In my 10 years of living in Ogden, I have fished on the Weber River on numerous occassions, but had never floated on it until last week.
I had heard of people floating it on inner tubes, but wasn’t aware until a few years ago that a handful of outfitters offered guided rafting trips on it.
So, I made a call to All Seasons Adventures in Park City, where guide Spencer Byrne said they would be happy to take us out on the stretch they run from Henefer to Taggart.
“It’s not a stretch where you’re holding on for life, but it’s perfect for first-timers and families,” Byrne said. “It’s got neat geology, lots of wildlife, and it’s a good way to beat the summer heat.”
His description was spot on. I’ve been on bigger rivers and more turbulent water on the Snake and others, and with exceptions in a couple of spots, it’s a stretch to call what the Weber offers “whitewater.” But I still got wet, and gained a perspective on the local natural environment that one can only gain by viewing it from the river.
From the put-in at Henefer, the first few miles cut through farmland. There are some old, rusted cars and machinery in the water, the wildlife viewing consists largely of farm animals, and the banks are lined with invasive Russian olive trees, but a sense of tranquility still permeates the atmosphere.
As the river approaches the narrow gorge between Henefer and Morgan, the trees start to get bigger and dominated by more native species like box elder. An osprey sat perched in a tree overhead, and what appeared to be a red-tailed hawk soared nearby while what our guide determined to be a Bullock’s oriole flitted among the shrubbery along the bank. Down lower in the gorge, a couple of mallard ducks flew by that were so large, I initially mistook them for geese until noticing their trademark shiny, deep-green heads. It became apparent that this is a birder’s paradise. Wildlife? Check.
One of the more interesting points of the trip is going under the bridge at Croydon. The river was just low enough to allow us passage under the bridge, but we had to lay down in the raft as low as we could, and even then the bottom of the span passed just inches above our faces.
The route passes by the popular eroded limestone ridges of Devil’s Slide, and the point-blank view of the chute from the water far surpasses that from the viewpoint on the other side of the freeway. Geology? Check.
There are several rapids along the way that offer some excitement, and virtually guarantee you’ll get wet, interspersed with calm stretches that allow you to just take in your surroundings. The longest and biggest rapid comes just before the takeout at Taggart, and serves as a fitting end to the 2 1/2-hour journey. Excitement? Check.
In short, this stretch of the Weber River offers a nice balance of nature and adventure that is sure to delight all who choose to float it.
Jeff DeMoss is the Standard-Examiner’s outdoors reporter and editor of Xplore. You may reach him at 801-625-4263 or firstname.lastname@example.org.