A Whitewater Rafting Trip Through Westwater Canyon

One of the best rafting outings in the U.S., the Westwater Canyon, is only a short drive from Grand Junction, Colorado.

It’s the jumping-off point for what National Geographic describes as “the West's best short whitewater trip,” Westwater Canyon. Located in eastern Utah and only a 40-minute drive from Grand Junction, a float trip through Westwater allows access to one of the most unique canyons in the area.

Geology buffs will love the variety of rock formations, while rafting enthusiasts will enjoy the world-class rapids. Through wind and water erosion, this narrow canyon touts 1.75 billion-year-old rock formations, the oldest exposed formations in eastern Utah. Black uplifted rocks provide a sharp contrast to the multicolored layers of the Chinle formation and the massive, reddish-brown cliffs of the Wingate sandstone. 

When you raft along Westwater Canyon, you can choose between a thrilling one-day trip or an extended excursion lasting three or four days. Multi-day trips are encouraged if you would like to include time for hiking, swimming and sightseeing. 

There are a number of different rapids in Westwater Canyon, and with names like Funnel Falls, Sock-It-To-Me, Last Chance, Skull Rapid and Room-of-Doom, only experienced boaters should attempt to maneuver through this canyon. Families with small children are discouraged from considering a trip through Westwater Canyon, and many guided rafting companies won’t accept children under the age of 12.

Due to the heavy demand for boat launches, advanced permits are required year-round. Call the BLM Moab field office at 801-259-2196 for more information about obtaining a permit and for planning your exciting expedition along the Colorado River.