Yampa River Rafting

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Yampa River Whitewater Rafting – About This Trip

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Yampa River Rafting is WILD; the last undammed river on the Colorado River system. Through the years the Yampa River has defied many attempts to dam its free flow, several by congress, and the most formidable in 1965 by Mother Nature. 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; originally pioneered the day after by Dee Holladay himself.

Every May and June this whitewater 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 River 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. If you feel the need for something rare, something wild and free…the Yampa is waiting.

Trip Overview

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Location: Yampa River - Dinosaur National Monument
Type: Rafting
Length: 4 and 5 Days
Dates: May - June
Meet At: Vernal, UT 8:00 AM
Rating: Intermediate
Age Min: 8
Deposit: $300

Highlights

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  • Unbridled rapids fed from uninterrupted snow melt 
  • Endless winding bends of dramatic striped canyon walls
  • Abundant wildlife in an distinctly healthy ecosystem 
  • Numerous hidden treasures & points of interest through this historic canyon. 

Trip Price & Departure Dates

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4-Day
Adult - $980
Youth/ Group/ Senior - $860
(18 & under) (10 or more) (65 & older)

5-Day
Adult - $1,075
Youth/ Group/ Senior - $940
(18 & under) (10 or more) (65 & older)

+$22 NPS Fees per person.

2018 Trip Schedule

4 Day Trip Dates
May 16,19, 23, 26, 28, 30
June 4

5 Day Trip Dates
May 21
June 8, 9, 11, 13, 15, 16, 18, 20, 23, 25, 27, 30

Trip Slideshow

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Full Gallery

Map

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The Yampa River ushers in the true wild heartbeat of the whole Colorado River system. We join its currents at Deerlodge Park and ride its waves till the confluence of the Green River; from there we meander through historic Whirlpool Canyon, Island Park and the final crescendo of Split Mountain, taking out at Split Mountain Boat Ramp at the southern boundary of Dinosaur National Monument.

Itinerary

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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  (8:00 a.m., Mountain Time). We will issue your waterproof bags.  You can buy any last minute items from our accessories store at this time (see our packing checklist for a list of items you can find at our store). 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 indigenous ancestral sites, 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 Island and Rainbow Park 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. Our expected time of arrival back at our headquarters is about 4:00 p.m.

On a 5-day Yampa trip you will follow the same river-currents as on a 4 day with minor changes. Your second day may not yet find you at an ancestral site but rather a stunning overlook hike or possibly an idyllic cave viewpoint. Your 3rd day would drift you back on course into much of the same schedule as the 4-day itinerary.

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!



Reviews

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by Kirk Kirkland on Blank Business Name

I was impressed with the reservation person named Karen in Salt Lake City and how helpful she was and how personal to talk with. Our river Guide Justin was quite impressive in his knowledge of white water and in handling the raft in river flooding conditions. His background on river history, trees, birds and native history was informative. He had a very pleasant manner as a leader as he could be helpful and encourage safe behavior without being overly directive or assertive. Members of our party came with decades of river running experience and we were more than twice his age. He treated us with respect and as friends -- without compromising his leadership ability. I was impressed by the years of experience that Holiday expeditions brings to their river trips and the contribution you have made to improving and educating people about the rivers and Canyon Country of Utah. We plan to book another trip in Desolation Canyon in the coming years. We would not hesitate to book with you and look forward to meeting more of your staff.

by Terry & Dick Carkner on Blank Business Name

Our trip down the Yampa was amazing. Our guides Justin and Erica did a great job for us. The food was above expectations, gourmet in the wilderness. We learned a lot, saw some incredible sites, a trip to remember.

by Peter Pollock & Diane Yates on Blank Business Name

The Yampa River, during spring run-off, was our family's 3rd river trip with Holiday. Our first trip was down Westwater when our youngest was 10. Cataract Canyon at high water was our celebration for our daughter's high school graduation. This year, we gathered together to raft the Colorado River watershed's last untamed river, the Yampa, to commemorate our son's college graduation. As an outdoorsy Colorado family who understands the risks of whitewater boating AND the serenity of sleeping to river sounds, we would never consider rafting with any other outfitter. Holiday Guides are walking Wikipedias on natural history, canyon culture and reading the river under all conditions. Plus they are excellent cooks!

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