Top River Rafting Getaways: Short Trips, Big Thrills (Weekend Escapes)

Moab River Rafting Getaway

The gurus of epic river rafting getaways in the American West offer a potpourri of wilderness immersions for time-stressed souls who can commit only a few days to their well-being. That’s you!

Western River Expeditions and its division Moab Adventure Center, recently selected as two of the top rafting companies in the U.S. by the readers of Newsweek Magazine, have fine-tuned their “shortcations” that offer most—if not all—of the time-out benefits of more extended escapes.

“Recent findings show that 40 percent of working Americans take only 4.4 vacation days a year,” reflected Brandon Lake, CMO and co-owner. “With this in mind, we have ‘shortcation’ river rafting trips that will help set your batteries on high-speed recharge, even for a day or two.”

Brandon Lake, CMO and co-owner

The following adventures will occur on only three or fewer nights for the upcoming rafting season. These journeys end in the red rock playground of Moab, Utah, except for one home-based from Las Vegas, Nevada, and one leaving from Merlin, Oregon. 

Cataract Canyon Express Two-Day/One-Night Rafting Trip 

Cataract Canyon, the section of the Colorado River that flows through the heart of Canyonlands National Park, might be the nation’s premier river trip in terms of excitement and diversity. 

This two-day adventure is offered from May through July when the river traditionally provides the most thrilling rides. Customized, high-speed rafts add to the excitement of dropping through the canyon into a series of nearly 30 whitewater rapids along this 100-mile journey. 

The $955 per person rate (ages 12 and up) includes transfers, rafting, hiking, one night of camping under the stars, and meals. Plan your Two-Day Cataract Canyon trip.

Cataract Canyon Four-Day/three-Night Rafting Trip 

Rafting the Colorado River in Cataract Canyon

This extended version of the 100-mile river adventure is offered from May through September. Depending on the thrill-seeking level, the conveyance choice is a J-Rig, Oar Boat, or Paddle Raft.  

On off-river excursions, there’s time to explore Native American ruins and pictographs. Guests seal memories of the canyon with a stunning return flight over Canyonlands National Park. 

The per-person rate is $1,935. The youth rate is $1,425, with a minimum age of 12 in May and June and an age of 10 from July through September. 

Rates include transfers (including the scenic flight), rafting, hiking, three nights of camping under the stars, and meals. See details on the 4-day Cataract Canyon rafting trip.

Lower Grand Canyon 3-Day/2-Night River Trip

3 Days Rafting in the Lower Grand Canyon

This April through September adventure based out of Las Vegas traverses 89 of the river’s lower miles with enough class II and III rapids to keep everyone on their toes. Hidden waterfalls and pools carve down to the river frequented by Blue Heron, hawks, and eagles.

The per-person rate is $1,895 for ages nine and up. Rates include a flight to the river, a scenic helicopter flight into the canyon’s depths, bus transfers back to Vegas, rafting, two nights of camping under the stars, hiking, and meals.

Check out the details on this 3-day Lower Grand Canyon rafting trip.

4-Day/3-Night Moab Vacation Southwest Sampler

Moab Sampler

This adventure, available from June through August, combines Moab, Utah’s best red rock playground, with a two-night stay at the Moab Marriott and one-night camping on the Colorado River.

This is one of Western’s most popular family experiences. First up is a morning exploration of Arches National Park with a van and a walking tour alongside knowledgeable guides. Then comes an afternoon exploration of red rock country in an off-road Hummer Safari. The following two days, guests will raft through class I and II rapids on the Colorado River and experience the fun of camping overnight there.

This adventure is open to families with children ages 5 and up. The per person rate is $895, $765 for ages 5-15. Rates include transfers to listed activities, two nights of hotel accommodations in Moab, rafting, one night of camping under the stars, and meals while on the rafting adventure. Book the Moab vacation Southwest sampler.

4-Day/3-Night Rogue River Lodge to Lodge Raft Trip, Oregon

Rogue River Rafting Getaway

This journey, available from May through September, offers the advantages of lodge – instead of tent – accommodations. The Rogue begins near Crater Lake in the Cascade Mountains and runs westerly through southern Oregon to the Pacific Ocean.

This river remains so remote that boats still deliver the mail in some regions where the river is the only road. Wildlife sightings may include river otters, deer, and black bears. Guests raft this legendary waterway along 45 miles, with whitewater classified class II-IV. Oar Boat, Paddle Raft, or Inflatable Kayak is a choice. The per-person rate ranges from $1,990 for adults to $1,920 for ages 7-16. Price includes rafting, hiking, meals, and lodging. Review the Rogue River Lodge itinerary.

Before you Go

Adventure awaits, even if you’re short on time. With Western River Expeditions’ “shortcation” rafting getaways, you can experience the majesty of the Colorado River, Rogue River, and beyond in just a few days. Choose from thrilling whitewater rapids, stunning natural landscapes, and comfortable camping or lodge stays.

Don’t let your busy schedule stop you from creating lasting memories. Book your escape today and recharge on the river.

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