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When the Desert is HOT

July 6, 2016 Destination North America No Comments Email Email

Here is what to do in triple digits:


Colorado River in Utah

There is something for everyone in the following water activities:

  • Jetboat tour is a dry-come-as-you-are-bring-your-camera for a 4 hour or sunset tour.
  • Jetboat two hours New Zealand style with splashy flat spins.
  • Stand Up Paddle Boarding is available as a guided trip or as rentals for a do-it-yourself paddle experience.
  • Canoe the flatwater of the river as a day trip or camping trip. Choose the 52 miles to the confluence of the Colorado River with the Green River. It will be necessary to reserve a jetboat shuttle out of the heart of Canyonlands National Park. Jetboat operators roof rack the canoes and load camping gear cargo to bring adventurers back to Moab.
  • Combination trips ~ local companies offer packages containing: canyoneering/raft, 4×4/raft, horseback ride/raft, pedal/paddle trips, packrafting/canyoneering, etc.


Scenic Splash is a great family trip for kids weighing at least 45 pounds to grandparents willing to get their feet wet. Add an inflatable kayak to a trip for the teen agers to advance the difficulty level. Now the kayakers have to navigate the river under the supervision and instruction of the raft guide. Available as a half day or full day itinerary.

Whitewater Rafting is available too! Westwater and Cataract Canyons are one day trips.

  • Cataract Canyon is downstream of Moab 52 miles covering calm water until the Colorado River joins the Green River in Canyonlands National Park. Then there are 26 Grand Canyon style rapids that end with Glen Canyon Recreation Area – Lake Powell. The entire trip is 100 miles. For a one to 4 day trip, Cataract Canyon is motorized. Longer trips are non-motorized until crossing Lake Powell.
  • Westwater Canyon has been identified by National Geographic as the jewel of the West. While the streams in Colorado flow less as summer unfurls, the Colorado River in Utah, remains steadfast and dependable. This is not a shallow swift water stream, but a high volume river experience. Calm water serpentines along 5 miles until the heart of the ancestral Rocky Mountains loom. The wide Colorado River must enter this impervious schist through a constricted, narrow corridor to explode with eleven rapids in about 8 miles, then the canyons open up for a calm, drift out to the end. Westwater’s 16 mile segment is a long day trip by row raft.

More Fun

  • Experience the region by air: scenic flights, hot air balloon, helicopter, orskydive.
  • Go from the rivers to the mountains, as the cool green peaks of Manti-La Sal National Forest beckon, providing a pleasant change to the heat of the surrounding semi-desert lands.  With peaks reaching near 13,000-feet, visitors find some of the Forest’s most incredible hiking and biking trails.
  • When hiking and biking is onerous in the heat, find miles of backroads are sanctioned for 4 wheel drive routes, with ATV only and Motorcyle trail only routes too. Four wheel drive vehicles, trail motorcycles, ATV and UTV rentals are available to rent in Moab. Follow a trail leader and drive your own.Guided tours.


Sightseeing in short is less strained by the heat, as travelers are closed in air conditioned vehicles. Still, visitors must abide by proper hydration to stay healthy during desert summer travel months. Be sure to drink water in the days before arriving, yesterday’s amounts impact today’s circumstances. Move smart. Go early or later and plan to be inside during the mid-day highs at a visitor center, museum, restaurant or nap in air-conditioned accommodations.

The 7 best scenic drives outside Moab, UT.

Three Scenic Byways top this chart.

  • Upper Colorado River Scenic Byway (Hwy 128)
  • Potash-Lower Colorado River Scenic Byway (Hwy 279)
  • Dead Horse Point Mesa Scenic Byway (Hwy 313)
  • La Sal Loop Road
  • Road to the Needles District of Canyonlands South Hwy 191 to Hwy 211
  • Needles Overlook Look Road South Hwy 191 but slightly North of Hwy 211
  • Drive to Bridges National Monument South Hwy 191 to Hwy 95

The Moab Area Travel Council has an abundance of visitor information on or call Monday – Friday for assistance, 435-259-8825.

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