From flat water to thrilling rapids, the Moab river rafting scene offers fun for any adventurer.
By Redtail Air Adventures
The summer sun is high in the sky – it’s time to hop on a raft for the most refreshing and exciting river adventure you can plan in Moab! Moab is largely known for offering a welcoming, relaxing rafting experience peppered with exhilarating splashy white water to keep things interesting.
Whether you are a first-time rafter or a seasoned pro, Moab will offer an amazing journey winding through some gorgeous desert rivers.
Ready to plan your trip? Here is everything you need to know about Moab river rafting!
Why Go Rafting in Moab?
There are many reasons to hop on a raft and hit the river in Moab! Here are just a few of our favorites.
The views you see on raft trips near Moab are so great you will wish you didn’t have to blink. The red rock that lines the rivers is a spectacular color contrast against the current. The towering rocks you’ll glide by on a Moab rafting adventure will offer some of the most unique scenery you can see on a raft trip.
Yes, the river trip will be a memorable part of your Moab experience. But that’s not all you will enjoy during your time on the red rocks! From hiking and sightseeing to ATV rides and rock climbing, you will never have a dull moment. You can’t help but fill your schedule with tons of exciting Utah bucket list activities that all make the most of the stunning Moab energy.
The Colorado River is the most popular spot for rafting near Moab, and it’s just a short drive on Highway 128 to your river adventure! Whether you plan a guided rafting trip with transportation included or a solo trip where you pave the way yourself, it’s a manageable trek from Moab to the river’s edge.
While Moab rafting isn’t known for having the most intense rapids, it has some very scenic and friendly currents! The Colorado River is full of calm water for scenic float breaks and some splashy water to keep things fun and exciting. One of the most popular sections of the river, The Fisher Towers section, has four named rapids that are each thrilling and fun.
Tips for Rafting in Moab
Choose Your Season Wisely
Not all seasons in Moab are great for rafting – make sure you plan your trip for when the water is the warmest and most fun. The ideal time to raft in Moab is May through September, so the spring and summer sun can warm the Colorado River and make the water feel refreshing instead of freezing.
Guided Trips vs. Solo Trips
Need help getting on the river? You can go with a rafting outfitter! This option is the easiest way to get on the water. You can enjoy transportation, an expert guide, rafting gear, and a shuttle back to your car, so you don’t have to worry about anything but having fun on the river.
If you are a seasoned pro that loves to be on the river, you can also plan a self-guided trip on the Colorado River. If you have the tools and knowledge necessary, you don’t need to raft this river with an outfitter.
Safety Tips for Rafting
Brush up on your general rafting safety protocol beforehand, especially if you will be going with children. Here are some essential safety tips to remember as you float the river!
- Always listen to your guide. They have years under their belt and know the river like the back of their hand. Make sure you and any children in your boat know that their word is law!
- Always wear your PFD (personal flotation device, AKA life jacket). This is the most important tool you need when rafting. Wear your PFD, and have a guide or buddy confirm it is accurately buckled.
- Dress appropriately for your trip. Is it a chilly spring float that would warrant wearing a drysuit? Or is it a relaxed summer trip most comfortable in shorts or a bathing suit? Make sure you understand the air and water temps, and dress accordingly.
- Protect yourself from the sun to ensure you still enjoy the trip experience later in the day! You don’t want to hop off the river with a PFD-shaped sunburn. Wear ample sunscreen, cover up when necessary, and wear a hat if your trip doesn’t require a helmet.
- Respect nature. Guided outfitters will do a great job of minimizing the impact on the environment as they run trips. But for self-guided rafters, it is up to you to practice “leave no trace” habits while on the river.
- Bring a waterproof camera. You will see a lot of stunning views on this float trip, and you’ll want to capture it all. Some raft trips will recommend not bringing cameras and phones, but if it does allow cameras, or if you head off on a self-guided trip, bring along a waterproof way to snap some photos from the river.
Getting to & from the River for a Moab Rafting Trip
Planning your own multi-day Moab rafting trip? You probably know by now that planning a put-in and take-out can be difficult. That’s where Redtail Air’s river airplane shuttle comes in!
With just as scenic and fun flights as your planned raft trip, you can start your river adventure anywhere between Moab and Salt Lake City. Take-out shuttles can deliver you back to Moab, Grand Junction, Colorado, Salt Lake City, and Henderson, Nevada.
Our air shuttle will help you plan the absolute best Moab raft trip with as few confusing logistics as possible. Plus, you’ll get to enjoy an extra sightseeing treat from a totally different vantage point.
Best Spots to Go River Rafting Near Moab
Fisher Towers on the Colorado River
While there are several sections of the Colorado River to consider, this section is famous for its stunning red rock formations, including the iconic Fisher Towers. The rafting trip takes you through beautiful scenery and provides fun, smaller rapids great for families and beginners.
Ruby Horsethief Canyon on the Colorado River
This section of the Colorado River offers a multi-day rafting adventure through beautiful canyons. It’s an excellent option for those who want to deep dive into wilderness and enjoy camping along the riverbanks.
The Green River is another fantastic option for river rafting near Moab. The section of the river called Labyrinth Canyon provides a calm and scenic float trip suitable for beginners and those seeking a peaceful experience. Cataract Canyon, further downstream, offers more challenging rapids and is ideal for experienced rafters.
Located on the Colorado River, just across the border in Colorado, Westwater Canyon is renowned for its thrilling rapids, including the “Big Drops.” This stretch is a favorite among adrenaline-seeking rafters looking for a challenging adventure.
Daily and Onion Creek
These creeks offer a unique and less common rafting experience near Moab. While they may not have significant rapids, they provide opportunities for paddle boarding and kayaking through beautiful desert canyons.
Moab Rafting FAQs
1. How difficult is river rafting near Moab?
Many famous legs of the Colorado River are considered intermediate. You can find up to class III or IV rapids in many places, which usually create a trip with the perfect balance of thrilling white water and welcoming experiences for beginners.
2. How cold is the Colorado River in Moab?
Water temperatures for the river typically average 60–70 degrees Fahrenheit. This is considered chilly but perfectly fine for floating, swimming, and frolicking in the river.
3. Where should I stay on a raft trip in Moab?
There’s no better way to close out a Moab rafting trip than by snuggling in under the stars! Here are some of our favorite Moab camping spots with fantastic options for resting your head with a view.
Moab is excellent on the water, but it’s even better from the air! Are you ready to plan your trip to Moab? Make the most of your trip with a float down the river and a trip to the skies for multiple stunning perspectives of this magical place. Reach out to our team to plan your trip!