Desolation Canyon


Enjoy stops to visit infamous outlaw hideouts, Native American petroglyphs, and old homesteads.


Keep an eye out for yucca, cacti, wildflowers, mule deer, desert bighorn sheep, and desert birds as you float.


The Canyon is a dramatic landscape full of cottonwood trees, white sandy beaches, and beautiful side streams.


Grab a paddle and run more than 50 rapids in an inflatable kayak on these easy to moderate rapids.


Perfect for families with lots of opportunities to kayak, play on sandy beaches, and swim in the Green River.


Accomplished, educated guides share their knowledge of Desolation Canyon, amplifying the quality of your experience.

Desolation Canyon

The Green River through Desolation Canyon provides a perfect family trip offering fun rapids, beautiful scenery, big sandy beaches, ancient Native American art, and a glimpse into the West’s homesteading days. Winding through a dramatic landscape that was carved by an ancient inland sea, the Green River through Desolation Canyon offers rafters a chance to experience 40 million years of geologic history. You will get an intimate look at Desolation Canyon, which plunges 5,000 feet down into the Tavaputs Plateau, as you travel 84 miles downriver. By the time you emerge on the other side, you will understand why this is one of America’s top rafting trips.

This is not a tour; it’s an expedition!

A flexible, open attitude is a necessity. You will be immersed in the varying elements of nature. There is no set daily itinerary, electricity, or indoor plumbing. There is plenty of adventure, camaraderie, good food, and beautiful Canyon scenery.

Adventure Specialists

We’ve been connecting our clients to water adventures around the world since 1987. We partner with select outfitters who share our values and are pros at creating exceptional experiences. There is no fee for our service; we earn our commission from the outfitters we represent, and the cost of your expedition is the same as booking direct.


Depending on outfitter and trip selected, trips begin in either Green River or Moab, Utah. Transportation is provided by the outfitter to the river via a short scenic flight to the remote put-in point at Sand Wash.


All trips end 84 miles downriver where you will be transported back to your starting city the outfitter.

Price Includes

Most outfitters will provide all the camping and river related safety equipment, along with plenty of fresh food, non-alcoholic beverages and snacks. However there are some outfitters that will ask you to supply your own camping and sleep gear. Typically these outfitters will also have an option to rent a camp/sleep kit for an additional cost. Transportation to the put-in point and take-out point from/to your start city is included.


May has cooler temperatures (average high 84°F, low 50°F), which requires extra layers, but allow for longer hikes. June through August are the hottest months to raft Utah with temperatures ranging from 95-100°F. As the rafting season winds down in September, you can expect cooler weather with highs averaging 89°F and lows around 53°F.

The Green River

Travel along the chief tributary of the Colorado River through Desolation Canyon, first surveyed and mapped by John Wesley Powell. The Green River is only slightly smaller than the Colorado River and contains numerous gentler rapids (Class II and III) for an easy, but still visually stunning trip through desert landscape The water temperature on this part of the river is chilly, which offers relief on warm summer days.

Boats & Group Size

Your main form of transport will be an oar raft, but paddleboats and inflatable kayaks are also available for those who wish for a more interactive experience. Oar powered rafts are about 18 feet long and carry four to five guests plus the guide, who maneuvers the raft with a set of oars mounted on the raft. Normally five to seven boats travel together and group sizes are anywhere from 10 guests to a maximum of 32 guests per trip, depending upon time of year and peak season dates. Paddleboats are 18 feet long inflatable rubber rafts. They carry six to eight people, and each person is responsible for paddling as a guide calls out the paddling commands. Paddleboats are a team effort boat and offer riders an intimate encounter with the river. When water levels are suitable, two-person kayaks let you challenge the rapids on your own terms.

Camp Life

Whether you’re an experienced camper or it’s your first time under the stars, our outfitters are specialists in facilitating an enjoyable and relaxing camping experience. Most outfitters provide a full sleep kit with a tent, sleeping bag, and inflated sleeping pad. Some outfitters will request that you bring your own sleep kit and camp equipment, or will have a package that you can rent for an additional cost. Everyone participates in setting up and breaking down camp. A clean, private camp toilet is set up first thing upon arrival at camp and it is the last thing to be dismantled the next morning.


One thing is certain on a Desolation Canyon rafting trip: There will be plenty of food! A full, hearty breakfast with cowboy coffee gets the day going. A riverside picnic sets the scene for lunch where you create your own sandwich. Dinners can be anything from a New York steak, grilled filet of salmon, or a Mexican feast followed by a hot, Dutch oven dessert. There are plenty of snacks and beverages offered throughout the day. Alcoholic beverages are not included, but you are welcome to bring your own. With advance notice, all outfitters are able to accommodate for special dietary requirements.

Length: 4 – 6 days
Price: $950 – $2,300 per person (Other taxes & fees may apply)
Season: May – September
Min. Age: 5 years during Low Water Level; 12 years during High Water Level
Activity: Whitewater Rafting
Adventure Level: Strong
  • I cannot tell you how impressed I was with the Rivers & Oceans’ staff, their organizational skills, knowledge and simply being just nice people. Once I decided to go with them every detail of the adventure was planned, organized and implemented without a hitch.

    Steve G.

  • Absolutely wonderful. Rivers and Oceans is operated by people who truly care about your trip and have the personal experience to help you make the best choice. Now go see for yourself and let Rivers and Oceans lead you towards the adventure of a lifetime.

    Owen S.

  • The folks at Rivers and Oceans are great. Helped us find and book a trip and patiently answered many questions over the weeks preceding the trip. Thank you.

    Greg W.

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