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:

    Rafting

  • Location:

    Green River - Dinosaur National Monument

  • Length:

    4 Days

  • Dates:

    May–September

  • Meet at:

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

  • Difficulty:

    Intermediate

  • Min. Age:

    8

  • Deposit:

    400

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:
  • $1,190
  • Youth:
    18 and under
  • $1,070
  • Senior:
    65 and older
  • $1,070
  • Group:
    10 or more
  • $1,070
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Check Availability
2023
  • May
  • 19, 23, 27, 31
  • June
  • 17, 24, 27, 29, 30
  • July
  • 4, 7, 11, 13, 14, 18, 20, 21, 25, 27, 29
  • August
  • 1, 3, 4, 8, 10, 15, 17, 22, 24, 25, 26, 29, 30
  • September
  • 1, 6, 8

2023 Prices are subject to NPS approval

Itinerary

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.

Reviews

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Holiday River Expeditions
Average rating:  
 209 reviews
 by Laura Johnston

Competent friendly guides, fresh wholesome food, beautiful weather, no bugs! Loved being able to kayak sections. What a trip.

 by John Giese

Syd was definitely our favorite, but we liked and respected all the guides. They seemed to work well together, and the food was good even if it took a while to cook it once or twice.

 by Andrew Cook

Ben, Talley, Joey, Rolf, and Liz were great guides. They made the four days on the river very enjoyable, easy, and fun for our whole group. Thank you to each of them.

 by William Dean

Great time with old friends, we were a group of nine, but it was just as much fun to become friends with all the other rafters and guides!

 by Michael Halfon

The guides were awesome. In particular, Kyle and Syd were fun, knowledgeable, laid back, and made the trip awesome!

I went with my family (Sister, Brother in law and nephew). The guides were awesome. They were knowledgeable and highly organized. they made the trip so fun with their outgoing personalities. They were also great cooks. I was so surprised at how good the food was! They even catered to my Vegan gluten-free sisters needs. The trip was an overall blast. We had great white water time, great hikes, amazing nightly camp site stargazing, and we met great people from all over the U.S. We always felt safe at all times.

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