LGBTQ Desolation Canyon Rafting Trip

Our LGBTQ “Elders” Rafting Trip

For our second season in a row Holiday is partnering with The Venture Out Project to invite Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender & generally Queer folks to join us on the river.  In 2022 for the first time, we will be convening this intentional & facilitated trip on the Green River through Desolation Canyon with a soft age limit of 30 years and older for participants.  Relax and unwind with other guests who remember and value what the world was like before the internet & cell phones took over! We are calling this trip affectionately the Elders trip to pay respect to the critical role queer elders have and do play in our LGBTQ cultural ecosystem. As Hannah Gadsby says, “I identify as tired.” Hey- you deserve a break!

This far-flung middle-of-nowhere place is far from desolate; rife with riparian ecosystem plants & animals. Its dramatic and impossibly deep canyon walls offer a beautiful backdrop for everything from quiet introspection, playful socializing or out-right whitewater adventure on this ‘has-it-all’ getaway.  Spend 5 days floating through this isolated Eden while having the Holiday guides cater to your needs and desires & the Venture Out Project team build an intentional container to feel seen, safe-(er), and brave in.  Together we hope the natural world and a wild river can help liberate us all!

Read more: Insider’s Guide to Rafting the Green River through Desolation Canyon

Green River, Utah: Things to Do and Places to Explore

*This is a trip intended for adults 30 years & older. While sober folks are more than welcome it will not be an explicitly sober trip. If you would prefer a sober space please consider joining us for our 4-day Gates of Lodore LGBTQ Sober Trip August 18-21! If you have any questions regarding this or any of our affinity group trips don’t hesitate to call our administrative office & ask for Lauren!

The Green River through Desolation Canyon flows through the traditional homeland of the Núu-agha-tʉvʉ-pʉ̱ (Ute) people. Today, the Uintah and Ouray Reservation borders the east side of Desolation and Gray Canyons, and the Ute people continue to protect the river. Holiday acknowledges and respects the long history of these traditional inhabitants. We appreciate our own long-standing relationship with the modern-day tribe. Learn more about our land acknowledgments here.
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Interested in scholarships or paying it forward? E-mail Oliver and we can help make it happen.

Trip Overview

  • Type:


  • Location:

    Desolation Canyon - Green River Wilderness

  • Length:

    5 Days

  • Dates:

    May 16-20

  • Meet at:

    Green River, Utah @ 7:00 pm (night before the trip)

  • Difficulty:


  • Min. Age:


  • Deposit:



  • Eye catching flight over the river corridor to remote wilderness put-in
  • Large beaches with shady cottonwood trees
  • Consistent and thrilling Class I–III rapids
  • Enjoyment of wilderness with mature queer friends new and old
  • Rich folklore about notorious outlaws
Getting Here Before You Go Packing List FAQs

Rates & Dates

5 Day

  • Adult:
  • $1,325
  • Youth:
    18 and under
  • NA
  • Senior:
    65 and older
  • $1,325
  • Group:
    10 or more
  • $1,325
Book This Trip
Check Availability
  • May
  • 16-20

We recognize that outdoor adventures are expensive and we strive to increase access. If you are interested in a scholarship, or in paying it forward by donating to our scholarship fund, please click here/email and we can help make it happen.


The Green River flows through eastern Utah at the bottom of the Tavaputs Plateau, one of the largest wilderness areas in the Lower 48 states. Embarking from Sand Wash boat ramp, a 25-mile bone-rattling ride from the closest pavement, Desolation Canyon is a truly remote destination. The river travels southwest for more than 80 miles through some of the youngest rocks on the Colorado Plateau, finally exits from the canyon just upstream of Holiday’s home town of Green River, Utah.


Sample Itinerary

The day before your trip:

Desolation Canyon trips begin with a scenic flight to the remote put in. Because of the flight logistics, we ask that (if possible) you plan to stop by our Green River, Utah, warehouse before 12:00 p.m. Mountain Time on the day before your trip to drop off any excessive or bulky gear as well as any personal beverages. These will travel to the put in by road, with the guides and all the gear.

Otherwise, please plan to attend the pre-trip meeting at our Green River warehouse at 7:00 p.m. Mountain Time. A Holiday staffer will give you your waterproof bags, a brief orientation on how to pack and prepare for the flight, and let you know what time to meet in the morning (typically 6:15 a.m.). Consider purchasing a variety of last minute items from our store (look over our packing checklist to see what we carry).

Day 1:

On the morning of your trip, please arrive at the time established at the pre-trip meeting. We’ll load up in our vans for a 15-minute drive to Green River’s boutique airstrip. With the TVOP facilitators, travel in small, four- to nine-passenger planes, and fly directly up the Green River, over the Tavaputs Plateau and Desolation Canyon. You’ll be in the air for about 35-minutes, and the view is spectacular! Your Holiday guides will be waiting to greet you at the airstrip, and lead you on the first hike of the trip, a 45-minute descent to the rafts waiting at the river bottom. Guests who would prefer not to hike can be transported by vehicle to the river where the real trip begins! Watch cliff swallows explode out of their nests as the walls rise around us. Take a short hike to see an ancient turtle fossil, and make camp on a sandbar or in a grove of cottonwood trees.

Day 2:

Savor a few more miles of peaceful water as we row around Peter’s Point. Lighthouse Rock, named by John Wesley Powell, cues your guides into the whitewater just around the corner. Enjoy an inflatable kayak and splash through our first rapids. Hike to an ancient Fremont cultural site or explore a side canyon.

Day 3:

Take a short stroll to the historic Rock Creek Ranch, where Butch Cassidy’s Wild Bunch slept, and try to spot indigenous granaries on the canyon walls. Hold on tight (or paddle hard!) through rapids such as Chandler Falls and the biggest of them all, Cow Swim. Born of a flash flood in 2008, it marks the former location of a historic cattle ford.

Day 4:

Desolation’s walls soar ever higher, turning red and craggy, a breathtaking crescendo as we transition into Gray Canyon. Today brings even more whitewater fun with Wire Fence, Three Fords, and Coal Creek rapids. Look for evidence of a planned dam site on the hike to scout Coal Creek Rapid, and poke around in the ruins of a surveyor’s cabin just downstream.

Day 5:

With several more rapids left in the canyon, and a few more hours to listen to the song of the canyon wren as we approach the end of the canyon. We’ll have lunch and maybe squeeze in one more cultural site before arriving at the take out at Swasey’s Beach. We will return you to Green River, Utah (20-minute van ride). Our expected time of arrival back at our headquarters is 3:00 to 4:00 p.m.

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 rafting Desolation Canyon!

River Rafting Desolation Planes Airport

One of the advantages of a backcountry trip is the flexibility of the daily itinerary. It can vary widely from one trip to the next based on group desires, assigned campsites, weather, and other unpredictable elements. Embrace the adventure and go with the flow!


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Holiday River Expeditions
Average rating:  
 4 reviews
 by Allister Hirschman


 by Evan Cass

I was surprised not to hear from Holiday until the Friday before my trip left. It would have been nice to get a check-in email about a week in advance.

Liz and Ellie were fantastic!! The food was also above and beyond expectations.

Holiday exceeded my expectations in every way. The guides were knowledgeable and made me feel safe on the river. The food was fantastic and the logistics were seamless. I can't wait to return on another trip!

 by Jamie and Lisa Poole Wolf

Susan was an amazing team leader. Food was tops! Been on this trip a few times and highly recommend Holiday - who I have traveled with for 25 years. The best outfit ever.

 by Ingrid Baumgardener

Prior to the river trip, I was riddled with anxiety. I had never rafted nor camped for that many days in a row... I definitely felt out

of my league but the guides were capable, personable, and had everything under control. From logistics and planning to paddle and set up of camp and cooking, they were pros! I felt safe and welcome and it was fantastic!

10/10 Am definitely going again!