Is Rafting in Cataract “Canyonlands” Canyon Worth It?

By: Levi Weilert

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February 9, 2023 | Adventure Experts

Guest writer: Levi, Guide on Mountain Travel Sobek’s 5-day Utah Cataract Canyon River Rafting Adventure

Why I Like Rafting in Moab’s Cataract Canyon

“Moab is a traveler’s dream come true!”

— Levi MT Sobek Guide

The word Moab has become synonymous with adventure. With its stunning red rock formations, pristine natural landscapes, and a vibrant cultural scene, Moab is a traveler’s dream come true. You have probably recognized its iconic red rocks as the backdrop in some of Hollywood’s biggest films. It has served as the setting for every Jeep/Subaru, super-deluxe, 4×4, off-road commercial ever made. The secret is out on this paradise of fun and if you haven’t visited yet then you’re missing out. Moab, Utah is home to both Arches and Canyonlands National Parks; two of Utah’s ‘Mighty Five’. The city itself sits in a picturesque valley surrounded by sandstone cliffs with even greater mountains behind them and is a hub of activity for thrill-seekers and nature lovers alike.

Perhaps, best described as bohemian, local shops sell the works of artists and travelers of all types flock to the streets. The town boasts a wide variety of eclectic places to dine including a park entirely dedicated to food trucks. For those willing to venture out a little farther into the desert, endless possibilities await. From rafting to and mountain biking to rock climbing and rafting. You could even go skydiving or rafting…did I mention rafting?

For those seeking a classic western adventure, the mighty Colorado River flows just north of Moab. Mt. Sobek offers a 5 day/4 night expedition covering one-hundred miles of remote river between Moab and the takeout at Lake Powell. Ask any Moab local what their favorite river trip is, and the answer is unanimous: the highly-regarded Cataract Canyon. This site, located in Canyonlands National Park, is a must-visit for rafting enthusiasts. From its vast incredible landscapes to the ancient remains of its earliest inhabitants, this trip has something for everyone.

Cataract Canyon is a Classic Western Adventure

“Ask any Moab local what their favorite river trip is, and the answer is unanimous: the highly-regarded Cataract Canyon.”

— Levi MT Sobek Guide

In the Spring (May-June) the river plays host to endless rapids and massive waves. With rapids that range from Class III-V, Cataract Canyon offers a one-of-a-kind whitewater experience, making it a top pick for locals and tourists alike. Whether you choose to visit in the spring for the thrilling rapids and waves, or in the summer for the warmer weather and tamer water, there is no shortage of excitement in Cataract Canyon. No matter what time of year you decide to go, there is one thing you can be certain of, the rapids in Cataract Canyon are never small.

A Foodie’s Adventure by the River

“Freshly prepared meals and snacks made by the river, and there’s nothing like grilled steak and salmon cooked in the great outdoors.”

— Levi MT Sobek Guide

With all that action you’re going to build up and appetite and we’ve got you covered. One of the highlights of the Cataract Canyon rafting experience is the delicious food provided by the guides. Freshly prepared meals and snacks made by the river, and there’s nothing like grilled steak and salmon cooked in the great outdoors. All food is grilled, seasoned and baked out in nature. Maybe it’s just me, but for some reason steak and salmon seem to taste better near the river.

Disconnect from the World

With no cell phone service, you can disconnect and fully immerse yourself in the stunning surroundings. You’ll be provided with daily entertainment. You can swim or SUP beside the boats as we float downstream. You could play a round of bocce ball on the beach. You’ll be able to enjoy daily hikes and nightly campfires. Our goal is that at the end of each day you lay down in your tent with a full belly and smile on your face. We want you to gaze up at the most incredible night sky you’ve ever seen, witnessing trillions of stars spill across a desert canvas. Have you ever seen the Milky Way before?…It’s nuts.  Wait, Milky Ways are the one without nuts?  This trip also includes tours of ancient native dwellings, great blue herons, breathtaking views of Martianesk landscapes, pictographs, petroglyphs, fossils and more cool facts than one brain can possibly hold. 

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In Conclusion

As a resident and guide for Mt. Sobek in Moab, I can’t wait to share with you this magical place I call home. Below I have compiled a list of a few items I think are crucial to ensuring you have a fantastic experience on your next Cataract Canyon trip. Until then, I hope to see you on the river.

Things to Bring to Cataract Canyon:

  • Sun Screen
  • Body Lotion
  • Sunglasses
  • Wet Wipes
  • Large Water Bottle
  • Locking Carabiner
  • Chapstick
  • Sarong *MUST HAVE ITEM*

Things NOT to Bring to Cataract Canyon:

  • Car Keys
  • Drones
  • Wallet
  • The weight of the life you left behind to come on this trip

“Unbelievable natural beauty in these five Utah parks was more than complemented by the accommodations, the fascinating members of our group, and our ultra-competent guides.”

— Laura S. MT Sobek Guest | Utah Cataract Canyon Rafting, 2022

Here’s a video from our Utah Cataract Canyon River Rafting adventure:

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