Category Archives: Adventure Travel

Time-Stressed Workers Will Benefit from These Epic Rafting ‘Shortcations’

Western River Expeditions and its Moab Adventure Center division, gurus of epic rafting vacations 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.

SALT LAKE CITY, UT – The gurus of epic rafting vacations 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.
 
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 longer 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 even for a day or two will help set your batteries on high-speed recharge.”
 
Following are adventures of only three or fewer nights available for the upcoming 2024 rafting season. These journeys begin and 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 2-Day/1-Night Rafting Trip: Cataract Canyon, the section of the Colorado River that flows through the heart of Canyonlands National Park, may be the nation’s premier river trip in terms of excitement and diversity. This 2-day adventure is offered May through July when traditionally the river offers 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. For details on the 2-day trip, please see https://www.moabadventurecenter.com/cataract-canyon-express 

Cataract Canyon 4-Day/3-Night Rafting Trip: This longer version of the 100-mile river adventure is offered May through September with a choice of conveyance depending on the level of thrill-seeking: 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, minimum age 12 in May and June; age 10 July through September.  Rates include transfers (including the scenic flight), rafting, hiking, three nights of camping under the stars, and meals. For details on the 4-day trip, please see https://www.westernriver.com/cataract-canyon-rafting 

Lower Grand Canyon 3-Day/2-Night River Trip:  This April through September adventure that is 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 their way down to the river frequented by Blue Heron, hawks and eagles. The per-person rate is $1,895 for ages 9 and up. Rates include a flight to the river, a scenic helicopter flight into the depths of the canyon; bus transfers from the river back to Vegas; rafting, two nights of camping under the stars, hiking, and meals. For details on this 3-day trip, please see https://www.westernriver.com/grand-canyon-river-trip 

4-Day/3-Night Moab Vacation Southwest Sampler:  This adventure, available from June through August, combines the best of the red rock playground of Moab, Utah, with a 2-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 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 on the river. 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.  For details, please see https://www.moabadventurecenter.com/southwest-sampler 

4-Day/3-Night Rogue River Lodge to Lodge Raft Trip, Oregon: 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. There is a choice of Oar Boat, Paddle Raft, or Inflatable Kayak. The per-person rate is from $1,990 for adults and $1,920 for ages 7-16. Price includes rafting, hiking, meals, and lodging. For details, please see https://www.westernriver.com/rogue-river-lodge-trip

For a copy of Western River Expeditions’ 2024 catalog, for questions, availability and reservations, call toll-free: 866.904.1160 (Local: 801.942.6669) or visit the website at: http://www.westernriver.com/. For information on Moab Adventure Center programs, call 866.904.1163 or visit https://www.moabadventurecenter.com/.
 
Founded in 1961 by Colorado River rafting pioneer Jack Currey, Western River Expeditions annually escorts more people on rafting trips in Utah, Idaho and Arizona than any other company. It is the largest licensed outfitter in the Grand Canyon.  In 2023 it was chosen by the readers of USA Today 10Best as the #2 rafting company in the nation. In 2024 it was selected as one of the Top rafting companies in the U.S. by the readers of Newsweek Magazine. The company is also the proud recipient of the “Best of State” award through Utah’s Premier Recognition and Awards Program for the past nineteen consecutive years (2004-2022).
 
Moab Adventure Center is the largest single tour provider in Moab, Utah. Located at 225 South Main St. in Moab, the center has a 2,000-square-foot space booking tours and selling adventure related gear, clothing, maps and souvenirs. In April 2024, it was also voted as one of the Top Five rafting companies in the nation by the readers of Newsweek Magazine.

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5 Montana National Parks Tours

The phenomenal Grand Prismatic in Yellowstone National Park. There are a variety of ways to experience one of America’s most popular parks © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

Here are a 5 exciting ways to explore Montana and its most popular National Parks. 

Explore Yellowstone and Glacier by RV: Discover the natural beauty of Yellowstone, Glacier, and more with the comfort and convenience of a new Winnebago RV, you’ll have the freedom to travel at your own pace and experience the great outdoors like never before. Based in Bozeman, MT, Blacksford’s brand new, luxury RVs and camper vans are low-mileage and impeccably maintained, ensuring a safe and worry-free trip. They offer flexible pick-up and drop-off times, all the amenities you’ll need for a fantastic vacation, and support to ensure a seamless rental experience. 

Saddle and Paddle Yellowstone: Flying Pig Adventures’ 3-night Yellowstone tour gives guests the opportunity to experience the park like never before. The thrill of witnessing one of nature’s most iconic environments, tackling rough terrain on horseback, and battling Class III rapids cannot be found anywhere else. From fly fishing, to horseback rides, to Yellowstone whitewater rafting, guests will be talking about their unique experiences for years to come. 

Cycle Glacier National Park: The Big Sky meets six days of big smiles on Escape Adventures’ epic Glacier National Park/Going-to-the-Sun Road bike trip. Based in Montana’s 1,583-square-mile Glacier National Park, with its 375 historic properties plus six historic landmarks, riders will cycle into some of North America’s most breathtaking landscapes, including Going-to-the-Sun Road. At each stop, each slow pass, guests will learn a little more about the “Crown of the Continent” ecosystem. 

Big Sky Luxury Adventure: In Big Sky, Montana, The Wilson Hotel serves as a base camp for adventure whether it’s winter or summer. Guests can ski and snowboard Big Sky Resort’s expansive 5,850 acres of terrain in winter, and hike nearby shaded forests and wildflower-filled meadows, raft or fly fish the clear waters of the Gallatin River, and experience the adrenaline rush of lift-served mountain biking in summer. At the end of the day, The Wilson offers spacious, sophisticated accommodations steps from on-site amenities and Big Sky Town Center. 

Glamping Cowboy Retreat:  Ranchlands is excited to formally open the 80,000-acre Paintrock Canyon Ranch in the Bighorn Mountains. Guests will immerse themselves in ranch life, explore the surrounding areas on horseback, fly fish, hike, and experience the natural world in this unique landscape. Accommodations are designed for guests to be as close to nature as possible, but with all the comforts of home. Large, safari-style tents are stylishly furnished with full-sized beds, bedside tables, dressers, and chairs. Meals are prepared by a private chef and incorporate Ranchlands beef, local produce, and dairy whenever possible. The ranch makes a great base camp for a Yellowstone National Park adventure.

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Celebrate Canyonlands NP 60th Anniversary with Moab Adventure Center

For those who can only spare a few hours on the river, Colorado River Jet Boat Fun Run for $139 per person is a three-hour, 64-mile jet boat excursion with canopy-covered seating into spectacular river scenery bordering Canyonlands National Park.

MOAB, UT– In 1964, 257,640 acres of high desert in Utah were formally designated by President Lyndon B. Johnson as Canyonlands National Park. Some 10,000 years ago Native Americans lingered here long enough to signal their presence through drawings (petroglyphs) on rock walls. Only 2,000 years ago hunter-gatherer tribes created granaries to store their harvests. Many granaries still survive. Early European settlers gazed farther west, leaving this geologically challenging world as the hideout for a handful of outlaws.
 
Today, with its 60th anniversary upon us, Canyonlands National Park remains the least visited among Utah’s “Big 5” national parks despite offering some of the best rafting, hiking, jeep tours, mountain biking and canyoneering in the country. In 2024, Moab Adventure Center is making it easier than ever to access some or all of the vast park.
 
One of the most overlooked (and most breathtaking) districts of Canyonlands National Park is the River District. Carving its way through this unmatched landscape is the mighty Colorado River. Kam Wixom, Marketing Director for Moab Adventure Center, reports “a remarkable surge in popularity” with their 96-mile, 2-day Cataract Canyon Express raft trip (per person rate $955) or Cataract Canyon 4-Day Expedition (per person rate $1935) through class III-IV rapids in the heart of Canyonlands National Park.  Rates include transfers, hiking, camping, meals and whitewater rafting (plus scenic flight on 4-day trip).
 
For those who can only spare a few hours on the river, Colorado River Jet Boat Fun Run for $139 per person is a three-hour, 64-mile jet boat excursion with canopy-covered seating into spectacular river scenery bordering Canyonlands National Park. Snacks and drinks are served along with commentary by the guide/pilot. Keep an eye out for a petrified forest, fossil beds, spectacular rock cliffs, Indian ruins, petroglyphs and arches.  See: https://www.moabadventurecenter.com/jet-boat-colorado-river
 
To grasp the grandeur and enormity of all of Canyonlands, Moab Adventure Center can arrange a one-hour Canyonlands National Park Airplane Tour. The flights are year-round and scheduled to depart daily at 9 a.m. All guests have window views and headsets to enjoy the commentary of a professional pilot on a 125-mile flyover that includes regions inaccessible to hikers. The per-person rate is $249 ($187 ages 12-3). An 80-minute Arches and Canyonlands Airplane Tour also departs year-round daily. The per person rate is $329 ($247 ages 12-3). See https://www.moabadventurecenter.com/moab-air-tours for details.
 
Moab Adventure Center also maps out 4×4 Jeep Rentals for up to five passengers (including driver) available for one-day or multi-day use. The vehicles are brand-new modified Jeep Rubicons, considered the best and most capable jeep to explore the trails. Jeep Rubicons feature an automatic transmission, a 3-inch lift kit, oversized tires, seat belts for 5, and free satellite radio.  A per-vehicle daily rate of $330 includes a book of trail maps, a cooler of water and ice, and 150 free miles daily. GPS signal monitors in every Jeep means you are never really lost in the backcountry surrounding Moab. Complimentary airport and in-town shuttles are included. See https://www.moabadventurecenter.com/moab-jeep-rentals-rubicon
 
This National Park Service site https://www.nps.gov/cany/index.htm is a starting point for a pre-visit discovery of Canyonlands. It even includes time management touring tips for those with one hour or several days to spend in one or more of NPS’ designated regions – called sections – of Canyonlands. Please see https://www.nps.gov/cany/planyourvisit/itineraries.htm
 
Moab Adventure Center is a division of Western River Expeditions (http://www.westernriver.com/) an adventure travel company headquartered in Salt Lake City, with operations and offices in Moab and Fredonia, AZ. The company is the largest single tour provider in Moab, Utah. The Moab Adventure Center is located at 225 South Main St., Moab, UT 84532. For information and reservations please visit https://www.moabadventurecenter.com/ or call (435) 259-7019 or (866) 904-1163. The center also has a 2,000-square-foot retail space selling adventure related gear, clothing, maps and souvenirs.

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Leading Tour Companies Have Short-Term Sale on Bucket-List Itineraries

Fes, Morocco: Select itineraries from global guided vacation company, Trafalgar, are 15-20% off through February 15, 2024.Travelers can save 20% on top itineraries such as the 10-day Best of Morocco itinerary with visits to Casablanca, Marrakesh and Fes. © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

Intrepid travelers looking to save big on 2024 bucket-list travel need look no further than tour companies Trafalgar, Contiki, Costsaver, Insight Vacations and Brendan Vacations. These travel brands are offering discounts on itineraries across the world, from Italy to New Zealand to Morocco, but only for a few weeks.

Contiki: Contiki, the social travel company for 18-35 year olds is offering epic savings on a variety of trips. Travelers can get a taste of cobblestone streets and delicious cuisine with the staple European Explorer at 25% off or witness exotic wildlife from penguins to hippos and wildebeests on the new Sea, Safari, South Africa at 15% off. Anyone looking to do some island hopping in the new year can save 20% on the Thai Island Hoping East itinerary or set out on a USA Road Trip and save 20%. The Big Social Sale is available on a selection of itineraries through Jan. 31, 2024.

Brendan Vacations: Celtic travel expert, Brendan Vacations is offering guests up to 20% off all guided trips for 2024 including the Best of Scotlandand Iconic Ireland and Ashford Castle itineraries. Travelers interested in independent, fully customizable itineraries can save $200 off pp on Self Drive and Locally Hosted Rail experiences, and $250 off pp Private Chauffeur and Lux Self Drive experiences. The Brendan Vacations sale runs through February 15, 2024.

Trafalgar: Select itineraries from global guided vacation company, Trafalgar, are 15-20% off through February 15, 2024. Travelers can save 20% on top itineraries such as the 10-day Best of Morocco itinerary with visits to Casablanca, Fes and Marrakesh. Or Western Discovery, a new itinerary for 2024 that travels across California, Nevada and Arizona over the course of two weeks with visits to the Grand Canyon, Balboa Park, Yosemite National Park, Monterey and more.

Insight Vacations: Premium tour company Insight Vacations is offering 15-20% off select itineraries across the globe through February 15, 2024. Travelers can save 20% and spend two weeks exploring the stunning architecture and rich culture of Hungary, Austria and Poland on Highlights of Eastern Europe. Or save 18% off on Italian Intermezzo and venture throughout Italy from Milan to Rome with stops in the lakes district, Venice, Florence and more.

Costsaver: Travelers can make the most of their adventure Costsaver, the tour company that allows travelers to tailor their travel experience to suit their travel needs. The brand is offering 15-20% off select itineraries across the globe through February 15, 2024. Save 20% off Highlights of Scandinavia and explore the beauty and history of the North in Denmark, Norway and Sweden. Or check out and save 20% on Best of Colorado a new itinerary for 2024 that ventures to Rocky Mountain National Park, Denver, Vail, Colorado Springs and more.

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First Phase of 34-Mile Adirondack Rail Trail Completed

Construction on the first phase of the Adirondack Rail Trail, 10 miles of what will be a 34-mile, multi-use recreational corridor for outdoor adventurers between Tupper Lake and Lake Placid, has been completed © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

Construction on the first phase of the Adirondack Rail Trail, 10 miles of what will be a 34-mile, multi-use recreational corridor for outdoor adventurers between Tupper Lake and Lake Placid, has been completed, New York State Governor Kathy Hochul announced.

The first of three construction phases converted the former railbed along the Lake Placid to Saranac Lake segment of the corridor into a world-class shared-use path that when complete, will be open all year, free of charge, for hikers, bikers, cross-country skiers and snowmobile enthusiasts. 

To protect public safety, access to the Lake Placid to Saranac Lake segment was restricted during active construction. The public is now allowed in this segment of the corridor; snowmobile access through the entire 34-mile Adirondack Rail Trail begins on Dec. 10, 2023.

“The Adirondacks provide some of the most beautiful natural landscapes and resources in the world alongside scenic communities ready to welcome visitors,” Governor Hochul said“Today’s milestone is a step towards realizing the vision of the Adirondack Rail Trail and I look forward to the project’s ongoing progress that will bring year-round enjoyment to Rail Trail users and boost local economies.”

Upon completion of all three phases of construction, the Adirondack Rail Trail will connect the communities of Lake Placid, Saranac Lake and Tupper Lake. The route will provide visitors with the opportunity to enjoy the unique charm and amenities of each community while providing access to miles of breathtaking trails, numerous campsites and abundant waterways in the Forest Preserve lands adjacent to the corridor. Along the Rail Trail, interpretive signage will help visitors learn about the history of the railway, cultures of adjacent communities and surrounding lands and waters.

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and Office of General Services (OGS) awarded Kubricky Construction Corp. of Wilton, Saratoga County, the $7.9-million contract for the first phase of construction. The contract is funded by NY Works, with an additional $225,000 supported by the State’s Environmental Protection Fund for construction oversight and inspections. The first phase of construction began at Station Street in Lake Placid, just west of the Lake Placid Depot, and ended just past the Saranac Lake Depot near the intersection of Cedar Street and Route 86, totaling 9.9 miles. In October, DEC announced a Request for Information (RFI) to submit ideas and plans for use and public access to the historic Saranac Lake Depot building on the Adirondack Rail Trail in the village of Saranac Lake. DEC is reviewing submissions before issuing a formal Request for Proposals. The RFI closed to public submissions on Nov. 3, 2023.

“The Adirondack Rail Trail is well on its way to becoming a prime destination in the Adirondacks, connecting New Yorkers to nature and attracting visitors to the region’s wide-ranging, multi-seasonal opportunities for recreation,” New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos said. “Today’s milestone marks the completion of the first phase of the Rail Trail’s construction and an opportunity to recognize and celebrate the sustained efforts of the State, federal, Indian Nation, and local partners working together advance this regional asset from concept to reality.”

The initial phase of construction also included work on expanded parking options in Tupper Lake and the removal of additional rails around the Saranac Lake Depot. Construction of the second phase of the trail, including the Saranac Lake to Floodwood segment, began in 2023 and will pause for the winter. This phase is expected to be completed in late 2024. The final phase of construction from Floodwood to Tupper Lake is expected to begin in 2024, pause for winter and conclude in 2025. The Saranac Lake to Tupper Lake trail segments were open to interim recreation throughout the first phase of construction. OGS will continue to oversee trail design and construction throughout all three phases.

The project is part of DEC’s strategic investments through the Adventure NY Initiative to enhance public access to State lands and facilities and connect people with nature and the outdoors. The trail is designed to be accessible by people of all abilities to the maximum extent practicable. Most of the trail surface will consist of compacted crushed stone. The trail will be paved in select areas within the village of Saranac Lake and on small sections of trail over bridges. 

Office of General Services Commissioner Jeanette Moy said,“The OGS team is proud to have worked in partnership with the DEC and DOT to fulfill Governor Hochul’s commitment to creating a recreational rail trail that would allow residents and visitors to experience the scenic Adirondacks and its local communities with ease. As we celebrate the completion of the trail’s first phase today, we also stand committed to fully realizing the Governor’s vision of a world-class, multiple-use, year-round, and accessible trail connecting Lake Placid to Tupper Lake.”

State Department of Transportation Commissioner Marie Therese Dominguez said, “The New York State Department of Transportation is proud of the role we played in the beginning phases of construction on the Adirondack Rail Trail, clearing old tracks and laying the foundation for a new chapter of recreation in the Adirondack Park. This multi-purpose trail will allow residents and tourists alike to enjoy the natural beauty and majesty of the Adirondacks year-round in a sustainable way. Thank you to Governor Hochul and our partners at DEC and OGS for supporting this project from the beginning and for the work that went into making this first phase of the Adirondack Rail Trail a reality.”

“Completion of the first phase of the Adirondack Rail Trail is welcome news for our region. Investments and enhancements such as this are crucial to helping our region continue to develop,” State Senator Dan Stec said. “Once all three phases are completed, the trail will be a vital part of the North Country economy and provide another unique outdoor recreational activity for residents and visitors alike.”

“The Adirondack Rail Trail is a testament to New York’s commitment in showcasing how we can maintain the pristine character of our natural environmental resources while developing the capacity of them to serve as world class outdoor recreational assets,” Assemblymember Matthew Simpson said. “With the Stage 1 now complete, the reality of this vision coming to fruition is cause for true celebration. I applaud Governor Hochul and DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos for their ongoing support of this project and offer a tip of the cap to the men and women who had a hand in the physical construction of this great project.”

Work to transform the trail started in October 2020 when the State Department of Transportation (DOT) worked to remove rail infrastructure from the Tupper Lake to Lake Placid segment of the corridor. In March 2022, DEC and DOT announced the transfer of jurisdiction to DEC, marking the formal completion of the rail removal phase and the start of the formal trail design and construction phase. With the transfer of jurisdiction, DEC assumed management of public safety and recreational activities, as well as maintenance, along this segment of the corridor. 

Upon completion of construction, DEC will assume day-to-day management of the trail, working closely with stakeholders and municipalities. Up-to-date information on corridor conditions, phases of construction, guidance on interim recreation, and a public use map are available on DEC’s Remsen-Lake Placid Travel Corridor webpage. Additional details about the 2020 Remsen-Lake Placid Travel Corridor Unit Management Plan Amendment/Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement are also available on DEC’s website.

More information at https://www.dec.ny.gov/places/adirondack-rail-trail.

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The Best Chance to Lock in Space on a 2025 Grand Canyon Raft Trip is Now

Western River’s reservations team has opened reservations for river rafting itineraries in the Grand Canyon that begin in 2025 as early as April and continue through September.

SALT LAKE CITY, UT– The scramble for seats on the world’s most coveted river rafting vacations in the Grand Canyon begins on Tuesday, Nov. 28, at 6 p.m. Mountain Time (5 p.m. Pacific, 7 p.m. Central and 8 p.m. Eastern), Western River Expeditions announced.
 
This annual event attract adventure lovers from around the country and around the world, who yearn to bag a seat on a coveted river rafting expedition through Arizona’s Grand Canyon.
 
“On Nov. 28 at 6 p.m. we’ll be taking reservations online, and at 9 am on Nov. 29, Western River’s reservations team will be available to take calls for river rafting itineraries that begin in 2025 as early as April and continue through the month of September,” explains Brandon Lake, co-owner and company CMO. “We encourage anyone interested to visit https://www.westernriver.com/grand-canyon-raft-trips-2025 and join our email list for updates and reminders.”
 
This is the widely anticipated opportunity to secure reservations now for what many rafting aficionados consider one of the world’s ultimate river rafting experiences. These early bird booking dates are expected to secure reservations for up to 90 percent of Western River Expeditions’ 2025 Grand Canyon vacations inventory. Historically demand outpaces supply, and within hours of the reservation window opening, many departures are sold out. For trip details, please see visit Western’s Grand Canyon Rafting page.
 
“People ask us why we are taking reservations now for 2025; why not just focus on 2024?” says Lake. “Due to these high-demand trips, we must look two years ahead. Western’s 6- and 7-Day Grand Canyon trips for 2024 are sold out, and space is very limited in the upcoming season for shorter departures of 3 and 4 days. Travelers interested in possibly rafting the canyon in 2024 are still urged to call Western’s sales office. Because people book so far in advance, cancellations do happen. Getting your name on the waitlist is advised.”
 
The river rafting season on the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon runs from April into September. The longer 6- and 7-day trips with the thrills of class III-V rapids are open to guests as young as 12. The minimum age is nine for 3- and 4-day trips that come with class II-III rapids. Western’s exclusive J-Rig raft provides accessibility for all levels of rafters on even the largest whitewater rapids in the Grand Canyon. Rafting trips include plenty of hiking in side canyons that allow access to waterfalls, slot canyons, native ruins, rock art, and geologic wonders that the 5 million or so casual hikers from the rim will simply never see.
 
For details on the trips, Western River Expeditions offers complimentary Expedition Guides in PDF format (https://www.westernriver.com/expedition-guide). The comprehensive guides include river maps, overviews, full itineraries, camping and weather information, details on physical requirements, packing lists, and more.
 
Grand Canyon trips are always in high demand and fill quickly. To protect the Canyon and maximize one’s enjoyment of nature, the National Park Service closely regulates the number of rafting participants traveling through the Grand Canyon each year, creating space limitations and a scramble for reservations. 
 
For those who are flexible and perhaps miss the boat on Grand Canyon reservations, two lesser-known options to rafting the Grand Canyon include a four-day trip through Cataract Canyon, often referred to as the “The Grand Canyon’s Younger Sister”.
 
“Utah’s Cataract Canyon, located deep within Canyonlands National Park, is near enough in scale, appearance and proximity to the Grand Canyon that it works the same kind of magic one will find in the Grand herself. Just a short distance upstream on the Colorado River System, this is hands down the best alternative to a Grand Canyon rafting vacation,” explains Lake.
 
“If you’re planning to travel with kids, an option that families often enjoy even more than Grand Canyon is a spectacular five-day family-oriented journey down Desolation Canyon on the Green River in Utah. This is a mellower but equally breathtaking rafting experience. Like Cataract, it also departs from Moab, Utah, and because it is lesser known, it has good availability for 2024,” he adds. 

Preview 2025 Grand Canyon dates & rates here

To access Grand Canyon reservations or obtain a copy of Western River Expeditions’ annual catalog, call toll-free: 866-904-1160 (Local: 801-942-6669) or visit the website at: http://www.westernriver.com/.

Also, there is still limited availability on select departures in the Grand Canyon as well as some unforgettable experiences in UtahIdaho, and Oregon. See them all at  www.westernriver.com.
 
Western River Expeditions is an adventure travel company headquartered in Salt Lake City, with operations and offices in Moab, Utah and Fredonia, Arizona. Annually from March through October it escorts more people down rivers on professionally guided rafting trips in Utah, Idaho and Arizona than any other company. It is the largest licensed outfitter in the Grand Canyon and the largest single tour provider in Moab, UT, through its division Moab Adventure Center (http://www.moabadventurecenter.com/).
 
Western River Expeditions was founded in 1961 by Colorado River rafting pioneer Jack Currey. In 2023 the operator was chosen by the readers of USA Today 10 Best as the #2 rafting company in the nation. The company is also the recipient of the “Best of State” award through Utah’s Premier Recognition and Awards Program for the past 19 consecutive years (2004-2022).

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12 Stellar Fall Adventures

Avoid the turbulent waters of the Drake Passage and reach Antarctica faster by booking an early season fly-and-cruise expedition through Adventure Life.

With cooler temperatures, colorful leaves, fewer crowds and, this year, a “ring of fire” eclipse, fall is a great time to travel. From desert hiking and biking to mountain, rainforest and island adventures and early Antarctica expeditions, here are 12 stellar trips this season.

  1. Utah Eclipse Trek: Backpack the Boulder Mail Trail through the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in southern Utah with Wildland Trekking for an adventure among slickrock formations, ponderosa pine-covered plateaus and canyons with spring-fed creeks. A five-day departure in October will offer the opportunity to take in “ring of fire” views as an annular eclipse passes overhead. https://wildlandtrekking.com/trips/boulder-mail-trail/
  2. Early Season Antarctica: Avoid the turbulent waters of the Drake Passage and reach Antarctica faster by booking an early season fly-and-cruise expedition through Adventure Life. Begin the eight-day trip in Punta Arenas, Chile, then fly two hours to King George Island, board the Magellan Explorer and cruise among the icebergs, penguins, seals, and whales of the white continent. https://www.adventure-life.com/antarctica/cruises/13000/classic-antarctica-air-cruise
  3. Autumn in Austria’s Alps: With a long fall season thanks to its lower elevation, Best of the Alps destination Kitzbühel, Austria, is the perfect getaway for a hiking, biking and culinary getaway as the leaves change color. Hike among grassy slopes, mountain summits, lakes and waterfalls, ride the roads, flowing singletrack and easy e-bike tours, and savor the flavors of a traditional farmers’ market, award-winning restaurants and food festivals. https://www.bestofthealps.com/en/d/kitzbuhel/
  4. Death Valley Eclipse Bikepacking: Ride the heart of the Mojave Desert, from Death Valley National Park to Red Rock Canyon, during the Oct. 14th annular eclipse with Escape Adventures. On this five-day bikepacking tour, navigate the wide valley floor, sunbaked foothills and stacks of boulders, stopping to visit historic sites accessed by 1930s-era Civilian Conservation Corps roads. https://escapeadventures.com/tour/death-valley-and-red-rock-mountain-bike-tour/
  5. Amazon Autumn Adventure: Experience the astounding biodiversity of the Amazon rainforest during a stay at Ecuador’s Sacha Lodge. The 5,000-acre private ecological reserve surrounding the lodge is home to more than 600 bird species and other wildlife, providing guests an up-close opportunity to learn about the rainforest from naturalists and native Quechua guides. https://www.sachalodge.com/
  6. Piedmont Culinary + Hiking: The wine region of Piedmont could very well be the ultimate destination for casual hikers who are also food and wine lovers. Accommodations during your journey include a UNESCO site, a wine estate, and a boutique hotel in the countryside. In early October, it might still be harvest time for the nebbiolo grapes and the colors make the hills and vineyards look like they are painted! https://www.tourissimo.travel/piedmont-barolo-hiking
  7. Yellowstone Horseback Fly Fishing: Travel by horseback into Yellowstone National Park’s interior and cast for trout on seldom-fished streams guided by the experts at Flying Pig Adventures. Whether it’s for a few hours or a full day, a family or a group of friends, Flying Pig will handle all the details for a truly unique Yellowstone fishing excursion. https://www.flyingpigrafting.com/flyfishing-montana
  8. Cycle Across Japan: Ride & Seek Bicycle Adventures’ 22-day Samurai Tour travels through three distinct parts of Japan and immerses cyclists in the country’s spectacular landscape, culture and history. Explore the enchanting Noto Peninsula and the Japanese Alps, follow the road less traveled across the smallest of Japan’s main islands and ride around Mount Fuji to the shores of the Pacific Ocean. https://rideandseek.com/tour/samurai-shikoku-island-japan/
  9. National Parks by RV: National parks saw huge crowds over the summer, but fall is a great time to visit for less traffic and pleasant temperatures. Blacksford rents fully stocked Mercedes-Benz Sprinter overland adventure vehicles from Winnebago with all-inclusive pricing that provides unlimited miles, bedding, kitchen and bath supplies, Wi-Fi, a free annual pass to the national parks and 24-hour roadside assistance. https://www.blacksford.com/
  10. Jackson Hole Glamping: Wyoming’s Fireside Resort offers 25 luxuriously outfitted tiny house rental units designed by Wheelhaus just a short distance from Grand Teton National Park and the Jackson Hole ski slopes, making it the perfect place to stay for a fall getaway or winter ski trip. https://www.firesidejacksonhole.com/
  11. Fall Galapagos Adventure: Fall is one of the best times of year to visit Ecuador’s Galapagos Islands, particularly when it comes to wildlife and weather. The Finch Bay Galapagos Hotel has joined forces with Scalesia Galapagos Lodge to offer a new weeklong program that includes day trips aboard the yacht Sea Lion, glamping in luxury tents on Isabela Island and visits to remote locations that highlight the incredible diversity of the archipelago. https://www.scalesialodge.com/
  12. Fall in Big Sky: A visit to Big Sky, Montana, and stay at The Wilson Hotel offers the opportunity for fall adventures in Yellowstone country. With elk bugling and pockets of aspen trees turning golden amid the green forest, hike and mountain bike the trails surrounding town, fish the Gallatin River or take one last tour of Yellowstone National Park’s natural wonders before roads close for the season. https://thewilsonhotel.com/

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Western River Expeditions: Group Rafting Adventures Are Ideal for Solo Travelers

SALT LAKE CITY – You’ve had a bee in your bonnet for some time now. You want to go on an adventure. You heard this year will be the best year in decades for spring and summer runoff so a river rafting adventure is the choice. But the effort of organizing a trip with friends and/or family seems daunting.
 
“I think I’ll just do this solo,” you declare.
 
Leaning into Western River Expeditions’ expertise when it comes to all things rafting and rivers, you find yourself on and off the water sharing laughs and thrills with assorted new friends. The gathering isn’t a couple’s night or a family play date; rather this is a “we’re all in this together” camaraderie encouraged by Nature herself.
 
A plus side of traveling solo is being able to secure room on the raft when there’s no space available left for couples and small pairings. Solo can be a bonus when trying to wiggle onto coveted trips through the Grand Canyon. Once slotted in, however, the sense of solo vanishes among new friends, including the guides, who are all sharing the awe of majestic scenery and star-filled skies.
 
Many solo guests report traveling single liberated them from the roles and expectations that may have subconsciously bound their natural curiosity back home. It also gave them the security of traveling with a group of like-minded people.
 
“After hearing tales of Lava and Hermit rapids and ‘riding on the front,’ I booked a Grand Canyon trip with Western River Expeditions. None of my friends were interested, so I just signed up solo. From the moment I arrived, I was never alone,” said Sallie, a guest from California.
 
For stories from travelers who launched themselves solo on a Western River Expeditions adventure, please see: https://www.westernriver.com/best-solo-travel-experiences
 
Here are Western River Expeditions’ most popular trips with solo travelers.
 
In Arizona, Grand Canyon 3-Day River Trip: Think two nights on the river, a helicopter ride into the canyon, whitewater rafting with ample class II – III rapids, incredible meals, a jet boat ride and easy access from Las Vegas. The Grand Canyon 3-day river trip is a popular introductory experience for solo travelers. Anticipate possible sightings of the elusive Blue Heron, rare California Condors, Big Horn sheep and soaring hawks and eagles. Departures are April through September. The rate is from $1,750.
 
In Arizona, Grand Canyon 6 or 7-Day Vacation: This extended river journey descends deeper into geologic time while exploring the first 188 miles of the Grand Canyon. Guests experience world-class whitewater including legendary Lava Falls, Hermit, Crystal, and more. More than 60 class III – V rapids provide thrills aplenty. Off the river are hikes to waterfalls and Native American sites through astounding side canyons. Departures are April through September. The rate is from $3,345.
 
South of Moab, Utah, Colorado River 4-Day Cataract Canyon: This adventure over four days and three nights explores Canyonlands National Park on the Colorado River that winds through stunning sandstone sculptures while encountering some of the best whitewater in North America. Think class III – V rapids where the Green and Colorado Rivers meet in a majestic setting called “The Confluence.” This is where Cataract Canyon begins, a deep 100-mile-long chasm through the heart of the National Park. Departures are from May through September. The rate is from $1,825.
 
In Idaho, the Middle Fork of the Salmon River coursing through the remote and rugged mountains of central Idaho is a legend among river runners who appreciate boundless class III – V rapids. Designated as a National “Wild & Scenic River,” this fast-paced trip has incredible hikes, hot springs, whitewater and scenery. This pure, clear, free-flowing river drops 3,000 feet over its 100-mile course through the remote and spectacular River of No Return Wilderness, the largest Wilderness in the lower 48 states. Departures are June through August. The rate is from $2,990.
 
Western River Expeditions is an adventure travel company headquartered in Salt Lake City, with operations and offices in Moab, Utah and Fredonia, Arizona. Annually from March through October it escorts more people down rivers on professionally guided rafting trips in Utah, Idaho and Arizona than any other company. It is the largest licensed outfitter in the Grand Canyon and the largest single tour provider in Moab, UT, through its division Moab Adventure Center (http://www.moabadventurecenter.com/).
 
Western River Expeditions, providing Grand Canyon rafting, Utah and Idaho rafting, and international multi-sport trips, was founded in 1961 by Colorado River rafting pioneer Jack Currey. It has been named one of the “Best Adventure Travel Companies on Earth” by the editors of National Geographic Adventure magazine. The company is the proud recipient of the “Best of State” award through Utah’s Premier Recognition and Awards Program for the past nineteen consecutive years (2004-2022).

For a copy of Western River Expeditions’ 2023 catalog, questions, availability and reservations call 866.904.1160 (Local: 801.942.6669) or visit the website at: http://www.westernriver.com/.

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Backroads Offers Cure to Summertime Blues: An Active Family Adventure

Backroads: You can still book an active family adventure to iconic places like Yellowstone National Park © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

You can still book the perfect summer vacation in destinations across North America and Europe, including Wyoming, Maine, the Canadian Rockies, Iceland, France, Spain and Switzerland–Backroads

Backroads, a leader in active travel, released their top picks for a last-minute family adventure – the perfect antidote to summer doldrums and vacation procrastination. With a few clicks of the mouse or a phone call, families open the door to a world of possibility and discovery in iconic US national parks, such as Yosemite, Yellowstone, the Great Smoky Mountains and the Grand Canyon. Or they can venture farther from home to discover the natural beauty and rich cultures of France, Iceland, Switzerland and Canada, among other Backroads destinations. Whether it’s biking, hiking, horseback riding, kayaking, exploring a cave dwelling, learning how to make mozzarella or kids-only fun, Backroads has options for every member of the family.

With over 30 years of experience in family travel, Backroads seamlessly handles the planning and logistics of hundreds of Biking, Walking & Hiking and Multi-Adventure vacations around the world. Parents trust Backroads to do the heavy lifting for an active summer vacation so they can just show up and have a blast with their kids. From riding family-friendly bike paths in the Czech Republic to saddling up for a horseback ride with local wranglers in Montana or kayaking in the crystal-clear waters off the coast of Mallorca, there’s never a dull moment on a Backroads family trip. The company’s commitment to excellence, its flexible itineraries and exceptional Trip Leaders set it apart in the active travel industry. Three or more leaders guide every trip so parents can enjoy some quality adult time while kids, teens and 20-somethings get to hang out with leaders and their peers.

Backroads guests consistently rave about experiencing an active vacation with likeminded travelers, and this is especially true for families. That’s why Backroads is the only travel company that offers Family Trips for three different age groups so families can experience the magic of traveling with other guests in similar life stages: Families with Teens & Kids (best for ages 9+), Families with Older Teens & 20s (one or more kids age 17+) and Families with Young Adults 20s & Beyond (one or more kids age 20+). With summer—and perhaps college or other important rites of passage—on the horizon, it’s a great time to book a family vacation.

Snapshot of Backroads Family Trips with space available Include:

  • Basque Country Multi-Adventure Tour
  • Brittany & Normandy Bike Tour
  • Bryce, Zion & Grand Canyon Multi-Adventure Tour
  • California’s Yosemite Multi-Adventure Tour
  • Czech Republic & Austria Multi-Adventure Tour
  • Great Smoky Mountains Multi-Adventure Tour
  • Loire Valley Bike Tour
  • Maine’s Acadia Multi-Adventure Tour
  • Oregon’s Bend & the Cascades Multi-Adventure Tour
  • Portugal Multi-Adventure Tour
  • Spain’s Mallorca Multi-Adventure Tour
  • Spanish Pyrenees to Costa Brava Multi-Adventure Tour
  • Switzerland Multi-Adventure Tour
  • Wyoming’s Yellowstone & Tetons & Montana’s Big Sky Multi-Adventure Tour
  • Wyoming’s Yellowstone & Tetons Multi-Adventure Tour

“Getting away with your kids on a summer vacation is a great bonding experience no matter how old they are,” said Backroads Founder & President, Tom Hale. “Our kids grew up on Backroads trips and as they got older, I realized how important it was to have activities and meals designed for specific age groups. That’s why Backroads offers family trips for three distinct age categories. Teens and young adults want to engage with their peers, and the same goes for the younger ones. Meanwhile, parents are connecting with other parents, and there’s this great synergy happening between people in the same stage of life. Everyone’s just having a great time being active, spending time outdoors and learning and experiencing new things. We defy any kid to say they’re bored on a Backroads trip!”

Backroads was founded in 1979 by Tom Hale and has been a leading innovator in active and adventure travel for over 40 years. Guests join Backroads to bike, hike and so much more—on expertly planned active adventures highlighting the unique character of each destination. The company offers multiple ways to go active: Biking, Walking & Hiking and Multi-Adventure tours; Active Ocean & River Cruises, Active Safari, Active Culinary and Snow Adventures; and Dolce Tempo trips for travel at a more relaxed pace. Backroads also offers Private Trips and Family Trips designed for three distinct age groups: Families with Teens & Kids (best for ages 9+), Families with Older Teens & 20s (one or more kids age 17+) and Families with Young Adults 20s & Beyond (one or more kids age 20+). Repeat guests and referrals from past guests make up many of the travelers that Backroads hosts each year in hundreds of locations across the globe.

For the complete collection of Backroads Family Trips and more information, visit backroads.com or call 800-462-2848.

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10 Bucket List Summer Adventures

Discover the enchanting Galapagos Islands at Scalesia Galapagos Lodge, explore the Amazon Rainforest at Sacha Lodge and experience the Ecuadorian Andes at Hacienda Piman, all in a 15-day tour.

There’s nothing wrong with a summer spent lounging at the beach. But if you want more than tan lines and sand in your shoes, consider embarking on one of these amazing summer adventures. We’ve ditched the tame in favor of a thrilling series of experiences you can complete on your summer break. Whether you’re a fan of crisp mountain air or sweeping glacier vistas, here are 10 potential adventures for you.

1. Central Utah Backcountry Cycling: Central Utah has one of the largest stretches of true backcountry left in the nation. Escape Adventures’ six-day cycling tour goes eastward through contrasting desert scenery and high alpine forests along Utah Highway 12 (one of America’s most scenic highways) to Capitol Reef National Park. (https://escapeadventures.com/tour/utah-escalante-and-capitol-reef-national-park-road-bike-tour/)

2. Yellowstone Ranch Getaway: Get away and give back during a stay at the historic O.T.O. Dude Ranch on the edge of Yellowstone National Park. Montana’s first dude ranch offers classic adventures like hiking, horseback riding, fly-fishing, archery, sport shooting and more, as well as locally inspired cuisine and cozy cabins. Proceeds from every stay go to preservation efforts at the National Register of Historic Places-listed ranch. (https://trueranchcollection.com/yellowstone-pop-up/)

3. Galapagos, Andes + Amazon: Discover the enchanting Galapagos Islands at Scalesia Galapagos Lodge, explore the Amazon Rainforest at Sacha Lodge and experience the Ecuadorian Andes at Hacienda Piman, all in a 15-day tour. Learn about endemic flora and fauna, hike near active volcanoes, paddle tannin-rich blackwater creeks and explore the highlands of the Andes. (https://www.sachalodge.com/programs/#galapagos-programs)

4. Wine + Bike Piedmont: The Langa and Monferrato regions of Piedmont are in one of the most important wine production areas in Italy and received UNESCO World Heritage status in 2014. Tourissimo’s Piedmont Barolo cycling tour will take you to the heart of these regions, over rolling hills covered with endless vineyards and past ancient castles and hidden hilltop hamlets. (https://www.tourissimo.travel/piedmont-wine-region-cycling-tour)

5. Jackson Hole Glamping: Fireside Resort offers luxuriously outfitted tiny house rental units designed by Wheelhaus a short distance from Grand Teton National Park, making it the perfect basecamp for summer adventures. Experience the thrill of whitewater rafting, enjoy beautiful scenery and wildlife while hiking through the Tetons or revel in the wonder of Yellowstone National Park’s geothermal features. (https://www.firesidejacksonhole.com/)

6. North Cascades Traverse: A new five-day trip from Wildland Trekking combines iconic North Cascades National Park backpacking and a stay at a remote lodge with no road access on Washington’s Lake Chelan. Backpack over alpine passes and through pristine wilderness to the lodge, then hike to views of the Stehekin Valley before returning to civilization by boat. (https://wildlandtrekking.com/trips/stehekin-lodge-backpacking-trip/)

7. Patagonia Fjords Cruise: Book a nine-day voyage through Chilean Patagonia with Adventure Life and set sail among stunning fjords, islands, glaciers, peaks and wildlife. Visit Puerto Cisnes, San Rafael Bay and Glacier, the Gulf of Penas, the isolated village of Puerto Eden, the Strait of Magellan, Tierra del Fuego and the Beagle Channel, ending in Ushuaia, Argentina. (https://www.adventure-life.com/patagonia/cruises/17283/patagonia-chilean-fjords)

8. Big Sky Summer Fun: A stay at The Wilson Hotel in Big Sky, Montana, offers the opportunity for summer fun in the surrounding mountains and rivers, as well as Yellowstone National Park. Hike through shaded forests and wildflower-filled meadows, float or fly fish clear, cool waters, experience the adrenaline rush of lift-served mountain biking or see the park’s natural wonders and wildlife. (https://thewilsonhotel.com/)

9. National Parks RV Trip: Blacksford rents fully stocked Mercedes-Benz Sprinter overland adventure vehicles from Winnebago with an all-inclusive pricing model that includes unlimited miles, bedding, kitchen and bath supplies, a free annual pass to the national parks, 24-hour roadside assistance and no generator fees. (https://www.blacksford.com/)

10. Yellowstone Family Rafting and Riding: This three-day whitewater rafting and horseback-riding package from Flying Pig Adventures offers families the opportunity to experience the Yellowstone National Park area like never before. The thrill of witnessing one of nature’s most iconic environments, tackling rough terrain on horseback and running class III rapids cannot be found anywhere else. (https://www.flyingpigrafting.com/3-day-yellowstone-adventure)

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