Gates of Lodore Rafting Trips

Rafting through the Gates of Lodore is like entering an enchanted wonderland. Lodore is beautiful the way that the pages of an illustrated children’s book are beautiful. Steep, forested red cliffs tower over the crystal-clear water of the upper Green River. Big horn sheep, bears, osprey, eagles, and other wildlife roam the river banks, and history comes to life through rapids and rock art. Deep in the heart of Dinosaur National Monument in northwestern Colorado and northeastern Utah, Lodore Canyon rafting trips are great for families and first-time river runners. It’s an especially relaxing trip, with easy days on the water and plenty of time for hiking as well as playing and relaxing on the beautiful sandy beach camps.

Gates of Lodore rafting trips carry you over some of the West’s best rapids, including Disaster Falls and Hells Half Mile. There are also dozens of smaller rapids that are great fun to paddle in inflatable kayaks. Hike to secret waterfalls or swimming holes. Marvel at thousand-year-old pictographs and petroglyphs left behind by some of the canyon’s original inhabitants. Spend time reconnecting with your friends and family, or make new friends! And above all, there’s geology! Nowhere else are the folds and faults of our planet’s crust so colorfully or clearly displayed. Lodore is one place that has to be seen to be believed.

Featured Review:

The whole Holiday crew is the best! The guides, activities, food, and transportation all come together to make a perfect trip. I love meeting the various river personalities. The team assembled by Holiday really represents the core values of the company and dedication to teaching guests about the wonders of the desert and Colorado River system. The food is delicious, healthy, and expertly prepared. I keep coming back to Holiday again and again because the experience is unmatched. No matter the crew we assemble, Holiday goes with the flow (ha) and makes it an enjoyable trip. (Jesse Dean)

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

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Trip Overview

  • Type:

    Rafting

  • Location:

    Green River - Dinosaur National Monument

  • Length:

    4 Days

  • Dates:

    May–September

  • Meet at:

    Vernal, Utah @ 7:00 am

  • Difficulty:

    Intermediate

  • Min. Age:

    8

  • Deposit:

    300

Highlights

  • Dramatic cliffs guide you through a geologic time warp
  • Exciting, technical Class III & IV rapids
  • Riparian ecosystem provides habitat for a variety of wildlife
  • Wilderness rafting trip with fully catered amenities
  • Visit hard-to-see corners of Dinosaur National Monument
  • World-class trout fishing
Getting Here Before You Go Packing List FAQs

Rates & Dates

4 Day

  • Adult:
  • $1,075
  • Youth:
    18 and under
  • $955
  • Senior:
    65 and older
  • $955
  • Group:
    10 or more
  • $955
Book This Trip
Check Availability
2021
  • May
  • 21, 25, 29
  • June
  • 2, 19, 26, 29
  • July
  • 1, 2, 6, 8, 9, 13, 15, 16, 20, 22, 23, 27, 29, 31
  • August
  • 3, 5, 6, 10, 12, 17, 19, 24, 26, 27, 28, 31
  • September
  • 1, 3, 8, 10

Itinerary

The Green River slips through the imposing Gates of Lodore, into the heart of Dinosaur National Monument in northwestern Colorado. The Green meets the Yampa River at Echo Park, then drops into Whirlpool Canyon and across the state line into Utah. It meanders through the idyllic Island Park, and then ducks into Split Mountain Canyon for eight more miles of rapids before washing up at the Split Mountain boat ramp and our take out point.

 

Sample Itinerary

Day 1:

Meet your party at our headquarters in Vernal, Utah at 7:00 a.m., Mountain Time. There we will issue your waterproof bags and 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). Watch for raptors and pronghorns on the three-hour drive from Vernal to the put in at Browns Park National Wildlife Refuge. Enter the canyon through the impressive Gates of Lodore and imagine you’re one of John Wesley Powell’s boatmen, entering the great unknown. Winnie’s and Disaster Falls are the first major rapids we’ll navigate: a great taste of what’s to come.

Day 2:

The “Gates” mark the beginning of high desert country—the Colorado Plateau—in what is deemed an ecological transition-zone: a landscape teeming with wildlife. As the canyon narrows, more rapids emerge: Harp Falls, Triplet Falls, and Hell’s Half Mile. Hike at Rippling Brook and discover a secluded waterfall.

Day 3:

At the confluence of the Green and Yampa rivers at Echo Park, the canyon widens and the river circles Steamboat Rock. Beyond this, the river cuts through the dramatic Mitten Park Fault and enters Whirlpool Canyon. The afternoon may be spent at Jones Hole Creek, a blue-ribbon trout stream with side canyon petroglyphs and a waterfall.

Day 4:

Enjoy a peaceful morning in Island and Rainbow parks before entering another massive gorge. The Green’s powerful forces cut laterally through Split Mountain’s uplifted and colorful core. Run Moonshine, S.O.B., Schoolboy, and Inglesby rapids and slide into the take out at approximately 2:00 p.m. Our expected time of arrival back at our headquarters is about 4:00 p.m.

Please keep in mind that this is a sample itinerary and may not be the exact trip you’ll experience. Lodore Canyon offers countless options and each trip may feature different highlights. This is just one possible itinerary. Keep an open mind, be flexible, go with the flow, and enjoy!

One of the best parts of a river trip is its flexibility. Weather, assigned campsites, river conditions, and countless other variables mean that every trip is different. This sample itinerary illustrates one possible four-day trip through Lodore Canyon.

Reviews

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Holiday River Expeditions
Average rating:  
 163 reviews
by Cindy Hawley on Holiday River Expeditions

Karen and Ellie were very informative and helpful. I have been dreaming about this trip for about 12 years. It finally worked out this year and it far exceeded my expectations. The guides, food, camp spots, variety of rafting couldn't have been better. The other guests all feel like friends now. Don't wait as long as I did!

by Wes Schindler on Holiday River Expeditions

Despite the concerns related to cold weather at the start of our rafting trip, it went off without a hitch. The guides were supportive and very helpful. They were upbeat and creative despite the weather. Even sharing their own personal warm clothing to help some of the guests. The last half of our trip was warm and sunny as expected and left us all smiles. I would recommend Holiday rafting trips and would travel with them again! Thank you so much

by John Loomis on Holiday River Expeditions

Dry bags were much larger than the trip checklist indicated, resulting in us to skimp on warm clothing, hiking boots, and warmer sleeping bags. Medium rain suit pants had no elastic in the waist, and the guide had to fashion a belt to keep the water out. Guides Trevor and Em "M" were outstanding. They helped us deal with the cold by providing some additional clothing and keeping us moving to stay warm. Very informative about the river, the environment, and the Echo Dam site. Great cooks too! Hard workers.

by Linda Hardin on Holiday River Expeditions

Karen is SO pleasant to deal with. I was disappointed that she wasn’t actually IN Vernal, but that makes total sense for her to be in SLC. I rented a tent, but my intention was never to use it unless the weather prevented me from sleeping under the stars. But sleep under the stars I did so it made a wonderful pillow. You are welcome to post my comments on my experience. it was a beautiful experience in nature. I felt cared for and loved the geological updates from Rolf, my guide. It’s gorgeous on the Green River sleeping under the stars in the Milky Way and the moon. It was beyond beautiful. thanks again. Looking forward to the next time.

by Victoria Savas on Holiday River Expeditions

Very organized and the packing list helped so much for a first-timer. Found all information easily. Loved the waterproof bags! I want one for my regular life. I love that they’re white and keep the insides cool considering how warm it can get out there. The guides were incredible. We spent most of our time on Sams's boat. He showed us some incredible features of the river, answered questions, and was great to converse with. The food was great! I def will be taking some of those ideas into our daily lives. This was a trip I will never forget. The crew that puts this together thinks of everything. The guides are one of a kind. The food was great. Most importantly it was safe. We were informed ahead of time what to expect, what to bring, and reminded along the way. Holiday also took great COVID precautions. Can’t wait for our next trip!!

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