One of the most remote (no roads, no towns, no cell service) destinations in the continental United States also tops the list when it comes to family rafting vacations.
This is Utah’s Desolation Canyon, carved over millennia by the 730-mile Green River that is spawned by glacial melts on the Continental Divide in the wilds of northern Wyoming.
The Green is less strident than the Grand Canyon’s rollicking Colorado River. Instead of the world-class rapids on the Colorado, whitewater on the Green is playful, marked by over 60 warm-water Class I-III rapids, packed with more than enough splash to elicit excitement for ages 5 and up.
From June 1 through Aug. 8, a small plane transports guests from Moab, Utah, on a scenic, 40-minute flight to a desert plateau overlooking the Green River where after a short hike, Western River Expeditions’ 5 Day Desolation Canyon family rafting vacation begins. While paddling on the Green, guests typically surrender their senses to twisted mountains, dramatic cliffs, and towering plateaus carved by an ancient inland sea. Rates are $1,645 for ages 16 and up and $1,025 for ages 5-15 including…
- exploring 88 river miles
- the option to paddle two-person inflatable kayaks
- or, relax in a guide-powered oar boat
- witnessing 40 million years of geologic history
- maneuvering 60+ fun-filled Class I-III rapids. One of the greatest features of this expedition is that the rapids are spread fairly evenly throughout the length of the trip so the action keeps it exciting all journey long.
- visiting famous Wild West outlaw hideouts. Butch Cassidy and the Wild Bunch found that the rugged terrain here offered a perfect hideaway.
- wondering about the past at now-derelict homesteads built of native materials
- getting to know an ancient culture that both foraged and planted corn from the 7th to the 13th centuries, leaving behind Fremont Native American petroglyphs
- hiking off-river with a seasoned guide well-versed in the region’s history and geology
- deluxe camping on broad, sandy beaches along the river bank
- enjoying host-prepared adult and children’s meals sourced from local farmers and producers
- sunbathing on and off the water shaded by ancient cottonwoods
- watching a Trip Jester entertain the children so parents have some downtime
On its journey south through Utah towards the confluence with the Colorado River in Canyonlands National Park, the Green has created such an unforgettable universe that Desolation Canyon has been singled out as a National Register of Historic Places.
Calling this “the ultimate, back-country family river trip,” Jason Taylor, an operations manager who oversees all of Western River Expeditions’ trips in Utah, noted that the five-day program is appropriate for children as young as 5. It’s also a great river trip for extended families and first-time rafters. Five guides are assigned to trips that accommodate up to 25.
One plus that families come to love is the fact that in this remote environment cell and data service are non-existent. Instead of connecting to electronic devices, the connection is with family, guides and other guests. Children focus on the designated Trip Jester who, in a fun and informative way, shares insights with kids of all ages into this world of wonder. Creative games, swimming, arts, and crafts are all part of the fun.
While some time- and career-stressed parents may have difficulty connecting with their own children, Taylor said that by trip’s end, they’re melding with their families and creating stronger family bonds and memories.
“We see children transform from being needy and whiney to independent and happy. Everybody grows on this trip. In fact, this truly is the perfect family vacation. Some families come back every couple of years,” he said.
For more details on this trip, please see https://www.westernriver.com/desolation-canyon
For a copy of Western River Expeditions’ 2018 catalog, questions, availability and reservations call toll-free: 866.904.1160 (Local: 801.942.6669) or visit the recently enhanced website at: http://www.westernriver.com/.
About Western River Expeditions
Western River Expeditions is an adventure travel company headquartered in Salt Lake City, with operations and offices in Moab, Utah and Fredonia, Arizona. Annually from March through October it escorts more people down rivers on professionally guided rafting trips in Utah, Idaho and Arizona than any other company. It is the largest licensed outfitter in the Grand Canyon and the largest single tour provider in Moab, UT, through its division Moab Adventure Center (http://www.moabadventurecenter.com/).
Western River Expeditions, providing Grand Canyon rafting, Utah and Idaho rafting, and international multi-sport trips, was founded in 1961 by Colorado River rafting pioneer Jack Currey. It has been named one of the “Best Adventure Travel Companies on Earth” by the editors of National Geographic Adventure magazine. The company is the proud recipient of the "Best of State" award through Utah’s Premier Recognition and Awards Program for fourteen consecutive years (2004-2017).