Gates of Lodore Rafting Trips

Rafting through the Gates of Lodore is like entering an enchanted wonderland. As you stare at the glassy, green water and the steep, forested red cliffs towering above, you can’t help but think, “this is so beautiful it looks like it’s out of an illustrated children’s book!” Bighorn 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 inflatable kayaks through. Hike to secret waterfalls and 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.

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

Vernal, Utah: Things to Do and Places to Explore

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)

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 acknowledgment initiative. Read more here.
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Trip Overview

  • Type:


  • Location:

    Green River - Dinosaur National Monument

  • Length:

    4 Days

  • Dates:


  • Meet at:

    Vernal, Utah @ 7:00 p.m. the night before the trip

  • Difficulty:


  • Min. Age:


  • Deposit:



  • 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


The Green River slips through the imposing Gates of Lodore, into the heart of Dinosaur National Monument in northwestern Colorado. 19 miles downstream, 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

Meet your party at our headquarters in Vernal, Utah, the night before your trip at 7:00 p.m., Mountain Time for a pre-trip orientation meeting. Learn how to pack your waterproof bags, drop off personal drinks, and learn more about what to expect on the river. You can also 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).

Day 1:

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. Enjoy soft sand and gorgeous views as you set up camp for the first night while your guides whip up a scrumptious dinner.

Day 2:

Awake to your guides pouring you hot coffee and serving you a hot breakfast! 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. While the river miles traveled today may be short, the excitement is high as the canyon narrows and technical rapids emerge: Harp Falls, Triplet Falls, and Hell’s Half Mile. Tonight’s camp is perfect for a game of beach frisbee or horseshoes. Hike at Rippling Brook and discover a secluded waterfall before enjoying another delicious river-front dinner.

Day 3:

At the confluence of the Green and Yampa rivers at Echo Park, the canyon widens and the river circles Steamboat Rock. Learn the powerful history behind the proposed dam site at Echo Park. Downstream, 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 River’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!

Lodore Canyon Whitewater Guests LB

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.


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Holiday River Expeditions
Average rating:  
 233 reviews
 by Tim Earley

This was my first rafting trip. It was a big step to dive in head first for a 4 day trip. I didn't really know what to expect. My friend and I had been talking about it for nearly 15 years. Everything went phenomenally well. The guides handled everyting along the way, navigation, education, setting up for 3 well chosen meals each day. They became real friends.

The Gates of Lodore was a spectacular trip. Words really can't describe how incredible it was. We traversed through calm waters and rapids. Towards the end, I jumped in a "duckie" for the time of my life navigating through 8 miles of rapids heavier than we encountered through the whole trip to end at Split Mountain. It's a story to tell for a lifetime. I've shared it with my adventurer daughters. They are excited about it now too. I can't thank the guides enough for their exceptional warmth, knowledge and hospitality.

 by Sheila Sparks

The Gates of Lodore 3-night 4-day trip was beyond our expectations. I knew it might be pretty from the pics I Googled, however, we were in this beautiful canyon the entire 4 days! There were 5 of us in our adult family along with 6 other adults on this trip. We all had so much fun, such that people at work commented on how happy I came back. We had Jacqueline, Michelle, Abbey, and Benny as our river guides! They were fantastic! We felt safe in the rapids they navigated, their cooking and the meals were WAY better than what I do when camping. They were helpful, informative with their knowledge, and fun to hang with. Matt our driver for put-in and take-out was quite entertaining and knowledgeable on the 3-hour drive to the put-in. Thanks Matt! We booked the trip because of Shar's customer service when inquiring, we will book again because of the guides and fantastic experience. Thank you so much, guys!

 by Tracie & Michael Clang

Everyone.....Matt (who drove us and we learned so much from), Michelle, Abbey, Benny (who was in training but you never would have guessed it), and OF COURSE, the amazing, amazing trip leader - Jacqueline. I cannot brag about your team enough. My basic expectation was for them to keep us safe :) and they blew that minimum expectation away in the first 10 minutes...not only did we feel confident in their abilities and Jacqueline's "Preoccupation with Failure"....the customer service, kindness, and friendliness was beyond reproach. Truly a perfect trip. Oh - and I work in the medical community to reduce medical errors that harm when I say she is "preoccupied with failure", that is the strongest compliment I could possibly give her. Safety was her UTMOST priority and it showed... no matter how tired she might be or how long the day was always the first and last thing on her mind. I would get in a boat with her anytime, anywhere...and I am a chicken.

 by Anthony Stark

I was really impressed with the guides, especially Ben the leader. He seemed very knowledgeable and ran a tight ship. I was super impressed with how smoothly everything went, given how much work they needed to do constantly loading and unloading boats, setting up cooking and washing stations, cooking really tasty food, and keeping everyone safe. It was really really well done.

 by Paul Brogan

Put an Exceeds column in for the guides. To a person, all very engaging, fun, personable, and understood they were as much about the customer experience as anything else on the trip. Fun to watch how well Jacqueline, Ezra, Nick, London, Gavin, and Hannah worked together. The rest of the drivers and support staff were just as nice and helpful.

A first rate experience in every regard. My first time in Utah outside of SLC and the country was stunning. Food and accommodations were great and the guides and friends we made along the way were a bonus. Everyone worked hard to make us comfortable in every way possible while also offering reflections and knowledge of the river, region, and history that made this more than just another raft trip. Would recommend it to just about anyone who is looking to spend some time off the grid.

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