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
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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:  
 175 reviews
by Alexa Anderson on Holiday River Expeditions

Our Gates of Lodore river trip was terrific; the guides were fun, capable, smart, and knowledgeable on the surrounding geology, and flora and fauna, etc. The food was healthy, excellent, and plentiful, and the scenery was awesome too. Great trip!!

by Jill Garrett on Holiday River Expeditions

We had a fantastic time on our Lodore adventure. The guides and food were amazing. It was much fun to paddle solo in the inflatable kayak! I believe anyone will find an adventure with Holiday to be very well planned and executed... we’ll be back!

by Jay and Barbara Gross on Holiday River Expeditions

The food was amazing! We joked that some people might want to do the trip just for the food. The rafting is just the bonus!



The knowledge and skill level of ALL the guides were impressive. They have a real passion for what they do and it shows. I'm the kind of guy who always likes to offer help if I can, but watching the guides in action as they prepared food or set up camp I quickly learned the best way to help was to stay out of their way. They were a well-oiled machine! They interacted well with everyone and kept us fully engaged.

by Julie Osborn on Holiday River Expeditions

Our guides were great! The food was yummy! The hike and activities were fun and the transportation was comfortable.

Holiday river trips are so much fun! They are a very professional organization catering to the best possible experience for their guests.

by Sharad & Rebecca Seth on Holiday River Expeditions

This was a special time to share with our son and his family. As the days progressed, the group got closer and this made our time even more enjoyable. The guides were uniformly good and were eager to engage in conversation and share their experience.

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