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

We acknowledge the Indigenous inhabitants of Lodore. In an effort to end the erasure of the traditional inhabitants of the land through which we travel, Holiday acknowledges that Lodore Canyon is the homeland of the Eastern Shoshone people and the Núu-agha-tʉvʉ-pʉ̱ (Ute) people. We honor and respect these people, and continue to develop our land acknowledgement initiative. Read more here.
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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:
  • $1,110
  • Youth:
    18 and under
  • $990
  • Senior:
    65 and older
  • $990
  • Group:
    10 or more
  • $990
Book This Trip
Check Availability
2022 (pending NPS approval)
  • May
  • 20, 24, 28
  • June
  • 1, 18, 25, 28, 30
  • July
  • 1, 5, 7, 8, 12, 14, 15, 19, 21, 22, 26, 28, 30
  • August
  • 2, 4, 5, 9, 11, 16, 18, 23, 25, 26, 27, 30, 31
  • September
  • 2, 7, 9

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:  
 169 reviews
by George Wootton on Holiday River Expeditions

Overall experience was wonderful. The guides all contributed to both the sense of fun and excitement as well as safety. Tyler is a true leader. She made me feel well guided and directed. Peter brought amazing experiences and associated stories. If things were going to crash and burn he would be someone I would want on my side. Brian is so full of fun and playfulness with experience and stories to match. He was especially, although not exclusively, fun for the kids on the trip. Em, so fun and skilled on the river and off. And Jordan, who brought her youthful enthusiasm and enjoyment of rafting. This was infectious. Overall, I felt the guides were terrific. They worked well together, and made me feel safe and cared for. The food was excellent. The scenery was astounding. I look forward to my next trip with Holiday River Expeditions.



My only suggestion is that I would have liked to have had the guides help us with daily reflections on the trip. For example, it would have been fun if, while sitting around eating dinner, they had initiated a conversation about the days highlights and challenges and maybe an explanation of the history and geology of what we were seeing.

by Dan & Katherine Price on Holiday River Expeditions

Long story short; we finished, our kids said "can we do a river trip again? Can we do it with Holiday? Can we get Rolf, Rachel, and Ben to be our guides?" Yes, yes, and I hope so! It was a beautiful trip, the Gates of Lodore have to be seen. But our guides were what really made it - they were calm, patient, kind, informative, competent, fun, inclusive. We took advantage of great weather and took a ton of hikes which broke up the sitting inherent in the rafting trip, and the guides kept ages 7 - 50 engaged, intact, and well exercised. Lots of geology and geology knowledge added significantly to the interest of the trip. Opportunities to Kayak and steer the raft were great additions as well. I wasn't anticipating pretty significant food supplies and great preparation. Guides did all the dirty work, we can't wait for the next trip. Thank you Rolf, Rachel and Ben!



Dan, Katharine, Charlotte, Ben and Henry!

by Warren Schanback on Holiday River Expeditions

The guides were very professional but still warm and friendly. The food was outstanding and plentiful. The equipment and transportation were all in excellent condition and the scenery was beyond spectacular. Everyone should do this trip before they get too old.

by Eric Hoffman on Holiday River Expeditions

Justin, Spencer, Emily, Tess, and Jordan were fantastic guides and new friends! I hope to see them on my next trip.

My overall experience was nothing less than amazing! This was an adventure I will be sharing with my friends and family.

by Dayna & Paul Temby on Holiday River Expeditions

All fantastic. Guides all awesome! So personable and fun, smart, accommodating



OVERALL: Wonderful! Highlights were the guides. We just loved Sienna’s fun spirit, singing through the rapids. Ben gave quite an omelette game show too! The campsites at Lodore were very nice, the days on the water were fun, loved the Duckies, and the food was amazing!! So gourmet on the river with all those fresh veggies and other fresh ingredients. Can’t wait for another.

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