- Sample Itinerary
- Trip Details
- About the Area
- Getting Here
Yampa River Rafting trips in Colorado are a very special experience. The Yampa River is WILD. The last undammed river on the Colorado River system. Through the years the Yampa has defied many attempts to dam its free flow, several by congress, and the most formidable in 1965 by Mother Nature. Just after dinner on June 9th, 1965 a flash flood carried tons of rock down Warm Springs draw blocking the river channel. Within twenty-four hours the Yampa took aim and breached the dam, leaving in its wake Warm Springs Rapid, rated among the 10 biggest drops in the country.
Every May and June this river rises to the occasion and CRANKS with plenty of full-bodied waves from the first day to the last. Like many wild things the Yampa also has a serene side… tiger-striped walls that drop 2000 feet sheer to the water, side-canyon waterfalls, Fremont Indian rock art, and Whispering Cave. We will spend 46 miles of this 71-mile trip on the Yampa and then merge with the Green River at Echo Park through Whirlpool Canyon and Split Mountain Gorge. If you feel the need for something rare, something wild and free…the Yampa is waiting.
YAMPA RIVER RAFTING TRIP HIGHLIGHTS
- Free flowing river
- Tiger striped walls & overhangs
- Spectacular campsites
- Side canyon hiking and exploring
Excellent Trip and Vacation
I have never been on a whitewater trip before and I took the Yampa River trip in June with my son as a graduation gift for him. Words cannot describe how impressed we were with everything. From the greeting/introductions we received at Vernal headquarters to the instructions prior to getting in the river, the guides were friendly and professional. We went to see soaring canyon walls and whitewater and we got that. But what we also got was gourmet food preparation (WOW), informed guides- they knew about everything, trees, rocks, history, wildlife, all of it! Most important, it was clear safety of their guests was always on their minds. This is an excellent outfitter and there is no rival.
We'll be back.
Great Hiking Opportunities
The guides, TJ and Sherpa, were awesome!! They provided a wonderful environment and great hiking opportunities. The food was excellent as always, I've been on two other trips a few years earlier. Everything was wonderful!
We Could Have Stayed Forever!
Everything actually exceeded my expectations. The guides were not only efficient and competent at all aspects of their jobs, but also engaging conversationalists and recreation leaders. The hikes were some of my favorite parts of the overall trip. The food was wonderful. I couldn't believe how much they could do with what they brought on a boat! Our trip on the Yampa and Green River with Holiday was everything we could have hoped for and more. For some members of our party this was a second Yampa trip with Holiday, and they loved it just as much as they did 28 years ago if not more. For the rest of us it was amazing to see that it was everything we had been told to expect, but even better. We could have stayed on the river forever!!
Holiday quality all the way. I do self-guided family trips annually, but keep coming back to Dee and Sue every few years for that great white-water, great food, and great guides. So many rivers, so little time!
Great From Start To Finish
Jesse, Molly, Mike and Dustin were outstanding guides. They earned their money on a couple of long and windy days, and earned our gratitude with their friendly-yet-professional demeanors and constant attentiveness. We had a great trip on the Yampa this weekend! As usual, everything was fantastic, from the pre-trip planning and communications to the pull out and departure.
First Rate Crew
My Holiday vacation was one of the best overall vacations I have been on. The crew was first rate, I didn't have to lift a finger. My captain even made sure my water bottle was full. The guides had so much knowledge of the surrounding area we were in, it made it so interesting. I would definitely do another trip with them! Thanks Holiday for all the great memories.
My Best Vacation Ever!
I was on the Cataract Canyon trip a couple of weeks ago... This was the best vacation I have ever been on!! Rafting for the first time and being in Utah for the first time was amazing. The river and landscapes were breathtakingly beautiful. I am in love with the area! The trip was absolutely wonderful. The guides were a joy to be around. They were extremely resourceful, informative and accommodating to any of our needs throughout the trip. I definitely want to do this trip again. It was a life changing and wonderful experience. This is an amazing company. THANK YOU! You guys are the best!
Can't Wait For More!
Another outstanding experience with Holiday. Our 4th trip and we've come to expect the best, once again we weren't disappointed. The Yampa was stunning and the service was exceptional. Can't wait for the next trip!
A New Generation Of River Lovers
I've now done the Yampa trip twice. The first was in 1986 with my 12 year old son and our guide Sherpa San. It was great and we still have many great memories from that week. However, on June 16th we did the Yampa trip again at ages 68 and 40 respectively. But this time with my daughter-in-law and a new generation of rafters, grandsons, aged 10 & 8. It's not often you get to take a trip of lifetime twice. The new generation of guides, Zack, Molly, Justin, Dustin, & Tanner were excellent, always caring and engaging. As an added bonus, we got to reunite briefly with Sherpa San after all these years. All in all-priceless!
Adrenaline Seekers: Tuckered Out & Satisfied!
The guides were great fun. They pitched in with the group for hikes, activities and games in the evening. But they also left us space for us to do our own thing. It was such a fun bunch of people. The food was amazing. Seriously, I had no meal that I wouldn't have been proud of in my own kitchen. I wish I could cook like that at home. How you bake lasagna or make fresh muffins on the side of a river remains a mystery! This is one of the best holidays I have ever had. We are a group of a dozen 30 year olds with action packed lives and high adrenaline hobbies. That you were able to have us exhausted by sundown every night and up early to get going every morning is testament to an incredibly well organized holiday.
DINOSAUR NATIONAL MONUMENT
YAMPA RIVER RAFTING, 4 OR 5 DAYS
This is one of the Rocky Mountain’s last undammed rivers. Since it still flows freely, the Yampa is run only during the spring run off in May and June. Massive slickrock canyon walls with views of Lodgepole Pines on BlueMountain make this canyon unique. Warm Springs Rapid, a major descent, highlights the trip before joining the Green River at EchoPark. From here, you will traverse Whirlpool Canyon, Split Mountain Gorge and more rapids.
The Yampa is one of America’s treasures.
One of the advantages of a river trip is the flexibility of the daily itinerary. It can vary widely from one trip to the next based on group desires, Mother Nature, and courtesy for other groups on the river. This typical itinerary illustrates a four-day trip on the Yampa River. In June, we lengthen the Yampa trip by one day and follow this general itinerary.
Day 1: Meet party at headquarters in Vernal, Utah before transport to put-in at Deerlodge Park in Colorado. The Yampa’s speedy flow takes you over many miles and abundant rapids.
Day 2: Visit pre-Columbian ruins, after the Yampa meanders past such attractions as The Grand Overhang, Cleopatra’s Couch and Tiger Wall. A heavy flash flood in 1965 down Warm Springs Draw choked the Yampa with boulders, forming the river’s largest rapid.
Day 3: The Yampa joins the Green River at Echo Park where the canyon widens before the river circles Steamboat Rock. Here the river enters Whirlpool Canyon. The afternoon may be spent at Jones Hole Creek – a blue-ribbon trout stream with side canyon petroglyphs and waterfall.
Day 4: Peaceful morning in Rainbow and Island Park areas before entering another massive gorge. The Green’s powerful forces cut laterally through Split Mountain’s uplifted and colorful core. Rapids abound before the take out and a 35-minute ride back to Vernal.
As mentioned earlier, this is a sample itinerary and should not be thought of as the trip you will experience. It is intended to give an idea of what the trip will be like. It could also be exactly what you do. Keep an open mind, be flexible, go with the flow, and enjoy!
We meet for your trip in Vernal, Utah at Holiday River Expeditions headquarters (see map), 8:00 a.m. (Mountain Time) the morning your trip begins. If you arrive in Vernal by bus or plane, call our headquarters (435-789-4586) upon your arrival to make arrangements to have you and your gear transported to our headquarters the morning of the trip. If you are driving, your car can be left at our headquarters.
Beginning of the trip: Upon your arrival at Holiday River Expeditions headquarters (8:00 a.m., Mountain Time), we will issue your waterproof bags. You can buy any last minute items from our accessory’s store at this time (see check list of what to bring for a list of items you can find at our store). We will then take a one and a half hour van ride to Deerlodge Park, where we will transfer to the boats.
After the trip: We will disembark at Split Mountain Campground in Dinosaur National Monument near Jensen, Utah. From there we will transport you back to our headquarters in Vernal, Utah (35 minute van ride). Our expected time of arrival back at our headquarters is about 4:00 p.m.
Medical emergencies: Our guides are trained in first aid and carry first aid supplies only. REMEMBER to bring your own prescription medicines. ALERT our guides to any medical problem you might have such as diabetes or allergic reactions. Wilderness expeditions are a long way from hospitals, doctors, and pain-relieving medicines. Evacuations to modern medical care are uncertain, and protracted. In case of evacuation and/or medical treatment beyond first aid, expenses incurred are the responsibility of the participant.
Cancellation Policy: If cancellations are made prior to 90 days before the trip, monies will be refunded less a $50.00 service charge per person. If cancellations are made within 90 days and outside of 45 days of the trip date monies will be refunded less a $100.00 service charge per person. Cancellations made within 45 days of the trip date are non refundable. Prior to 45 days to the trip date we will transfer reservations to another trip in the same year with a $25.00 service charge per person. All policies will be enforced and we strongly recommend trip cancellation insurance. Cancellation of a trip is very unlikely, but we reserve the right to cancel any trip due to river or weather conditions or the lack of sufficient reservations. A full refund will be made if such is the case.
Insurance: Medical Evacuation and cancellation insurance on a vacation plan can be obtained from numerous insurance companies. You should be aware that medical evacuations in the backcountry can easily cost $10,000 and up. You are responsible for these potential expenses and we strongly encourage all guests to have this coverage. We offer plans by TRAVEL GUARD that cover evacuation, baggage and cancellation claims. It is available to American and Canadian citizens, as well as citizens of another country as long as you have a U.S. address. For a quote or questions give us a call or include Your Names, Birth Dates in an Email and we will send a quote. Also, if you are bringing expensive cameras, binoculars, or other items we suggest you have insurance coverage for them (commonly available through Homeowners Policies). In the event of a loss, our insurance will not cover those items.
Tipping the guides: Many guests ask us if tipping is appropriate after the trip. If you feel the guides have been instrumental in your enjoyment of the trip, you may choose to direct a gratuity to the trip leader in the form of cash or check. He/She will then distribute it evenly to the other crew members. Of those that choose to tip, the average contribution amount ranges between $15.00 and $25.00 per guest, per day. However, the decision to tip is left to your sole discretion.
Beverages: We provide ice water, lemonade, two sodas per day per person and ample cooler space. If you choose to bring any specialty sodas and/or alcoholic beverages, we have no problem taking whatever you want to bring – within reason. Don’t bring beer, wine coolers or sodas in glass containers. Wine packaged in a box is ideal. Mark beverages that you bring so they are packed on your boat. In Utah, wine or liquor is not sold after 7:00 p.m., before 11:00 a.m., or on Sundays and holidays.
If you have any questions prior to leaving for your trip, we welcome you to call our Salt Lake City office, Monday through Friday at 800-624-6323 (outside of Utah) or 801-266-2087 (inside Utah). We’re happy to take the time to answer your questions. You may also contact us by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
IN THE EVENT OF EMERGENCY CIRCUMSTANCES THE NIGHT BEFORE THE TRIP, OUR VERNAL HEADQUARTERS NUMBER IS 435-789-4586
Dinosaur weather: In May and early June temperatures in Dinosaur average 55 to 70 degrees during the day and 50 to 60 degrees at night. In late June daytime temperatures are between 80 and 90 degrees with nighttime temperatures 60 to 70 degrees. A little rain can happen and cool temperatures considerably. With this in mind we recommend you have a rain suit, polypropylene underwear, (fleece top and pants are nice in cool weather too) and a light tent. If you reserved a rental unit with us when you booked your river trip, we will have a tent and rain gear for you. There will also be sun, so bring a hat and plenty of suntan lotion and/or sunscreens.
Bugs, snakes, etc. are generally no problem. In fact, the lack of pesky insects is one of the reasons wilderness camping on the river is so pleasant. Any river trip, however, is subject to an occasional localized insect hatch. During these hatches (most common in June) mosquitos can be bothersome. Be sure to bring long sleeve clothing and repellent. Insect repellents that contain “Deet” are by far the most effective during heavy hatches, but are also suspected of causing various health problems. Citronella-based products (skin-so-soft) work only in light hatches. We rarely see any snakes, but if the thought of them bothers you, try sleeping on the beaches or in a tent instead of rocky or bushy areas.
Hiking is a highlight of the trip, however, it is strictly an optional activity. There are many interesting short hikes available. Hiking can be done in durable sneakers or lightweight hiking boots. Remember that hiking and other activities vary widely pending time, and what other plans are ahead for the day on the river.
Fishing: On the next to last day we will arrive at Jones Hole, which is a beautiful trout stream. We normally spend about three hours here and may even camp. You will need a Utah fishing license to fish, and this may be purchased at most sporting good stores, or Smiths in Vernal prior to the trip. Please note that these stores will not be open the morning you meet for your trip. Only artificial lures and flies are allowed on this stream. If you would like to obtain more information or secure your license in advance contact: Utah Wildlife Resources, 1596 W. No. Temple, SLC, UT 84116, 801-538-4700, or online.
Things to see in the area: Dinosaur Natural History Museum in Vernal (open 8:00 a.m. ‑ 9:00 p.m.) www.dinoland.com, Dinosaur National Monument’s Quarry Visitor Center and the Harper Corner Overlook. Also, nearby are the Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area, Jones Hole Federal Fish Hatchery, Ouray National Waterfowl Refuge, Uinta Mountains, and others.
Reading Material you may enjoy:
Exploration of the Colorado River Powell…………………………………………. $12.95
Dinosaur River Guide Belknap (waterproof)……………………………………… $19.95
Life in Stone Christa Sadler……………………………………………………………. $11.95
The Educated Outlaw Harvey Lay Murdock (Grandson)…………………….. $10.95
These books can be ordered on line at www.bikeraft.com, or by sending the appropriate amount listed above plus $5.60 priority shipping to Holiday River Expeditions, 544 East 3900 South, SLC, UT 84107. This is available within the U.S. only. If outside the U.S. additional shipping and handling charges will be added. You can call 801-266-2087 for rates. These books can also be purchased at our river headquarters in Vernal.
If you are flying, you can fly to Salt Lake City located 180 miles west of Vernal, Utah. From Salt Lake City you can rent a car and drive 3 hours to Vernal. You can also fly directly from Denver, Colorado to Vernal, Utah with Great Lakes Aviation. If you need assistance with your travel arrangements, please ask your Holiday River Expedition reservation agent.
Lodging before and after your trip can be booked at one of seven motels:
Holiday Inn Express 435-789-4654 (indoor pool, complimentary breakfast)
Landmark Inn & Suites 435‑781‑1800 (kitchenette & free hot breakfast)
Spring Hill Suites by Marriott 435‑781‑9000 (indoor pool, hot tub, kitchenette, complimentary continental breakfast buffet)
Best Western Antlers 435-789-1202 (outdoor pool, indoor hot tub, complimentary full breakfast)
Super 8 435-789-4326 (indoor pool, continental breakfast)
Econo Lodge 435-789-2000 (complimentary continental breakfast)
Motel 6 435-789-0666 (indoor pool)
BE SURE TO MAKE ADVANCE RESERVATIONS!
If you are camping out, there are camping facilities in Dinosaur National Monument at the Green River Campground, or the Split Mountain Campground (groups only). These campgrounds are a 35-minute drive from our Vernal headquarters and they have tables, fire pits, modern comfort stations, a water system, trailer sites, campfire amphitheater and a nature trail; there is also wood for sale. Reservations are required for the Split Mountain campground, and they require a $10 reservation fee plus $25/site to camp/night (435-781-7759). The Green River Campground is on a first-come, first-serve basis and it is $12/vehicle/night to camp. An entrance fee is also required. There is also the Dinosaurland KOA in Vernal (435-789-2148).
Holiday River Expedition's Travel Agents - Mateja Harrington & Cindy Swenson with Cruise and Travel Masters are happy to assist you with your travel plans. Contact Mateja or Cindy to take the work out of "Getting Here".
Toll Free - 800-264-0557 (You must ask for Mateja Harrington or Cindy Swenson)
Email Attention Mateja or Cindy: email@example.com
Or, do it yourself, we can help…
Colorado and Utah Rivers
Gateway - Salt Lake City, Utah OR Denver, Colorado
Air Service to Salt Lake City (SLC) or Denver (DEN)
- America West Airlines 800-235-9292
- American Airlines 800-433-7300
- Continental Airlines 800-525-0280
- Delta Air Lines 800-221-1212
- Frontier Airlines 800-432-1359
- JetBlue Airways 800-538-2583
- Northwest Airlines 800-225-2525
- SkyWest Airlines 800-453-9417
- Southwest Airlines 800-435-9792
- United Airlines 800-241-6522
- United Express 800-241-6522
- US Airways 800-435-9792
TRANSPORTATION OPTIONS FROM SALT LAKE CITY to Green River, Vernal or Blanding, Utah
Once in Salt Lake City most of our guests rent-a-car and drive to our meeting points.
All rental cars are located in both terminals of the Salt Lake City Airport.
- Alamo Rental Car 801-575-2211
- Budget Rental Car 801-575-2821
- Dollar Rent a Car 801-575-2580
- Thrifty Rental Car 801-265-6677
- Salt Lake City to Green River 180 miles
- Salt Lake City to Blanding 300 miles
- Salt Lake City to Vernal 180 miles
Shuttle Service to Green River or Blanding, Utah from Salt Lake City or Moab (Vernal is on a Charter basis only)
TRANSPORTATION OPTIONS FROM SALT LAKE CITY to Green River, Vernal or Blanding, Utah
Air Service to Vernal (VEL), Utah from Salt Lake City, Utah
- SkyWest Airlines aka Delta Connection 800-221-1212
- Enterprise 435-781-3008 & Allsave 435-789-4777 in Vernal
Air Service to Moab (CNY) (52 miles south of Green River), Utah from Salt Lake City, Utah
Rafting Gear & Clothing Checklist
PROVIDED BY HOLIDAY RIVER EXPEDITIONS
- LIFE JACKET
- LARGE WATERPROOF BAG
- DAY BAG
- CAMP CHAIR
- EATING UTENSILS AND PLATES
- FULL COURSE MEALS lunch the first day through lunch the last day
- DRINKS ice water, lemonade, juices, 2 pops/person/day-mix of reg. & diet
The day bag 8" diameter x 20" high is for items you will need access to during the day. For your sleeping gear and clothing, we will furnish you with one bag 16" diameter x 2 feet high. When properly sealed, bags are usually waterproof. Once in a while, one could develop a problem; so if you have concerns, test your bags. Separate storage is provided for tents and beverages. Please remember to keep your gear light and compact . . . the less you bring, the happier you will be. Please limit gear and clothing to no more than 15-20 lbs.
GEAR YOU MUST BRING OR RENT FROM HOLIDAY
- CUP plastic mugs work well
- WATER BOTTLE
- SLEEPING BAG compact and warm
- GROUND CLOTH waterproof
- PONCHO/RAIN SUIT high quality important for Dinosaur & Desolation trips.
- SLEEPING PAD/AIR MATTRESS Compact, must fit in the bag described above.
- LIGHT TENT Back packer style, not the bulky, heavy types.
You can rent the items listed above in our sleeping rental kit. We offer two varieties, our basic sleeping kit which includes a sleeping bag, sleeping pad, ground cloth, rain gear and cup for $40.00, or the same basic sleeping kit with a two-man tent for $65.00. Rentals must be reserved in advance. Rentals requested the morning of the trip are subject to availability. Cups and water bottles available for purchase at our stores in Green River and Vernal Headquarters, or online.
- SWIMMING SUITS
- SHORTS quick drying
- LONG PANTS quick drying
- HAT for sun protection, with strap
- SUN GLASSES with safety strap
- SUN SCREEN SPF 15 or higher
- CHAPSTICK with sun screen
- HAND LOTION non-fragrant,small plastic bottle
- COMB or BRUSH
- TRAVEL TOWEL dries quick
- KLEENEX small travel pack
- CAMERA (at your own risk), extra memory cards (or film), batteries, and waterproof container
- SARONG (optional)
- SHIRT (S) short-sleeved, cotton, i.e. T-shirts
- SHIRT (S) long-sleeved, quick dry for sun protection
- SHOES keep dry for camp/hiking, i.e. durable sneakers or lightweight hiking boots
- SHOES to get wet while rafting, i.e. water sport shoes or sneakers
- SOCKS several pair, 1 cotton, 2 polypropylene or wool
- JACKET fleece or pile with wind/rain resistant shell
- LONG UNDERWEAR (optional) med. weight polypropylene/synthetic type
- BIODEGRADABLE SOAP available at outdoor specialty stores, or ivory soap
- INSECT REPELLENT concentrates in small bottles works best, i.e. Musk brand
- TAMPONS/ZIPLOCK BAGS 1 bag per day
- MEDICATION Aspirin/IBU Profen/Tylenol and personal prescriptions
- FLASHLIGHT or HEADLAMP small with extra batteries
- STUFF SACK to keep wet/dry clothes separated, i.e. pillow case or plastic bag
- CAMELBAK/FANNY PACK for hiking
- FISHING GEAR (optional) compact and well protected, i.e. rods in a case
- EXTRA BEVERAGES (optional) NO GLASS PLEASE, liquor/boxed-wine/canned-beer/specialty pops/juice
- EXTRA SNACKS (optional) for small children and people with diabetes.
Things not to bring on your trip - glass-bottled beverages, radios, firearms, pets, and large amounts of cash beyond what you'll want for your guide's gratuity. Do not bring expensive electronics such as cell phones, laptops, tablets and the like, binoculars, cameras, jewelry and non-waterproof wristwatches. Warning: In the event of a loss our insurance will not cover these items. **If you do decide to bring any of these items along with you to the meeting point for your trip, the most secure location to leave them behind would be at your hotel in their safe or locked up in the trunk of your vehicle. As a last resort we have a non-secure location at our headquarters, but we cannot assume responsibility for these items.
EARLY OR LATE SEASONS SUPPLEMENTS
(May and Sept. on all trips and in June on all Idaho, Yampa and Lodore trips.)
- STOCKING CAP wool/polypropylene
- GLOVES wool/polypropylene
- WETSUIT BOOTIES replaces water sport shoes above
- PILE OUTERWEAR in addition to a quality jacket, synthetic pile pants
- LONG UNDERWEAR (optional) med. weight polypropylene/synthetic type
There is a greater chance of inclement weather on these trips which otherwise offer many advantages to the well-prepared river traveler. Polypropylene, fleece, pile, bunting, capeline, etc. are a few examples of trade names for a class of synthetic materials that retain their ability to insulate when wet (please note, cotton does not.) Your comfort on the trip starts with finding the right type of synthetic under and outer-wear and quality rain gear. We recommend Backcountry.com for your additional river trip needs. They offer a wide variety of gear to help you dress for success while on your river trip, no matter what the weather decides to do. A prepared traveler is a happy traveler.
ITEMS YOU CAN BUY AT HOLIDAY'S ONLINE STORE:
www.BikeRaft.com or at our accessories stores in Green River and Vernal; the meeting points for our Cataract, Westwater, Desolation, Lodore and Yampa trips.
ITEMS YOU CAN BUY AT BACKCOUNTRY.COM Backcountry camping gear and clothing