Women Wild by Nature River Trip

Annual women's rafting trip

Join CFI’s co-founder and Executive Director Karla VanderZanden on this special women’s rafting trip. This exclusive trip takes place on a different river stretch each year! CFI women’s trips provide a time and place for deepening connections to the wild and trying out new skills. You will have the opportunity to be physical, relax, and play outdoors!

In 2018, our trip will return to the Upper San Juan, a true favorite for our “ducky” (inflatable kayaks)  paddlers. You may opt to try out the duckies or ride in the rafts and learn to row or just take in the sights. We cover about 26 miles from Sand Island (Bluff) to Mexican Hat, at a leisurely pace over our four days. This is a very scenic stretch, rich with prehistoric Indian rock art panels, a restored cliff dwelling, historic pioneer sites, and dramatic geologic formations. There is a good chance we will see bighorn sheep, a variety of birds, and fall wildflowers. The weather is typically mild in the 80’s, though we could have short storms at this change of season/equinox time. The river is still a comfortable temperature; we do provide helmets, splash gear and optional farmer john wetsuits for those in the inflatable kayaks.

Women of all ages and backgrounds enjoy this trip; youth in 9th grade and above – traveling with an adult – are welcome, and this trip is often a memorable time with mom, grandmother, or that special aunt or mentor. Our group will be congenial and small, limited to 12, plus guides. We often have a nice mix of loyal returnees and first-timers.

We share readings from Ellen Meloy, Ann Zwinger, Terry Tempest Williams, and others who write creatively and passionately about the canyon country. Join us for optional morning stretching and greeting the day. We will consider “reciprocity” — ways of giving back to Mother Earth and restoring beauty and balance in our everyday lives. We provide all boating gear including row rafts that are 14-18ft. long and a few, very stable, inflatable kayaks, affectionately known as duckies.

Karla VanderZanden has 40 years experience as an outdoor leader, river guide, and naturalist. Prior to starting CFI in 1984, she worked at Westwater as a River Ranger and in Colorado and Oregon as an outdoor educator.

Activity Level


Class I & II-III rapids, getting in and out of rafts, an option to paddle solo inflatable kayaks, and short day hikes.


  • by ACTIVE Network
  • Where: Upper San Juan River - Sand Island to Mexican Hat, Utah
  • When: September 23, 2018 through September 27, 2018
  • Number of Days/Nights: Four nights, includes first evening at Recapture Lodge in Bluff, Utah.
  • Group Size: Minimum 6, Maximum 12
  • Age Group: Adults and young women, 9th grade and up
  • Deadline for Signup: September 9, 2018
  • Cost per Person: $910.00 per person plus BLM Special Fee $10/person
  • Deposit: $300 (non-refundable)
  • Notes:
      • Women Only – Bring your friends, mothers, daughters, etc!
      • Lodging the first night is double occupancy; singles can be requested for additional fee.
      • Click here to read our cancellation policy.
      • To register email us at info@cfimoab.org or call 800.860.5262 or 435.259.7750.