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Rafting in Moab, UT: What to Expect & Best Tours for 2024

Rafting in Moab, UT: What to Expect & Best Tours for 2024

If you are visiting Moab, UT, during the warm season, there is one activity that you really have to do, and that is rafting in Moab!

But what to expect and which rafting tour is right for you?

In this article, we share our experience with a half-day family-friendly Moab rafting tour. It was one of the highlights of our trip to the Moab area and a soft-adventure experience I can highly recommend to everyone.

In addition, we included some suggestions for longer and/or more adventurous rafting tours in Moab. There truly is a suitable and enjoyable Moab rafting experience for everyone.

At the end of the article, you can also find some practical tips for what to wear when going rafting in Moab. Read on!

Rafting in Moab, UT
Rafting near Moab

Why Go Rafting in Moab

With so many amazing things to do in Moab, Arches, and Canyonlands National Parks, it might be tough to narrow down your options. However, if you are visiting Moab in the summer months, there really is no better way to experience this beautiful area than going on a rafting trip on the Colorado River!

There are several reasons to go rafting in Moab. First, you get to see the most incredible scenery that isn’t easily accessible otherwise. Furthermore, rafting is the best activity that can truly be enjoyed in the scorching heat of the Utah desert in summer.

And finally, it’s a fun activity that can be done with the whole family, and is a great way to bond and spend quality time together. A couple of hours of just being there and living in a moment. Give it a try and you’ll love it!

Moab rafting trip
The scenery along the Colorado River near Moab is truly spectacular
Moab rafting - swimming in Colorado river
Swimming in the cool river on a hot summer’s day in Utah, surrounded by this amazing scenery, is as good as it gets!

Best Rafting Tours in Moab

There are several companies organizing rafting trips in Moab and they are all quite similar in terms of itinerary and pricing.

Below are some of the most popular options for rafting tours in Moab. If you rather do more research yourself, here you can find a big selection of rafting tours on Viator and on Get Your Guide, our favorite tour booking platform. When we can, we book tours via GetYourGuide, because they usually offer the most flexible cancelation options.

Easy Half-Day Moab Rafting Tour (Class I-II)

Half-day EASY trip. This is one of the most popular rafting experiences in Moab and the that we did. It covers 7 miles on a very quiet part of the Colorado River with class 1 & 2 rapids. It’s a really relaxing trip and your guide does all the paddling.

This rafting tour is perfect for those who want a relaxing, family-friendly rafting experience, but it’s definitely not exciting enough for those who want more adventure. For that, see the full-day tour below.

We were in Moab with three young kids and this was the best rafting tour for families that we found. The trip is suitable for everyone and it doesn’t require any experience. Furthermore, the scenery is stunning, and you can go swimming in the river if you want to. And don’t worry much about swimming because it’s really easy. Your guide chooses a safe part of the river for swimming and since you’re wearing life vests, you’re basically just floating with no effort whatsoever. It’s so much fun.

Keep in mind, that for this tour, children have to weigh 50 lbs (23 kg) in order to fit into the lifejackets. You may have to contact them if you have younger kids.

Good to know: Moab rafting tours include transfers from town to the launching location and back to town. Our tour offered a free hotel pick-up and drop-off. Depending on the starting time, some rafting tours also include lunch.

Moab rafting tour
This is as much ‘white water’ as you get on the family-friendly half-day rafting tour in Moab

Whitewater Rafting Tour (Class II-III)

If you are looking for a more adventurous rafting experience near Moab, consider this popular 6-hour tour. You will mostly be paddling through relatively small class 2 rapids, which is ideal for first-timers looking for a bit more adventure than the easy class 1 trips.

This tour covers the most beautiful part of the Colorado River near Fisher Tower’s section and that takes about 6 hours, with transfers and lunch included. You can also go swimming in the quieter parts of the river.

Good to know: This tour is also suitable for children from about 8 years and older. So if you are looking for a fun activity in Moab with teens, they’ll love this!

Rafts on Colorado River in Moab
Rafts at the launching point of our rafting trip

More Adventurous Rafting Tours (Class III & Up)

Another good option for those looking for a bit more action and adventure is this popular 4-hour rafting tour which includes a few class 3 rapids as well. It’s also family-friendly and ideal for families with kids ages 8 and higher.

If you just can’t get enough of rafting and want to spend more time on the water, consider this full-day rafting tour that takes about 9 hours. It includes class 3 & 4 rapids. It’s also suitable for adventurous families with teens (from about 10 years).

If you are looking for an even more extreme rafting experience in Moab, then check out this highly-rated 11-hour tour. It takes you rafting to Cataract Canyon in Canyonlands National Park. On this tour, you can encounter rapids of up to class 5! Please note that this is a challenging and long tour that includes over 30 whitewater rapids.


Overnight Rafting Tours

There are also longer, overnight rafting tours from Moab. Those trips are usually private, just for your family or group, and can be a wonderful adventure. You’d have to reach out to some local tour operators and see if they can arrange a trip like that for you.

READ ALSO: Best Tours in Moab

Rafting on the Colorado River from Moab in Utah
Some Moab tours offer a choice between rafts or sort of kayaks

Best Time to Go

The best season for rafting in Moab is in summer, from May to September. Most companies run rafting tours in Moab between mid-April or May until October.

Our rafting guide told us that he preferred the early morning rafting trips, especially on very hot days. Mid-day sun is really hot, even on the water.

Rafting in Moab with Kids – Our Experience

Our kids were 5, 5, and 7 when we went rafting in Moab. So we opted for this family-friendly tour.

It was July, with temperatures of over 110°F, and it was impossible to do any sightseeing in Arches National Park or Canyonlands in the heat of the day. So we were looking for something fun to do that would be truly enjoyable for everyone. That’s when we stumbled upon rafting tours.

At first, we weren’t sure if rafting tours were suitable for young children, but we were told that it’s truly a family-friendly experience. So we decided to give it a try. And so glad we did. Our kids absolutely loved it!

The boys ‘helped’ the guide with peddling and we also went swimming in the river, jumping off the raft and floating close to it for a while. It turned out to be the highlight of our Moab vacation for all three kids! Also my husband who was quite skeptical about doing this with the kids was positively surprised.

It wasn’t an adrenaline-rushing rafting adventure. Just a really nice trip for the whole family. Stunning scenery, fun for the kids, swimming in the cool water of the Colorado River – this was incomparably better than attempting any sightseeing in the heat or spending even more hours at the pool of our hotel.

If you are interested to give this a try, you can find more details and book this half-day tour here.

Rafting in Moab with kids
Family-friendly rafting was a hit with our kids!
Swimming in Colorado River during Moab rafting trip
Swimming in Colorado River is one of the highlights of a rafting trip

What to Wear & Pack for Rafting

Rafting companies foresee all the necessary equipment, including life jackets and helmets (for adventurous rafting trips), so you don’t have to worry about any of that.

It’s best to wear swimwear for rafting and water shoes are advisable. Flip-flops are usually not allowed.

I also highly recommend wearing UV t-shirts. It’s so hot in Moab in summer that your skin can burn in a matter of minutes. Sunscreen is a must as well!

You should also wear a sun hat for the rafting trips where no helmet is provided (easy rafting trips don’t require a helmet). There is always some wind and chances are big that your sun hat will blow away and into the river. So it’s best to pack a sun hat with strings if you have one, especially for children.

You may also want to pack a towel because you will get wet. We use quick-drying microfiber towels because they’re light to pack and dry quickly – ideal for travel.

Most rafting tours have a dry bag or a special box where you can store your belongings, such as a camera or a smartphone. However, they always say that taking any such items is at your own risk. So only pack what you really need and leave all the important documents and valuables in your hotel. If you want to, you can probably also pack a waterproof dry bag or a waterproof case for your smartphone.

You should also pack a good reusable water bottle for your trip!

Here’s an overview of what to wear/pack for rafting in Moab:

  • Water shoes
  • Swimwear
  • UV T-shirt
  • Sun hat
  • Sunscreen lotion
  • Quick-drying towel
  • Waterproof dry bag for your belongings or a waterproof phone case
  • Reusable water bottle
Family rafting in Moab Utah
It’s very hot in Moab in summer and sun protection on a rafting tour is a must!
Scenery of Colorado River near Moab in Utah
The scenery alone makes a Moab rafting trip worth it!

So, here’s our short guide to rafting in Moab. If you’re visiting this area and looking for more tips for what to see and do, please also check our other guides below.

READ MORE: Best Things to Do in Moab

More information for visiting the Moab area:

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Complete guide to rafting in Moab, Utah
Rafting in Moab - what to expect

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Ken Adams

Thursday 25th of March 2021

Took a 100 mile raft trip down Cataract Canyon. Guide with raft and tilt motor, in August low water, 30 miles from confluence to white water, 30 miles of rapids then 30 miles to takeout Opted to fly back over the "Maze" awesome after we had finished a float trip from Green River to Mineral Bottoms


Saturday 27th of March 2021

Wow, this sounds like an amazing experience, Ken! And a great combo to see the most remote areas from the water and from the air! Happy travels!

Jennifer Little

Wednesday 24th of February 2021

Jurga- I have been reading several of your posts and am looking at a month long trip touring several national parks with my twins who will be turning 5 at the end of the trip. I will be tackling this alone so it would be helpful to chat with someone who has done these adventures with kids this age and understands the twin dynamic. Any chance we could briefly chat offline somehow?


Friday 26th of February 2021

Hi Jennifer, unfortunately, we really have no time for personal conversations like that. With three kids, a full-time job, and all that's going on these days, it's really not feasible. It already takes us several days to get back to all the comments on the blog. I'm sure you'll understand. If you have any specific questions, please write them here or under related posts for the specific areas, and we'll do our best to help. That way, we can also help other readers looking for similar information. All the best!

Kate Foucek

Monday 18th of May 2020

What company did you schedule your rafting trip through? I would like to contact them to see about taking my 5 year old on the trip.


Tuesday 19th of May 2020

Hi Kate, I can't recall their name, but you can find the operator names via the links to the tours in the article. You can also ask whatever questions you have via GetYourGuide support if you can't find the supplier info. PS Our twins were also 5 years old when we went and there were also a couple of younger kids on the raft. Those half-day tours are on a very quiet part of the river.

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