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Forty-six miles of remote dirt road winds along a mile wide sandstone bench trapped between the Blue Mountains, 2000 feet up on your right, and the Yampa River Gorge, twelve hundred feet down on your left. We will ride to scenic overlooks of the river canyon cut from a breath-taking landscape of petrified sand dunes. From one such point called `Jenny Lind Rock’ the confluence of the Green and Yampa rivers can be seen. It was from this same rock in the 1870′s that hermit Pat Lynch claimed his pet lion loved to scream… confronted with the high desert’s wild beauty, you might find yourself compelled to do the same. On the morning of day three we will drop our bikes and don our life vests for the time of your life down the Yampa River.
The river trip is like tailgating at God's stadium.
In 1915 President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed the Dinosaur area a National Monument. This designation has preserved Dinosaur leaving miles of unspoiled wilderness. The Yampa Bench weaves an exciting, scenic path through 50 miles of the park. The river 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 Blue Mountain make this canyon unique. Warm Springs Rapid, a major descent, highlights the trip before joining the Green River at Echo Park. From here, you will traverse Whirlpool Canyon and Split Mountain Gorge and more rapids.
One of the advantages of a bike/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 in the area. This typical itinerary illustrates a bike trip on the Yampa Bench and a raft trip on the Yampa River in Dinosaur National Monument.
Meet group at Holiday River Expeditions headquarters in Vernal, Utah. A one and a half hour van ride, takes us to Iron Springs Overlook for a magnificent view of things to come. Time to fill your water bottle and adjust your bike seat for one of the most spectacular downhill glides on the Colorado Plateau. Seven miles and two thousand vertical feet later we will have made the descent from the high plateau through Sand Canyon to the Yampa Bench. Riding along the mostly level bench takes us past breathtaking overlooks where we can view the Yampa River one-thousand feet below. We will camp near Johnson Canyon, where a short hike reveals an area noted for its rare plants.
Day two will be our most ambitious day of biking (20-25 miles). A morning roller coaster ride takes us past the old Baker homestead, beyond Haystack Rock to the beginning of our climb over Blue Mountain’s Ridge tops. Two miles and 700 vertical feet of pedaling deliver us into Bear Valley, where we receive our reprieve; several miles of smooth sailing. We will camp this evening at the head of Disappointment Draw with distant views of the Yampa Valley.
This day begins with a short morning ride before hiking down disappointment draw. Support vehicles transfer bikes and equipment back to headquarters, and you board the rafts at Deerlodge Park. The Yampa River’s speedy flow takes you over many miles and abundant rapids.
Big Joe rapid usually marks the beginning of this day. Extra time provides opportunities for hiking and exploring up Johnson Canyon into Signature Cave where pre-Columbian Indians took shelter.
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.
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.
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.
We meet for your trip in Vernal, Utah at Holiday River Expeditions headquarters, 7:00 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.
Upon your arrival at Holiday River Expeditions headquarters (7:00 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). Before leaving our headquarters, each guest along with a Holiday guide will perform a pre-trip inspection of your bike. If you are providing your own bike, please make sure that it is in good repair, we recommend a complete service by a professional shop prior to the trip. Guests with bikes’ that fail our inspection will be asked to rent a Holiday bike for $150.00/person. We will then take a one and a half hour van ride to the embarkation point.
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.
The Yampa Bench bike route follows a graded dirt road for most of the trip with a few steep down hills, and one extended uphill segment. This dirt road has steep gradients, loose rocks, sand, and ruts. Riders who have no previous off-road bicycling experience, should be experienced road cyclists with good athletic ability. All riders should prepare for the trip by riding their bike on a regular basis prior to the trip.
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.
If cancellations are made prior to 90 days before the trip, monies will be refunded less $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 is such is the case.
Medical and cancellation insurance on a vacation plan can be obtained from numerous insurance companies. We offer plans underwritten by TRAVEL GUARD that cover accident, baggage and cancellation claims. An application should be enclosed with this information package. We encourage all to take advantage of this coverage. It is available to American and Canadian citizens as well as citizens of another country as long as you have a U.S. address. If you have questions give us a call. 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.
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.
We provide ice water, gatorade, two sodas per day 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/snacks that you bring so that you can keep track of them. The liquor store in Green River, Utah is located in the back of the West Winds restaurant. In Utah, wine or liquor is not sold after 7:00 p.m., before 11:00 a.m., or on Sundays and holidays. We will have high energy snacks and fresh fruit available, but if you have a favorite energy bar or snack bring it along.
Prior to leaving for your trip, we welcome you to call our Salt Lake City office, Monday through Friday at 800-624-6323 (outside 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 801-789-4586.
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 can 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 that 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.
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 at https://secure.utah.gov/hflo2/hflo.
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.
Exploration of the Colorado River Powell $12.95
Dinosaur River Guide Belknap (waterproof) $19.95
Life in Stone Christa Sadler $11.95
The Educated Outfitter Harvey Lay Murdock (Grandson) $10.95
These books can be ordered online at our e-store, or by sending the appropriate amount listed above plus $4.95 shipping and handling for the first book, and an additional $2.00 for each book thereafter 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 headquarters in Vernal.
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) www.hiexpress.com/vernalut
Landmark Inn & Suites 435-781-1800 (kitchenette & free hot breakfast) www.landmarkinn-ut.com
SpringHill Suites by Marriott 435-781-9000 (indoor pool, hot tub, kitchenette, complimentary continental breakfast buffet) www.marriott.com
Days Inn 435-789-1011 (TV, outdoor pool, continental breakfast) www.daysinn.com
Super 8 435-789-4326 (indoor pool, TV, continental breakfast) www.super8.com
Econo Lodge 435-789-2000 www.econolodge.com
Motel 6 435-789-0666 (indoor pool) www.motel6.com
BE SURE TO MAKE ADVANCE RESERVATIONS!!
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 a 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) Or, do it yourself, we can help… Air Service to Salt Lake City (SLC) or Denver (DEN) 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. Salt Lake City to Green River 180 miles Shuttle Service to Green River or Blanding, Utah from Salt Lake City (Vernal is on a Charter basis only) TRANSPORTATION OPTIONS FROM DENVER to Green River, Vernal or Blanding, Utah Air Service to Moab (CNY) (52 miles south of Green River), Utah from Denver, Colorado
Email Attention Mateja or Cindy: email@example.com">
Colorado and Utah Rivers
Gateway - Salt Lake City, Utah OR Denver, Colorado
All rental cars are located in both terminals of the Salt Lake City Airport.
Salt Lake City to Blanding 300 miles
Salt Lake City to Vernal 180 miles
Air Service to Vernal (VEL), Utah from Denver, Colorado
Or, do it yourself, we can help…
Air Service to Salt Lake City (SLC) or Denver (DEN)
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.
Salt Lake City to Green River 180 miles
Shuttle Service to Green River or Blanding, Utah from Salt Lake City (Vernal is on a Charter basis only)
TRANSPORTATION OPTIONS FROM DENVER to Green River, Vernal or Blanding, Utah
Air Service to Moab (CNY) (52 miles south of Green River), Utah from Denver, Colorado
PROVIDED BY HOLIDAY RIVER EXPEDITIONS
Printable PDF version
ITEMS YOU CAN BUY AT HOLIDAY'S ONLINE STORE: www.HolidayExpeditions.com/store or at our accessories stores in Green River and Vernal; the meeting points for our combination Bike and Raft trips.
ITEMS YOU CAN BUY AT BACKCOUNTRY.COM: www.backcountry.com