you have other significant dietary restrictions, please call the office before you register.
  3. I will be coming by myself. Do I need to pay a single supplement?

    Singles are not available as you will be in double-occupancy rooms on this trip. On our other trips you only need to pay a single supplement if you want to guarantee you have your own room. Otherwise we'll pair you up with someone and then switch roommates every time we switch lodging.