Professional outfitters, who must be licensed by the federal government, are only allowed to run a certain number of trips in popular wilderness regions, so the trips are often booked far in advance.

Among those who will gladly arrange all-women trips are Griffith's Colorado Adventures, Central Reservation Office, P.O. Box 3088, Steamboat Springs, Colo. 80477, (800) 332-2439. It operates one- to five-day trips on various Colorado and Utah rivers. The cost for three-night Cataract Canyon trips averages about $460 per person, not including transportation to Moab.sw sk

Another respected firm specializing in all-women white-water, rock climbing, backpacking and other outdoor trips is Mariah Wilderness Expeditions, P.O. Box 248, Point Richmond, Calif. 94807, (415) 233-2303. Raft trips are on the American and Merced rivers in California. Special trips cater to mother-daughter, mother-son and father-daughter pairs.

For more information, get the quarterly newsletter of Woodswomen, 2550 Pillsbury Ave. S., Minneapolis, Minn. 55404, (612) 870-8291 . . . and a similar publication from Women Outdoors, Curtis Hall, 474 Boston Ave., Medford, Mass. 02155, (617) 381-3278. The most complete sourcebook I know of is Adventure Travel by Pat Dickerman, available from Adventure Guides Inc., 36 E. 57th St., New York, N.Y. 10022, for $14 postpaid. cm,10p10 bysign