The Colorado and Green rivers have played a significant role in shaping the landscape of Canyonlands, and both offer an interesting way to visit the park. Above their confluence near the heart of Canyonlands, the Colorado and Green rivers offer miles and miles of flat water perfect for canoes, sea kayaks and other shallow-water boats. Below the confluence, the combined flow of both rivers spills down Cataract Canyon with remarkable speed and power, creating a fourteen-mile stretch of Class III to V white water.
Permits are required for all overnight private river trips. Permits can be reserved in advance starting the first business day of each calendar year.
Local outfitters offer a variety of guided river trips , from half-day excursions to week-long floats. Most river trips involve several nights of camping.
There are no facilities or services along the rivers in Canyonlands. Entrenched in deep canyons, the rivers are generally hidden from view and possess a primitive, isolated character. In the entire park, only Green River Overlook offers a view of the rivers that visitors can reach with a two-wheel-drive car. All launch ramps and take-out points are located outside the park. Hiking trails lead to the rivers in each district. Well-suited to backpacking trips, each of these trails involves a long descent of 1,000 feet or more over very rough terrain. River guides can be ordered through the bookstore.