The Colorado River near Moab, Utah, is a journey through whitewater, red rock, and blue mountains--a prismatic panorama that only the American West can create. Towering cliffs, monumental rock towers, snow-capped peaks, and desert vistas characterize this iconic landscape, and the river's swift water is an exciting avenue to tour it all. It makes a great beginner- to intermediate-level run with options for half day, full day, or overnight trips.
This stretch is also known as the Fisher Towers Section, named after the famous spires that dominate the horizon. An abundance of access points along Highway 128 makes this a low commitment run with various options for length and difficulty. Unlike other sections of the Colorado River, Moab Daily requires no fee, permit, or registration for private trips. Simply show up and put in. It is open to rafts, kayaks, canoes, and all other types of non-motorized craft.
The rapids are Class I through Class III, and the character and difficulty of the rapids depend on water levels. Rapids are punctuated by long pools that allow ample time to relax, picnic, and enjoy the scenery. The water is cool, but not cold, a perfect temperature for quick escapes from the desert heat. If you don't have whitewater experience or don't have your own boat, consider going with one of many commercial outfitters in Moab that offer rafting, kayaking, and paddleboarding excursions.
A brief list of some of the notable rapids on this run follows, but please consult a river map for specific locations and information.
The full Moab Daily run is 13 miles long, begins at Hittle Bottom Campground, and ends at Takeout Beach, both of which are located along Highway 128. Most of the campgrounds along the run can be used as alternate access points. Rocky Rapid, 6.8 river miles below Hittle Bottom, is a reasonable halfway point that can either start or finish a half day trip.
Camping along the river is an option for an extended trip. There are numerous developed campgrounds along river left that are accessible from either the highway or the water. These have toilets, tables, and fire rings, but no water or hookups. Fees are specific to each campground and are payable upon arrival. Camping is allowed at designated sites or on sandbars on river right. There is no fee, and sites are first-come, first-served. Regulations require using a fire pan and packing out all trash and human waste for any camps on river right. There are also riverside camps above and below the daily stretch, so you can add mileage to a multi-day itinerary for more scenery and time on the water.
The Colorado River is another destination adding to Moab's thrill. Arches National Park, Canyonlands, Sand Flats Recreation Area, and La Sal Mountains are all regional staples, but the river is unique among these as a water adventure in the desert. If you are visiting during the summer, consider rounding out your Moab vacation with a refreshing trip on the Moab Daily.