A bike/raft combo trip is the ultimate Canyonlands wilderness adventure, and like any wilderness experience, each trip's itinerary will vary widely based on weather, campsite assignments or availability, the interests and abilities of the group, and other unpredictable elements. This sample itinerary illustrates a bike trip through the Island in the Sky District and raft trip through Cataract Canyon via the Green River's Stillwater Canyon. Because of changes in the river's flow the White Rim/Cataract trip varies slightly depending on the time of year. May trips usually meet up with the rafts in mid- to late-afternoon of the third day out and can anticipate higher water through the rapids. September trips will meet up with the rafts prior to lunch on the third day.
Day 1: Meet at Holiday's headquarters in Green River, Utah, at 7:00 a.m. Mountain Time. We'll issue your waterproof bags and figure out packing logistics for both the biking and rafting portions. We'll also conduct a pre-trip inspection of your bikes: please make sure that your bike is in good repair. We recommend getting a complete service by a professional shop prior to the trip. Guests whose bikes fail our inspection will be asked to rent a Holiday bike for $170.00/person.
We'll load up in our vans for the two-hour ride toward Moab and the top of the Shafer Trail. Built by uranium prospectors, the Shafer Trail's switchbacks descend a massive cliff face for an exhilarating start to the bike ride. Check out an overlook of the Colorado River and walk out to the Musselman Arch. Look high up on the right for a view of Mesa Arch on the way to the first night's campsite at Gooseberry Canyon.
Day 2: Today's ride is mostly gentle, with a few small hills and plenty of fun, rolling terrain. Stop to stare out across the sandstone-capped pillars of Monument Basin, and then prepare for the first big uphill: Murphy's Hogback. We're rewarded with sweeping views and a long downhill on the other side.
Day 3: Today we head north for the river, with a possible side hike over the intimidating Black Crack for views of Turks Head and the river we'll soon be floating. In early season trips, we'll bike up and over Hardscrabble Hill to meet the rafts at the Labyrinth campsite or Taylor Canyon. Later in the season, the rafts will pick us up at Beaver Bottom before we reach Hardscrabble.
Day 4: The riverâ€™s smooth current transports our rafts to stops at Valentine Bottom or Turks Head to see prehistoric ruins and petroglyphs. Enjoy your well-earned rest on a raft, or try out a stand-up paddle board or inflatable kayak. Camp on a beach or tucked into the mouth of a side canyon.
Day 5: Listen to your guide read aloud from John Wesley Powell's journal. The first white man to explore these remote reaches of canyon country, the landscape approaching the confluence of the Green with the Colorado River remains little changed from Powell's days. Buckle on your personal flotation device, because the rapids are just ahead! The water between the confluence and the rapids slows and pools as the river prepares for its imminent descent.
Day 6: Depending on where we camp, we may have the option of an early morning hike into the Doll House, a region of free-standing sandstone pillars and bizarre rock formations high above the river. Back at the beach, we'll load up and get ready for whitewater. Brown Betty, North Seas, Capsize, and Ben Hurt will whet our appetites for the really big ones: Little Niagara and Satan's Gut.
Day 7: Enjoy one more sumptuous breakfast by the river before climbing aboard for a few last rapids, then settle in for the ride through the northern tip of Lake Powell. When the reservoir is high, the river current disappears, and we get a motorized assist from "Seldom Seen", our little motorized dinghy. When Powell is low, however, we ride the river current all the way through the end of the canyon and out into the open near the Hites Crossing Bridge. After loading our boats and gear onto our trailers, we'll drive you the two hours back to Green River where we started seven days ago. Our expected time of arrival back at headquarters is 5:00â€"6:00 p.m.
Please keep in mind that this is a sample itinerary and not an exact description of your trip. The intent is to give a general idea of what your trip may entail. Rest assured, if you're not doing these things, it's because you're doing other amazing things! It's why our motto is "Go With the Flow"!
***The Bicycling: The total bicycling mileage for the bike/raft combo trip is approximately 65 miles; most of that distance is mellow double-track with a hard, rocky surface or graded gravel. In some sections you will encounter loose rock and sand, and there are two significant climbs followed by steep downhills, but these more challenging parts are relatively short and easy to walk if you are not comfortable.
Riders who have never ridden off-road before or who are not in good athletic shape will likely find this trip challenging. Even those riders with more experience will find the trip most enjoyable if they spend some time biking on a regular basis before the trip.