Westwater Canyon – Private Group Trip

Westwater Canyon Rafting: Thrilling whitewater in serene backcountry

Westwater Canyon is a two day, one night trip along a 17 mile stretch of the Colorado River. An overnight trip is the best way to experience this canyon. In addition to the heart pounding rapids, you will be treated to serene flatwater, wildlife sightings, and pristine dark skies. If one night away from home is all you need, then this trip checks all the boxes

Whitewater Rapids

Westwater sports adrenaline-pumping, class III and IV rapids, making this spot a destination for river runners from around the world. Work as a team on a paddle boat, or hold on tight to the oar boat while your guide navigates the rapids.

Guided Natural History

At night, ancient schists and granites border some of Utah’s best dark skies. Spot an eagle, see a fish jump, or hear a big horn sheep’s bleat echo through the canyon. The combination of unique natural and human history classifies this canyon as a protected Wilderness Study Area.

Westwater and Ruby Horsethief can be combined into an epic trip through Canyon Country.

Extend this trip by starting on Ruby Horsetheif.
Packaged price is $970 for a 4 day 3 night trip.

The Colorado River: Westwater, UT to Cisco, UT
Call 435 259-7750 for availability
2 days and 1 night
Group Size:
6 - 25
Age Range:
14 and older

This is how we rate the challenges you might face on a CFI trip.

Level 1 - Easy

  • Low level of physical activity, minimal movement required
  • 0 nights spent camping or in the field
  • Hiking or walking 0-2 miles per day

Level 2 - Moderate

  • Medium level of physical activity, some movement required
  • 1-4 nights spent camping or in the field
  • Hiking up to 4 miles per day
  • Flatwater or mild whitewater rapids

Level 3 - Active

  • Medium or high level of physical activity
  • 1-5 nights spent camping or in the field
  • Hiking up to 5 miles per day
  • Class I - III whitewater rapids

Level 4 - Challenging

  • High level of physical activity
  • 1-6 nights spent camping or in the field
  • Hiking 5 or more miles per day
  • Class IV whitewater rapids
CFI's Essential Eligibility Criteria outlines specific challenges that you may face on CFI trips. Please consult the EEC for information on responsibilities of participants.
  • This is a technical stretch of the Colorado River featuring class 4 whitewater rapids. Consult our Essential Eligibility Criteria to see if this trip is right for your group.
  • Fee includes $10 BLM special area fee

See other trips in these categories:

Trip Narrative

Westwater Canyon starts at the Westwater Ranger station and ends in the small town of Cisco, UT. With an exhilarating combination of Class 3 and 4 whitewater rapids, this stretch attracts river runners from all over the world. Experience the rush as the Colorado River pounds through famous rapids like Skull, Funnel Falls, and Sock-it-to-me. 

No experience is necessary! Before launching, we will orient you and your group to river safety, camping, how to pack a drybag, and everything else you need to know to stay happy during the trip. As we float through the canyon, feel free to ask your guides about Westwater’s rich natural and human history, including outlaw encampments, mining areas, and native history. In the evening, your guides will set up a comfortable riverside camp where you can relax, pick up a book from our trip library, or take a nap to the sounds of the river while you wait for us to prepare dinner. After dinner you can hunt for shooting stars while listening to a constellation story or an evening chorus of frogs. 

In the world of outdoor exploration, river trips offer the best of both worlds: comfort and amenities of car camping combined with the serene remoteness of a truly backcountry setting. Camp chef? Check. Fresh veggies? Check. Cowboy coffee? Oh, yeah. Portable fire pit? You got it. 

With all our increasing demands, sometimes a night under the stars is just what you need. Turn your phone on airplane mode and concentrate on what matters: building memories with your loved ones. We’ll take care of the rest!


Some people say food is the most important part of the adventure. On all our overnight trips, CFI will provide breakfast, lunch, and dinner, a morning and afternoon snack, and an appetizer before dinner. If you have a dietary restriction or food allergy, note it on your medical form so we can best prepare.

Depends on the trip. As a general rule, CFI provides all group gear related to fully outfitting your trip. Specialized gear like PFDs, wetsuits, dry bags, educational materials are all provided by CFI. Additionally, we take care of all kitchen and dishware needs. 

Find out more about trip specific packing.

Most importantly, a willingness to slow down, connect to your surroundings, and experience the moment. Additionally, participants are required to bring a tent, sleeping bag, sleeping pad, personal clothing, medication, and other essential personal items. Many gear items are available for rent. Reach out to us if you are interested in seeing a trip specific packing list, or learn more about trip specific packing here.

CFI provides options to rent gear:

  • Two person tent: $30 / trip
  • Sleeping bag: $20 / trip
  • Kid sleeping pad: $7 / trip
  • Adult sleeping pad (paco pad): $15 / trip
  • Package deal: Sleeping bag, sleeping pad, and one tent per two people: $40 / trip

For any CFI summer camp, gear rentals are free!

Every CFI guide has either a Wilderness First Aid or Wilderness First Responder certification. Your trip leader will have a Wilderness First Responder certification. Anyone working with youth has passed a background check, and shuttle drivers are insured with clean driving records. Backcountry trips carry In-Reach satellite communication devices for emergencies. All guides have been evaluated by Canyonlands Field Institute as possessing the judgement, skills, and disposition required for mitigating risk in the field. 

As technology grows more and more invasive by the day, CFI promotes connection to what matters. To achieve this, all school and youth programs are unplugged and students are not permitted to bring electronic devices. Not only is there rarely cell service, devices are a distraction to our ability to connect to the present moment. On Private Group Trips or Adult Seminars, the use of devices is permitted but discouraged.

CFI works hard to ensure a positive experience for all guides and participants. Because of the unpredictable nature of outfitting, we have created a series of policies so maintain our ability to manage risk in the outdoors.

For critical information regarding cancellations, deposits, and other participant responsibilities, please view our trip policies page or contact us with any questions.

Thanks for asking...We know this can be an awkward subject. The fact is, our guides work extremely hard and appreciate getting tipped! 

On school trips tips are not expected but greatly appreciated. 

On an adult or private trip, an industry suggested tip is about 10% if your program fee, depending on your experience.

If you wish to include a gratuity, cash is preferred, but sending a check or a payment to CFI's Venmo: @canyonlandsfieldinstitute is also a great way to thank your guides for their hard work.  Tips are always pooled and distributed.

Need to Know

  • CFI staff are trained educators and guides with first aid and CPR certifications. Back-country trips carry satellite communications devices.  
  • All cook and dishware, meals, snacks, and river gear are provided by CFI.   
  • Tents, sleeping bags, and sleeping pads are available for rent from CFI.

CFI is a non-profit organization and fees are not taxed. By choosing CFI, you are supporting our efforts to provide lifechanging outdoor experiences for hundreds of children per year.  Scholarships are available on an as needed basis.