DETAILS: Rafting in Utah

Sunday, July 6, 2008

GETTING THERE: Moab, Utah, is served by tiny Canyonlands Airport, with commuter flights from Denver. However, most travelers drive to the outdoor mecca from either Salt Lake City (230 miles) or Grand Junction, Colo. (113 miles). Connecting flights from Washington to Salt Lake start at $334 round trip; for Grand Junction, expect to pay more than $400.

STAYING THERE: Count on staying in one of Moab's many motels the night before you put in. Some of our group booked a room at the Red Stone Inn (535 S. Main, 800-772-1972, in downtown. Rooms come with kitchenettes and cost $70 to $80 a night. For a list of other accommodations, see (

RAFTING THE COLORADO: Our five-day Cataract Canyon trip with World Wide River Expeditions (800-231-2769, cost $799 per person; it was low-end, but it didn't feel discount. The price included simple but tasty meals, sleeping bag, cot, tarp, tent, waterproof bags and flight back to Moab over the river we'd just rafted. Company provides coolers for your own sodas and beer. Etiquette suggests tipping your guide $20 per day. See for other Colorado River trips out of Moab, from short and tame upward.

TIPS: The Colorado runs highest in May and June, and water levels taper off with the snowmelt. You'll live in your swimsuit and river sandals, but also pack hiking boots, a river hat (all-around brim with string under the chin) and a fleece for nighttime.

-- K.V.

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