Want to make the most your experience during your road trip stop in Moab, UT? Look no further then taking a white water rafting trip down West Water Canyon on the Colorado River. Rated as "The West's Best Short Whitewater Trip" by National Geographic, this day trip experience down West Water has a mix of flat-water paddling at the beginning and finishing off with you ripping through class 3 and 4 rapids. This trip is for both beginner and experience rafting alike, as you will not only fly through swirling pool dwarfs and eddies, but you will also learn about the history of the canyon valley's and how they came to be. This is an experience that really gives Utah and the Colorado River it's character.
What To Expect From This Experience
Starting at 7am, you will arrive at Moab Adventure Center where you will be met with your guides for the day. After given a run down of the day and packing your belongings on the bus, you will take an hour bus ride out into the desert where you will be dropped off at your rafting launch point. Make sure to use the bathroom before as there aren't any stops along the way. For the first part of the trip you will paddle on flat water with your guide walking you through the history of the stunning and colorful canyon walls, which have wall colors ranging from red, black, and gold. Basking in the sun with little paddling is what you can expect from this section of the river. Don't be alarmed by it's tameness as the second half of the rafting trip is action packed.
After pulling off and having a quick picnic on the river bank, the second half of your adventure begins with class 3 and 4 rapids producing some of the best runs through Funnel Falls, Skull Rapids, and Sock-it-to-me. Along the way, you will see famous old bandit hideaways, hikes to mysterious caves, and Indian petroglyphs that depict the rich history and homage of West Water. You will finish off the trip by pulling off into the river bank and hopping back on the bus back to downtown Moab.
Moab Adventure Center is located off of main street in downtown Moab as seen below:
What You Need to Know Before You Go
Here are some quick facts about your adventure down West Water Canyon:
-Difficulty: Beginner (Flat-Water) to Intermediate (Class 3-4 rapids)
-Season: Rafting season for West Water is from May-September
-Time on Water: 6 hours
-Age Restriction: Minimum age of 12 years old
-Price: Adults ($195) Youth's ages 12-13 ($195), as of October 2018
-Is Equipment and Food Provided?: Yes, life vests and helmets are provided. Lunch, snacks, and drinks are are also provided for the day
-What Do I Need to Bring?: Sunscreen and Water (water bottles are provided by the Moab Adventure Center)
-Will My Belongings Get Wet? Unless your raft guide has a wet bag to place your electronics in (and is nice enough to share), we recommend that you bring a waterproof bag or case for your electronics since the rapids can get fairly large on the second half of your trip
-What Should I Wear?: We recommend wearing comfortable bottoms or bathing suit with a t-shirt so that the life vest doesn't cut into you. Temperature of the water can be slightly warmer during the summer but in general the Colorado River is cold so be prepared. We recommend brining closed toe shoes as you will be stuffing your toes into the creases of the raft for grip during the rapids.
-Potential Hazards: Water Levels in the Colorado River fluctuate during the year so take this into consideration when booking your trip. Rain storms that can happy miles up the river can cause the water levels to rise exponentially without warning. Make sure to check with your rafting company to advise on current water levels of the river
All in all, we highly recommend doing a day trip white water rafting trip down West Water Canyon if you want to make the most out of your time in Moab. This experience has the best of both worlds, with the beginning being a flat water section where guides will review the history of the river and canyons, and the second being where all the action of the rapids take place. The lunch midway through the day is delicious, as guides provide an assortment of sandwiches, fruit, and drinks to prepare to take on the rapids. With your rafting group you will surely make friends and have plenty of laughs (and screams) along the way. We recommend using Moab Adventure Company if you want to book this day trip, or if you're interested in taking any other multi-day rafting trip or other adventure experience they have to off.
We hope that you enjoyed reading our short post on white water rafting down the Colorado River and if you're interested in about other activities to do in Moab, check out our 9 day road trip itinerary through Utah and Arizona to learn more!