Temperatures are climbing in Southern Utah and the snow that fell over the winter has flowed down from the mountains into rivers and waterways. This seasonal cycle has, over millions of years, carved out one of our favorite topographical features we love most about the parks — their epic canyons.

And what better way to explore the best of Mighty 5 canyons than a trip through them? This shortlist of whitewater rafting trips brings together epic adventures on the river, sightseeing opportunities of iconic landmarks, and optimal recreation.

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Our Top Recommended Rafting Experiences in Southern Utah

Virgin River flows through Zion National Park. Because it is not dam controlled, the river is only ratable in the spring when snowpack runoff from the surrounding mountains pours water into the Virgin River. The Virgin River rafting trip includes the red stone Virgin River Gorge and thrilling whitewater stages.

Book with Zion Outfitter, located near the Zion National Park visitor center (at the south entrance).

Cataract Canyon (a 5-6 day trip) floats deep into Canyonlands National Park. Considered the crown jewel of Utah river rafting trips, this 46-mile-long canyon and 95-mile trip on the Colorado River includes plenty of views including canyon grottos, rock formations, waterfalls, and ancient Pueblo ruins.

Plan a trip with Holiday River Expeditions or Mild2Wild Rafting.

Sevier River is a perfect day trip for family members of all ages with plenty of whitewater action (class 2 and 3). Located to the southwest of Bryce Canyon National Park, the longest river in Utah meanders through valleys and steep canyons, eventually ending in the Sevier Lake. Rafters frequently observe a slew of native wildlife including eagles, deer, beavers, muskrats, and cougars.

Reserve your 2-hour trip on Always Rafting.

If you’re looking for a classic National Parks experience, you can’t go wrong with whitewater rafting. May and June offer high water excitement and July through September includes more moderate flows. In addition, many outfitters offer ATV or horseback riding as a package deal for an action-packed itinerary.