Evening River Cruise

Taking an evening cruise on the Colorado River outside of Moab, Utah, is not to be missed. In a way, the evening river cruise is as much a time-honored tradition of the Moab area as its world-renowned trail system, just without the physical exertion. You may see visitors from around the world on your tour appreciating what so many have before — all the way back to Western explorer John Wesley Powell.

Local tour operator Canyonlands by Night and Day has been offering such tours for over half a century and has several options: Hop on board for the Sunset Jet Boat, un’Wine’d and Dined, or Sound and Light Show to wrap up your day in the Moab area with a relaxing and soothing ride on the water.

The newest cruise addition is the un’Wine’d and Dine experience. Because unwinding is what vacations are all about, this fantastic outing focuses on just that. This hour and half tour begins at the dock prior to sunset. To start, you’ll step onto an open boat and float a few miles up the canyon. Once you are surrounded by the towering canyon walls, the guide will cut the motor and let the entertainment begin. Beverages will be served, and you’ll be treated to live western music as the sun sets over the canyon country. In addition to wine and beer, soft drinks and water are available. After the performance your guide will return you to the dock where you will be treated to a hearty cowboy meal of various Dutch oven eats.

If wining and dining is not your thing, then check out the Sunset Jet Boat Tour, aptly named as it coincides with the setting sun. Unlike the un’Wine’d and Dine tour, this one starts with a classic cowboy meal after which, you’ll hop on a jet boat, sit back, and cruise into the sunset. On the ride, you’ll learn about the surrounding geology as well as the history of the region from the on-board guide. This 1.5-hour tour will take you deep into the Colorado River Canyon for unforgettable views of the sunset.

However, the most popular evening tour, offered since 1963, is the Sound and Light Show. Similar to the Sunset Jet Boat Tour, you will begin your evening with a cowboy dinner complete with Dutch oven prepared foods. Once the sun has set you will board a flat boat and cruise quietly along a calm section of the Colorado River. Once the sun sets, the light show will begin. It’s a combination of lights, shadows, music, and narration. What’s really amazing is that all of these pieces come together and uniquely tell tales of the area’s formation and history, as well as stories about the early settlers. If it’s a clear night, then the best part of the light show is yet to come, and ironically, for this, you need total darkness — all lights on the boat are turned off so you can stargaze at the Milky Way stretching between the canyon walls.

All evening tours begin at the Canyonlands by Night and Day private boat dock, and are open to everyone ages four and up. All tours take you along calm sections of the Colorado River, and are suitable for most people. While the days in Moab can be warm, the evenings along the river can be cool so be sure to bring a jacket. The dock is located on the banks of the Colorado River two miles north of downtown Moab.

Be sure to book your evening cruise on the Colorado River during your next adventure to the Moab area. Finishing your day with a hearty meal and relaxing float on the Colorado River has to be one the best ways to unwind.      

GPS Coordinates: 38.605016, -109.581009