River Trips Loma, CO to Westwater, UT on the Colorado River

2-Day River Float from Loma, CO to Westwater, UT on Colorado River
Ruby-Horsethief Canyons section of the McInnis Canyons National Conservation Area
Rapid Classification: I and II
Length: 25 miles
Time on the river: 8-12 hours (depending on water levels and winds)
Elevation: 4,400' (Loma boat launch)
Shuttle time from Fruita to Loma: 15 minutes
Shuttle time from Westwater to Fruita: 1 hour
When: May through October
Toilets at Loma boat launch. Toilets, tables and camping available at Westwater Ranger Station, UT.

  Price: $195 per person
(what's included?)

Trip Dates and Reservations

This is a relaxing float into clean, clear desrt landscape.

If you are looking to experience the dramatic scenery of the Colorado River without the crowds, head with us to the Ruby-Horsethief Canyons section. Located in west central Colorado and eastern Utah, this 25-mile, Class I-II float travels through the breathtaking scenery of the McInnis Canyons National Conservation Area (NCA). McInnis Canyons NCA is remarkable for its diverse landscape ranging from salt bush desert to the spectacular canyons of the Black Ridge Canyons Wilderness area. Although there are sections of easy rapids, for the most part this section of the Colorado River caters to those who are looking to enjoy lazy days and nights camped on sandy beaches under the big western sky.

As we travel down the river, sandstone cliffs tower overhead and side canyons off the main stem offer superb hiking for those wishing to add some variety to their trip. Further down, Black Rock Rapid offers a bit of excitement for those looking for a challenge. We camp along the broad, sandy beaches just down from the Black Rock Rapid. These popular beaches can accommodate several groups at once. The relative ease, fantastic scenery and abundant hiking opportunities makes this section ideal for inexperienced boaters and people looking for an outing on one of our country's most storied rivers.

Our trip through Ruby/Horsethief Canyons begins at Loma, Colorado and ends at Westwater, Utah. This stretch of the river runs along the northern boundary of the 75,550 acre Black Ridge Canyons Wilderness. The trip includes beautiful red rock canyons, 1.5 billion year-old uplifted metamorphic rock known as the "Black Rocks", and an abundance of wildlife to include bald eagles, peregrine falcons and if you're lucky you might catch sight of the reintroduced desert bighorn sheep. Day hikes into one of the many side canyons provides opportunity for solitude and exploration. NOTE: The railroad runs parallel to the river for much of the trip. Trains often sound their horns, day and night.

Loma boat ramp, where we put-in, is wide, easy and accessible for people in wheelchairs. Vehicles can drive up to the boat ramp.
Westwater Ranger Station boat ramp, where we take out, is wide, easy and accessible for people in wheelchairs. Vehicles can drive up to the boat ramp.

Trip Itinerary
7:30 am: volunteers meet at CDA's office in Fruita to load rafts and gear

9:00 am: participants arrive at CDA's office in Fruita

9:30 am: begin 10-minute travel to Loma boat ramp (river access), 6 miles

9:45 am: unloading at Loma boat ramp and setup

11 am: river portion of the trip begins

4-5 pm: arrive at the campsite at the Black Rock

5-6 pm: camp setup

6-7 pm: dinner

8-9 am: breakfast

10 am-2 pm: river float from Black Rock to Westwater

2-3 pm: loading up the gear

3-4 pm: travel back to Fruita

On both days lunch will be served at a time/location specified by a trip leader. All times may slightly vary and trip leader may supersede this itinerary.

How to get to our office in Fruita from Grand Junction:
  • take I-70 West
  • take Fruita exit
  • turn left over the interstate
  • drive about 1/4 mile
  • turn right past McDonald's and pull into the Dinosaur Museum parking lot on the left
  • we are in the green rail car at the end of the parking lot

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