Rafting & Camping the Moab Daily at 20,000CFS with our Dog

The Moab Daily is the iconic section of whitewater, just outside the town of Moab, on the Colorado River. It’s popularity doesn’t come from having massive rapids, but as the name suggests, it’s a very easy section of river to do in a day, or just an afternoon. The river section is only about 13 miles long if you put in at Hittle Bottom Campground, and snakes its way through the desert landscape, down 6 sets of rapids that range from Class I to Class III. The rapids are fun, the ease of shuttling to and from the takeout is unparalleled, but really, the beautiful landscape steals the show!

This was going to be our second time down the daily, having taken our boat out on its maiden voyage in June of 2022. That year, the flows were only around 5,000CFS, but this year, because of huge amounts of snow we got, the flows were up to 20,000CFS. This translates to about 4mph. To add to the hopeful adventure on this trip, we wanted to camp along the river and have a long weekend on entirely on the river. The plan was to pack all of our gear on the boat for a night out, then find a BLM campsite along the river where you could pull up onto a beach and spend the night. But when we got down to Moab Saturday morning, we were in for a surprise.

Well, the +100F temperatures must have scared off everyone from coming down, and as we began our drive along the river towards the put-in at Hittle Bottom, we found out that all of the campgrounds were empty! So we pulled into Big Bend Campground, just down river from the traditional take-out for the Moab Daily, and found a campsite right on the river, for only $20! This was a shocking turn of events, for a normally overly packed Moab. This meant, we could drive to the put-in, dump all the gear, then I would drive back to our campsite with the van, ride my bike back to the put-in where Courtney and Gregor were waiting, and we could raft all the way back to camp without having to drive again for the night!

The day on the river was incredible, flat out. All of the rapids were significantly bigger, longer, and a bit less predictable. Most of them were just long wave trains that lasted a few hundred yards. The best rapids, by far, were the massive wave trains on New Rapid and the large, 4ft, standing wave on White’s Rapid that nearly flipped us in 2022. Luckily, we navigated all of the rapids successfully hand had a perfect time on the water. We soaked in the sun, swam along side the raft a ton, cliff jumped for the first time in a long while, and eventually made our way back to the beach landing at the Big Bend Campground where we were staying for the night. There, we cooked an incredible dinner, played cards, and swam in the river until we went to bed.

The following day, trying to get some more time in on the river before our long drive home, we did another solo-shuttle to the take out at the Lions Head park/bridge. I drove the van to the takeout and rode back to the campground where Courtney and Gregor were hanging out and we pushed off down the river. Even though this entire section is flat water, it was moving fast enough to still be a blast and relaxing at the same time. This trip really did cement how much we love rafting and are already planning our next trip onto a river in a week or two! With that being said, the Moab Daily is such an awesome stretch of river, but I cannot stress this enough, it is not a beginner friendly section. There are real rapids, rocks, and fast moving sections. So please be careful out there, where your PFD, and make good decisions (unlike the family at the put-in that had no business being anywhere besides a pond with their lack of experience and danger they put their kids in on individual SUPs that were way too big for everyone).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *