Moab Daily - Paddling

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Summary

See canyon country as the early explorers did—from the middle of the Colorado River.

Written by

Emma Walker

Distance

13.0 miles

Destination Distance From Downtown

17.1 miles

Difficulty

2 of 5 diamonds

The half-dozen rapids on the Moab Daily range from Class I to Class III, depending on water levels. While you won't be running any gnarly whitewater, paddlers should have working knowledge of rapid running and self-rescue—and, as always, wear a PFD.

Time To Complete

4 hours

The time this run takes depends largely on the water level. (Consider, too, the time it takes to set a shuttle at the end of a 13-mile run—unless you'll be making your way back up the canyon under your own power!)

Seasonality

All Seasons

The mighty Colorado is runnable here even at low water; be sure to check the current flows before heading out to get an idea of what you're in for.

Dog Friendly

No

This, too, depends on water levels, as well as what kind of rig you're paddling—some pups are right at home on the deck of a boat, while others would rather be literally anywhere else. No specific regulations prohibit dogs from this stretch of river (though after Salt Wash Rapid, you'll need to avoid pulling up on river right, which is within the boundaries of Arches National Park), but know your dog and plan accordingly.

Fees Permits

No

No permits are required for private groups to run the Moab Daily, though camping regulations apply to paddlers who split the trip into two days.

Topographical Map

Moab Daily - Paddling

Land Website

Moab Daily - Paddling

Review

Intro

The Moab Daily stretches through thirteen miles of majestic canyon country from Hittle Bottom to Takeout Beach and offers paddlers of all stripes—kayakers, SUPers, rafters, you name it—a sampling of some of the Moab area’s most photographed scenery, including the Fisher Towers, Castleton, and the distant La Sal Mountains. The rapids range from Class I to Class III, depending on the season and corresponding flow levels, and myriad sandbars allow for scouting, portaging, or simply stopping to take in the view. Don’t rush this run: you’ll want a full day to explore this section of one of the most iconic rivers in the American West.

What Makes It Great

It’s not hard to see why the BLM describes the Moab Daily as “Utah’s most popular river trip”: the red sandstone cliffs shoot a thousand feet into the sky, and despite its proximity to SR-128—which provides easy access to the run from downtown Moab or any number of BLM campsites—this section of the river still manages to feel wild. Thanks to undeveloped public land on much of both sides of the river, it’s not hard to imagine the Colorado as it looked in the late nineteenth century, when the Powell Expedition first explored the region. The timeless cliffs—which, past the Salt Wash Rapid, make up the southernmost border of Arches National Park—provide solitude from the relative metropolis of downtown Moab, and established campsites throughout the canyon might just tempt paddlers to extend their outing into an overnight.

Check the U.S. Geological Survey website for current streamflow conditions to get an idea of the rapids you’ll be running. You’ll also want to arrange your shuttle beforehand, as there’s no cell service in the canyon.

Who is Going to Love It

The rapids on the Moab Daily get up to Class III at optimum water levels, though much of the run is more float trip than whitewater. Boaters on this stretch of the Colorado should always wear PFDs on the water—it’s BLM regulation—and should be prepared to self-rescue if the need arises. Not ready to take on the whitewater by yourself? The BLM provides a list of approved local outfitters whose guides can get you safely down the river.

Directions, Parking, & Regulations

From downtown Moab, take 191 north to the turnoff for SR-128 and head upriver. Drive 23 miles to the Hittle Bottom Landing (also a fee campground) and put in. Shuttle arrangements can be made with any number of local services, or leave a car at the Takeout Beach Landing or Big Bend fee campground on your way.

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Location

River Road

38.755062, -109.333599

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