Whitewater rafting on the Green River through Desolation Canyon with ARTA River Trips
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download a pdfGreen River - Desolation Canyon River Trip Details

Where and when to meet:

We'll meet you at 8:00 pm the evening before the trip begins at the River Terrace Motel (1740 East Main Street) in Green River, Utah. We'll give you your waterproof dunnage bags, go over final trip and shuttle information, and answer last minute equipment questions. The following morning, (early!) we will reconvene at the airport in Green River for a scenic 35 minute flight to the actual launch site. The time of the flight and directions to the airport will be given at the pre-trip meeting.


How to get there:

Driving: Green River, Utah is located just east of the junction of U.S. Highway 50/70 and State Highway 24 in eastern Utah, about 175 miles southeast of Salt Lake City and 100 miles west of Grand Junction. The River Terrace is located at 1740 East Main Street in downtown Green River. Vehicles will be left at the airport during the trip.

Flying: SkyWest/Delta Connection and Continental Airlines serve Grand Junction, Colorado, (GJT) about 100 miles east of Green River. Great Lakes Airlines has daily service into Moab, Utah (CNY) about 60 miles south of Green River. Transportation is available between Grand Junction or Moab and Green River by renting a car or chartering a flight with Redtail Aviation 800/842-9251. Transportation in Green River should be arranged with your motel. The River Terrace has been accommodating in the past.

Map of Utah showing the Green River through Desolation Canyon

Where to stay:

Lodging before and after the trip is good at the River Terrace, 435/564-3401 or the Holiday Inn Express Green River, 435/564-4439. Camping is available at the Green River State Park just south of town, 435/564-3633. Moab,

What we provide:

  • Pre-trip meeting in Green River, Utah
  • Flight from Green River to Sand Wash (launching point)
  • All meals from lunch on the first day through lunch on the last day
  • Transportation from take-out to Green River on the last day
  • Rafts (see below)
  • Lifejackets and helmets
  • Waterproof bags for personal gear
  • River touring equipment, guides, helpers and cooks

What you are responsible for:

Additional information:

Types of boats: On our Green/Desolation trips we offer two types of boats in which to ride:Oar raft

Oar rafts are 18 feet long, carry all of the overnight gear and up to 5 guests. They are rowed by a guide using oars attached to a metal frame. You ride in the front, hang on through the rapids and relax in the calm stretches.

Inflatable kayakInflatable kayaks are 10 - 12 feet long and are paddled by 1 or 2 people using double-bladed paddles. They are fairly stable, require no previous experience, and allow you to feel the thrill of independently paddling the river.

Please note that we do not guarantee space in inflatable kayaks. We will bring a lot, but if there are more people who wish to ride in these boats than there are spaces, we will rotate so that everyone gets a chance to participate.

Meals: ARTA meals are well-balanced and consist of quality foods with fresh meats, fruits, and vegetables. The guides double as camp chefs and the menu includes a wide variety of dishes. Lunches usually consist of hand-foods and are served picnic-style at riverside stops. Dinners and breakfasts are cooked over an open fire and often include tasty Dutch Oven baked treats. If you have special dietary requirements or are celebrating a special event during the trip, please let us know in advance.

Drinks: ARTA provides water, lemonade and punch during the day and hot coffee, tea and cocoa in the morning. If you would like soda, beer, wine, or liquor with your dinner, please bring your own in unbreakable containers, (beer and soda in cans, wine in bags/boxes or plastic bottles and liquor in plastic bottles). Due to weight and space restrictions on the flight to the launch site, we ask that you limit the amount of canned drinks to a moderate amount (one or two six-packs per person).

Camping: Overnight camping will be done at riverside beaches with spectacular views of the river and canyon. There is usually a central kitchen and campfire area and guests pick out spots in the surrounding area to pitch their tents or lay out their sleeping bags. We will provide portable toilet facilities. Dinner is served in the evening and the campfire is often kept burning into the night for music and story-telling.

Weather: The weather along the Green River is usually sunny and hot with highs in the 90's during the day and lows in the 60's at night. The sun can be intense for those not used to it and lightweight cotton clothing, (synthetic, long-sleeved shirts, lightweight cotton pants, old dress shirts, etc.), and sunscreen along with a wide-brimmed hat should be worn. The water temperature is cool in June and warm in July and August, but always provides a refreshing way to cool off. Wet, loose-fitting clothing and a wet hat provide natural air conditioning and help keep you cool. Rain, usually in the form of short thunderstorms, can occur at any time and good rain protection for both day and night (rainshell and tent) are advised. Desolation Canyon often experiences strong, afternoon winds, (always upstream), and our time on the river reflects this - expect early morning departures and early afternoon arrivals in camp.

Wildlife: Mule deer inhabit the canyons and on occasion a big horn sheep is seen. Beaver are seen along shore and the birdlife is plentiful. Hawks, golden eagles, Canadian Geese, falcons and a wide assortment of smaller birds are commonly seen.

Fishing: Fishing in the Green River is not very good. There are two notable sidestreams, Ranch Creek and Range Creek, where we may stop and have an opportunity to fish for small trout. A Utah fishing license is required and should be obtained in Green River before the trip. Ultra-lightweight spinning or dry fly gear works best. Bring the minimum in a sturdy case.

Travel Insurance: Because life is full of surprises, we suggest you consider purchasing supplemental travel insurance for your trip. Trip cancellation, evacuation, baggage loss and other coverages are available for between 4% and 11% of your trip cost. You can get more information at www.travelinsure.com; please enter ARTA's Participating Organization Number (215296) at the top of the enrollment form.

Gratuities: We want you to feel like a guest in our home. But, if you feel that your guides did an outstanding job, a post-trip gratuity is a flattering way to let them know. Tips should be based on your satisfaction, your financial means and your attitude about tipping. Tips typically range anywhere from 10 to 15 percent of the trip cost, (with the occasional recommended book or coveted hat thrown in). It is customary within ARTA to give the tip to the Lead Guide who will distribute it equally amongst all of the staff. And thank you very much.

More information:

If there are any questions we haven't answered, please feel free to contact us. We really enjoy talking about our trips, so don't hesitate to call: 800-323-2782.