SALT LAKE CITY, UT – Western River Expeditions reports that 2022 river rafting season numbers are back to pre-pandemic highs.
“Based on our booking trends, we predict that 2023 reservations will likely surpass those of 2022. While this is good news for our company, it’s not necessarily good news for people who wait until the last minute to make a reservation with us,” said Brandon Lake, co-owner and CMO.
“Our most coveted whitewater rafting adventures are our 3, 4, 6, and 7-day departures through the Grand Canyon. As of early September, 95 percent of these 2023 departures are already sold out,” he said.
What does this mean for next year’s wanna-be river rafters? “Act now,” he advised. “There are still a few dates available on our three and 4-day Grand Canyon expeditions.”
In addition to adventures through the Grand Canyon, Western River Expeditions also brings guests on whitewater adventures through Utah’s Desolation Canyon and Cataract Canyon and onto iconic rivers in Idaho and Oregon. “As these rivers tend to carry less name recognition than Grand Canyon, they have more space available for 2023 and are excellent options for an unforgettable summer adventure,” says Lake.
While the locales differ geographically, the elements of Western River Expeditions’ adventures reflect the company’s 61 years of commitment to pleasure, safety and the environment. Following are a few of the many star-studded predictables that clients have come to enjoy over the decades:
- All-inclusive adventures are packed with meals, equipment (camping and rafting) and entertainment. No need to keep a wallet handy to enjoy all there is on these vacations. First-class amenities are included in the trip price: deluxe tents and cots, comfortable camp chairs, delicious Dutch-oven dinners, buffet breakfasts and lunches, expertly-trained guides and top-quality rafts and equipment.
- Character and training yield the best guides and leaders in the business. Western's claim to the best guides and trip leaders is not taken lightly; it is supported by rigorous selection and in-depth training sharply defined by six decades of experience. Each Western guide undergoes nearly 300 hours of training before escorting their first guest down the river. This training includes swift water rescue certification, CPR and First Aid Certification, a state licensing test, food handler's education, on-river cooking courses, geology and interpretation classes, and Western's renowned custom guide-training program. The men and women who lead Western’s trips are intelligent, personable, fun, responsible and dedicated. They are a source of endless knowledge and fun, as well as great role models for kids and young adults.
- No car required. Simply get yourself to the starting destination by flying or driving, and Western will take care of the rest. Guests love not having to worry about the stresses of travel logistics during their trip.
- The pros take over vacation planning details. Once a reservation is made for a Western River Expeditions river rafting vacation, guests receive helpful vacation planning details about suggested modes of travel to the meeting place, where to stay, where to dine and what to do pre and post raft trip. Guests just need to get to a gateway city and the pros will take it from there.
- Exemplary al fresco dining experiences are assured. Like fine dining on vacation? On a rafting trip, one of the best surprises is that guests dine well – without having to roll up their sleeves to prep or cook. Think waking to steaming coffee before digging into stacks of flapjacks, fresh fruit, and chef-prepared eggs. Western's guides are not only trained river professionals, they're talented campfire cooks as well. A selection of fresh meats and cheeses, delicious breads, along with crisp vegetables and a variety of spreads satisfy hearty lunchtime appetites. Dinner menus include grilled chicken, tender steaks, savory pasta or fresh fish accompanied by salad, seasoned vegetables, and side dishes. Dutch-oven cakes and cobblers deliciously top things off.
- A real disconnect is in store. Think the pure sights and sounds of nature with no cell service, streaming Internet or social media distractions. Many guests find this one of the most refreshing aspects of a Western River adventure. It’s one of the few vacations that forces you to a well-deserved, full disconnect.
- The night sky like you’ve never seen it before. With no artificial lights to screen the heavens, guests see more stars, planets and meteorites than they could ever have imagined.
Annually from March through October, Western River Expeditions escorts more people down the Colorado River on professionally guided rafting trips in Utah and Arizona than any other rafting operator in the world. It is one of the largest licensed outfitters for trips in the Grand Canyon and the largest single tour provider in Moab, Utah (think half and full-day trips on the Colorado River), through its division Moab Adventure Center.
However, Western River Expeditions, as with other tour operators, has to operate within the restrictions of its permits through the National Park Service, Forest Service, and Bureau of Land Management. These limits may be adequate in normal times but spots are now being quickly snapped up by an unprecedented surge of demand following pandemic lockdowns, record breaking heat waves that call for water-based recreation and an exploding demand to visit national parks.