Yampa River Rafting


Yampa River Whitewater Rafting – About This Trip


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


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


  • 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


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

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

Full Gallery



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.



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!


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by Peter David on Holiday River Expeditions

My wife and I also took this trip with Holiday, booked through Sierra Club. Simply incredible. The river and scenery speaks for itself - but the professionalism, attitude, knowledge, efficiency and attention to detail displayed by our Holiday guides ensured the trip was everything it could be. We will definitely be reviewing other Holiday offerings in the future. GO!

by Jeff Wexler on Holiday River Expeditions

Excellent river guide team. Extremely beautiful, well planned, smoothly run safe trip. Very friendly with great side trips. Special mention of Sherpa’s uplifting spiritual music respectful of the ancient people, caves and petroglyphs. Healthy food, fun rapids. Dustin, Dave and Susan shared environmental facts, star gazing knowledge and love of the Yampa.

by Phil Knight on Holiday River Expeditions

Do Not Miss this Trip! My wife Alaina and I rafted the Yampa with Holiday last week and it was absolutely incredible. Holiday outfitted the Sierra Club trip we went on and we were blown away. Susan, Katie, Tess, Sherpa, Dave and Dustin killed it. We were treated like river royalty! As our first guided river trip (after many trips self-guided the Holiday trip has spoiled us for life. Sherpa's flute music is one of many highlights not be missed.

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