Western River Expeditions Announces Healthy Snowpack Leading to High Water Rafting through Cataract Canyon

SALT LAKE CITY, UT, June 5, 2024 – Western River Expeditions reports that for the second consecutive year an above-average snowpack in the Colorado River watershed augurs well for multitudes of thrills on upcoming river rafting journeys in the region.

“Anyone looking for a high-water trip (bigger rapids, waves,and splashes) can still enjoy the annual peak runoff well into June and possibly even early July this year on the Colorado River through Cataract Canyon,” advises Kam Wixom, former guide and current Marketing Director for Western River Expeditions.

He explains that a cool spring and repetitious storms in the Colorado, Utah and Wyoming Rockies have delayed the typical spring runoff, storing more water for release throughout the spring and summer.

“The storms have also brought above-average snow water equivalent (SWE), the amount of water in a volume of snow measured by weight. As of June 5, the SWE was running 200% percent of normal (median measured over the past 30 years),” he says.

Throughout the season, the Colorado River through Cataract Canyon presents as a series of technical, rock-filled rapids. In high water, some of these rapids disappear into huge rolling wave trains while others create massive holes and eddies.

The river’s volatility affects the mode of transport. To navigate high water, Western River Expeditions uses custom J-Rigs. These are the largest craft in the fleet and offer greater stability than smaller oar and paddle rafts. When the water returns to normal flows, rafters switch to oar and paddle rafts on the 4-day trip, continuing to experience wild rides through rapids that guarantee an adrenaline rush. Guests on high-water trips spend less time on the river because they are virtually speeding from one camp to the next. This translates to more time for side canyon hikes and exploring the terrain around their river camp. Please see video: https://www.westernriver.com/cataract-canyon-rafting/videos/highwater-cataract-unbelievable-ride

Brian Merrill, Western River Expedition’s CEO, notes: “Cataract Canyon in the peak flows are the highest whitewater rapids in North America – big enough waves to make the 37-foot-long J-Rig do exactly what it was designed to do: stand on end and glide right over whitewater rapids that want to swallow it whole.”

The best trips to experience the ultimate ride in high-water conditions are the 4-day Cataract Canyon and 2-day Cataract Express trips departing from Moab, Utah.

  • Cataract Canyon Express 2-Day Adventure at $955 per person for adults and youth (12+) engages high-speed, custom rafts to rapid journey through the Colorado River’s legendary 100-mile Cataract Canyon in just two days. https://www.westernriver.com/cataract-canyon-express
  • Cataract Canyon 4-Day Expedition at $1,935 for adults and $1,425 for youth (10-15) is a four-day rafting journey combing the beauty of Canyonlands National Park with on-river thrills. Off-river hikes include explorations of ancient Native American ruins and pictographs. Guests conclude this adventure with a stunning flight over Canyonlands National Park on the return to Moab. The trip covers 100 river miles with the pleasures of camping under the stars and dining on chef-prepared meals. https://www.westernriver.com/cataract-canyon-rafting

Other rafting trips on the Colorado and neighboring Green Rivers in Utah are also expected to have excellent high water levels this spring and summer. They include five day trips through Desolation Canyon on the Green River and full day trips into Westwater Canyon on the Colorado River just upriver from Cataract Canyon.

To see the latest Colorado River watershed snowpack report, see: http://snowpack.water-data.com/uppercolorado/index.php

For a copy of Western River Expeditions’ 2024 catalog and to ask questions about the trips, availability and reservations, call toll-free: 866.904.1160 (Local: 801.942.6669), or visit: http://www.westernriver.com/.

About Western River Expeditions

Annually from March through October, Western 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. In 2023 it was chosen by the readers of USA Today 10Best as a top rafting company in the nation. In 2024 it was selected as one of the top rafting companies in the U.S. by the readers of Newsweek Magazine. The company is also the proud recipient of the "Best of State" award through Utah’s Premier Recognition and Awards Program for the past twenty consecutive years (2004-2023).

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