The Colorado and Green rivers wind through the heart of Canyonlands, cutting through layered sandstone to form two deep canyons. Both rivers are calm upstream of the Confluence, ideal for canoes, kayaks and other shallow water craft. Below the Confluence, the combined flow of both rivers spills down Cataract Canyon with remarkable speed and power, creating a world-class stretch of white water.
River flows are dependent upon snowmelt and rainfall. The character of the rivers changes dramatically depending on the season. High water generally stretches from early May to late June. Recorded river flows are available from the US Geological Survey, or by calling (801) 539-1311. Snowmelt peak flow forecasts are available from the Colorado Basin River Forecast Center.
On both rivers, all launch ramps are outside Canyonlands. Launch locations on the Green River typically include Green River State Park, Ruby Ranch or Mineral Bottom. On the Colorado, boaters typically use the Potash or Moab ramps.
There is no vehicle access to the rivers near the Confluence or in Cataract Canyon. While hiking trails lead to the rivers from each of the districts, these trails are too long and rugged to be seriously considered for shuttles, unless groups use equipment designed for this purpose (e.g. pack rafts).
Two companies are licensed to provide river shuttles (upstream and downstream) in Canyonlands National Park:
For a list of shuttle services to destinations outside the park, visit www.discovermoab.com/shuttle.htm.
Did You Know?
The highest recently recorded flow in Cataract Canyon is 114,900 cfs in 1984. However, scientists dating driftwood piles estimate that in 1884, the river may have reached 225,000 cfs. More...