Dark Canyon to Colorado River Packrafting & Backpacking Adventure
Explore Dark Canyon by Backpack, Exiting via the Colorado River With a Packraft
This 3- to 5-day adventure offers beginner packrafters access to the remote Colorado River through the lower portion of Cataract Canyon. Starting at the Sundance trail we hike a relatively easy trail along the canyon rim, then descend the rough and steep Sundance trail (a 1200 vertical foot drop) into Dark Canyon. Known for clear flowing water, ancient ruins and remote hiking, Dark Canyon forms at the Western Flank of the Blue Mountains and flows through the Bears Ears National Monument for close to 40 miles before merging with the Colorado River in the Glen Canyon National Rec Area. Our hike will take us through the lower section toward the Colorado River with one camp along the way. Once we exit Dark Canyon it’s a 13-mile paddle out on the Colorado with one night camping on the river if you do the 3-day course.
Choose the 5-day course and paddle to Blue Notch Canyon. Or add a bike component. And over seven burly days you’ll backpack, packraft and then pick up your bikes at the Cataract Canyon takeout, bikeraft to Blue Notch Canyon and ride back to Dark Canyon.
You can do any of these stellar adventures between April and October. During the hotter months pools and the river offer opportunities to cool off in. And during the spring and fall, warm days and cold nights make for a very pleasant journey. Four people max on this trip unless your private group of six or more wishes to sign up. Private groups may also schedule alternate dates than what are offered if guides are available. Please email us for details and inquiries.
This course includes an open packraft, PFD, paddle, helmet. As well, we provide all food in the backcountry, permits, wag bags, sanitizing kits, and camping permits.
For this adventure, you have the option of chartering a flight with Redtail Air out of Moab, one or both ways from the Moab airport to the Hite airstrip, where we meet you at the start of the adventure. Cost is $250 per person, one way. And if you choose to fly, we will shuttle together to and from the Hite airstrip and drive you back to Moab.
What’s Not Included
We do not offer two-way transportation. Thus you must fly, drive or rent a car. Also we do not provide whitewater boats, drysuits, river knives, whistles or throw bags. Depending on temps, you may or may not need a drysuit for this trip. However, generally spring and fall trips you will need one. You may rent drysuits for a 15% discount through BackcountryPackraft.com (we will give you the discount code once you pay your deposit).
A 25% deposit is required to secure your space. And another 25% deposit is required within 90 days of the course. You’ll need to provide the remaining balance 30 days prior to your course. The remaining balance is due immediately if you are registering inside of the 30 day window.
Minimum age: 18
Instructor: Steve Fassbinder is one of the country’s first Level 3 American Canoe Association Packraft Instructors. As well he is a Level 3 Kayak Instructor, is certified in Advanced Swiftwater Safety and as a Wilderness First Responder. An early adopter of packrafting, he has guided for three years and done remote packrafting expeditions worldwide for a dozen years.
What You Will Learn:
We designed this trip for adventurers looking to hone their backcountry packrafting skills. Although we do teach many of the standard techniques from our other packrafting courses, we spend less time on self-rescue and aggressive swimming skills and drills. Instead we focus more on what it takes to accomplish a multi-day packraft adventure in the backcountry. Checklist of things we cover in this course:
- ✔️Equipment (use and care)
- ✔️Swimming and general water confidence
- ✔️Dealing with currents
- ✔️Decision making
- ✔️Hazards & river dynamics
- ✔️Basic paddle strokes
- ✔️Using eddies
- ✔️Field repair-tips & tricks
- ✔️River commands
- ✔️Spacing on the river
2023 Dark Canyon Course Schedule
- ✓April 14-16—3-Day Dark Canyon/Colorado River Backpacking/Packrafting Adventure
- ✓May 5-7—3-Day Dark Canyon/Colorado River Backpacking/Packrafting Adventure
- ✓May 19-21—3-Day Dark Canyon/Colorado River Backpacking/Packrafting Adventure
- ✓June 20-25—5-Day Dark Canyon/Colorado River Backpacking/Packrafting Adventure
- ✓Sept 1-3—3-Day Dark Canyon/Colorado River Backpacking/Packrafting Adventure
- ✓Sept 8-10—3-Day Dark Canyon Backpacking & Packrafting
- ✓Sept 15-17—3-Day Dark Canyon Backpacking & Packrafting
- ✓Oct 9-15—Epic 7-Day Dark Canyon to Blue Notch Canyon Backpack, Packraft and Bikeraft Loop Tour
Add one to three additional days of packrafting and/or hiking to any of these trips. Or make the trip more exciting and difficult by adding a bikerafting component. Details on each course are coming soon. Email us for more info.
Additionally, please review our cancellation policy, which you will find on our Terms, Conditions & Cancellation Policy Page.
Dark Canyon Packrafting, Backpacking & Bikerafting Photo Album
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