You don’t need to have previous rafting experience to fully embrace this extraordinary expedition which combines beautiful environments and exciting activities with an emphasis on developing leadership, community, and personal strength (not just physical). On the river, you will learn both the basics and the fine points of managing a paddle raft through some of the best whitewater in the West, as well as camping underneath the pristine night skies of Southern Utah. You will paddle a raft, taking in the exquisite natural beauty, and often stop to explore many awe-inspiring viewpoints.
Cataract Canyon, Colorado River, Utah
One of the most rugged and beautiful canyons in the West, Cataract Canyon takes you through the heart of Canyonlands National Park. You will learn how to guide a whitewater raft as you float past natural wonders and ancient ruins to the confluence of the Colorado and Green Rivers while preparing for what awaits downstream. The Colorado River roars through 29 exciting rapids that rate with those of the Grand Canyon in power and difficulty, including the famous Mile Long Rapids and “the Big Drops.” In the nearby canyons, fantastic rock shapes carved by the whimsical forces of nature await you as your group ventures off-river to jaw-dropping views.
San Juan River, Utah
The San Juan River in southern Utah, a major tributary of the Colorado River, flows 83 miles through the deeply incised sandstone slick rock country of the Colorado Plateau in many tight bends. The San Juan is world renowned for archaeological sites of ancient Indians featuring both petroglyphs and spacious cliff dwellings accessible on side hikes from the river. The San Juan River is also well known for its exquisite natural scenery, as you’ll soon find out once you are deep within the towering canyon walls.
While on the river, each day is spent learning to recognize and navigate various obstacles and hazards in the river, and how to anticipate the forces of the current from far enough upstream. You and your companions will work to become a team, coordinating your spacing, and paddle strokes. You will have an opportunity to be the captain of your crew and put to use what you’ve learned as you maneuver your raft through Class II – IV rapids. Interspersed between the rapids are flat-water sections where there is a current, but no whitewater. At times, you will take advantage of this calm water to hone your skills and enjoy the view. Time in a raft is ideal for getting to know each other and form boat pride, laughing your way downriver as you relax into the graceful simplicity of river life.
As you travel the river, you will stop along the way to explore side trails, canyons and historic or geologic points of interest. These hikes will take you through rough terrain to incredible, remote places that are only accessible by river travelers. The hikes are always well worth the effort to see both Ancient and turn of the century artifacts as well as stunning natural beauty
NOTE: While rafting itself - riding down a rapid - is not as physically challenging an activity as backpacking, you do need to be adequately fit to paddle aggressively and to enter and exit the raft (you should be able to get out of a swimming pool without using a ladder). You should also know that hiking is an almost daily element of the course.
To apply for this course click the apply button next to the course dates that work for you. The non-refundable application fee of $125 is due at the time of application. For full fee schedule and process, click here. Course tuitions listed do not include our application fee or transportation fee.