Dark Sky Stargazing on the Green River through Lodore Canyon

Take your mind on a cosmic journey on this dark sky stargazing trip while your body goes with the flow of a wilderness rafting trip. We’ve partnered with the Great Old Broads for Wilderness and Astronomy Guide Crystal White for a special, extended, five-day float through Dinosaur National Monument. Crystal is also a Certified Interpretive Guide and professional Naturalist.

Certified as an International Dark Sky Park in 2019, Dinosaur National Monument offers a double wilderness experience. In the daylight hours, you’ll bounce, splash, and hike through the ancient walls of Lodore Canyon. And as the sun drops behind those massive red walls, Crystal White will guide your eyes even farther up, into space, the ultimate wilderness. Through constellation storytelling and telescope viewing, Crystal will invite you to rediscover your sense of awe and wonder. Between the stars and the river itself canyon itself, you may find that your “real world” worries begin to feel pleasantly insignificant.

This trip will also be an opportunity to engage with the Great Old Broads for Wilderness, a grassroots organization dedicated (like Holiday!) to protecting our nation’s public lands. A portion of the proceeds of this trip will go to the Broads to help fund their important work. One of their leaders will be a part of the trip to facilitate discussion about the importance of wilderness and what each of us can do. It’s up to all of us to speak for the places that are important to us. Holiday River Expeditions is proud to support organizations that help to keep places like Lodore Canyon in a wild state.

More about our partners:

Great Old Broads for Wilderness

Great Old Broads for Wilderness gives voice to the millions of Americans who want to protect their public lands for future generations. Founded in 1989, they are one of the few public land conservation organizations led by women. With more than 8,500 members and supporters across the nation, they emphasize local grassroots action. They value and promote women’s leadership and experience and have fun doing serious work.

 

Moab Astronomy Tours

Crystal White, founder and lead guide of Moab Astronomy Tours, has over 19 years of experience as a professional naturalist. Certified as an interpretive guide with the National Association for Interpretation, she is also a Solar System Ambassador with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and has vast experience teaching astronomy, space science, and cultural links to the constellations. You can learn more about Crystal (and maybe find her in Moab!) here.

 

Want to learn more about Lodore? Read our Insider’s Guide.

Vernal, Utah: Things to Do and Places to Explore

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Trip Overview

  • Type:

    Stargazing

  • Location:

    Lodore Canyon - Dinosaur National Monument

  • Length:

    5 Days

  • Dates:

    Aug 27-31, 2022

  • Meet at:

    Vernal, UT @ 7:00 pm (night before the trip)

  • Difficulty:

    Intermediate

  • Min. Age:

    14

  • Deposit:

    300

Highlights

  • Float your way into an International Dark Sky Park
  • Nightly stargazing sessions with a professional dark sky guide
  • Gorgeous river canyon, incredible geology, and abundant wildlife
  • Splash through some of the Green River's best whitewater
Getting Here Before You Go Packing List FAQs

Rates & Dates

5 Day

  • Adult:
  • $1,570
  • Youth:
    18 and under
  • $1,570
  • Senior:
    65 and older
  • $1,570
  • Group:
    10 or more
  • $1,570
Book This Trip
Check Availability
2022
  • Aug 27-31

Itinerary

Float the Green River as it slips its way through the Gates of Lodore in northwestern Colorado. The river runs steeply and swiftly through the canyons of Dinosaur National Monument. It’s joined by the Yampa River in the aptly named Echo Park, then cross into Utah and Whirlpool Canyon. Island Park offers a brief respite from steep canyon walls before the river slices into Split Mountain for some final splashes. The trip ends just a 30-minute drive from Vernal, Utah.

Sample Itinerary

We’ll meet you at our boathouse in Vernal, Utah, at 7:00 p.m., Mountain Time, the night before your trip for a pre-trip orientation meeting. This is where we’ll pass out waterproof bags and show you how to pack them. We’ll also collect any personal beverages you’d like to bring on the trip. And you’ll have time to shop for last-minute items from our store (be sure to see our packing checklist for items we carry) and ask any last-minute questions.

Day 1:

Meet us back at the boathouse bright and early the next morning for a three-hour ride into northwestern Colorado. Sagebrush, mountains, and the occasional pronghorn dominate the landscape. Our trip starts just south of Brown’s Park National Wildlife Refuge at the base of the “Gates of Lodore,” imposing red cliffs that look like something from Lord of the Rings. After a quick orientation, we’ll float downstream to lunch, our first rapids, and then to camp. Settle in for our first night within Lodore’s vermilion cliffs and enjoy the uncommon experience of simply watching night fall.

Day 2:

We’ll start slow this morning. Enjoy the opposite experience from the night before: now we can watch the sun slowly descend the walls, bringing daylight into the canyon. When it hits the water, we’ll make our way downstream through some of the biggest rapids of the trip: Triplet Falls and Hells Half Mile. Spend the afternoon swimming or relaxing at camp and go on an afternoon hike to a delicate waterfall to work up an appetite for a gourmet, riverside dinner. Listen to stories about the value of wilderness and the importance of dark skies.

Day 3:

Today we leave Lodore Canyon and meet up with the Yampa River in Echo Park. Take a hike to a 1,000-year-old rock art panel and visit the Whispering Cave. Hop in an inflatable kayak after lunch and splash through the small, fun rapids of Whirlpool Canyon. Tonight we might camp right on the Colorado-Utah state line. Peer through a telescope at the rings of Saturn, or learn to identify a new constellation.

Day 4:

Load up on pancakes and other breakfast treats before the day’s main event: hiking at Jones Hole. The five-mile round-trip hike follows a crystalline creek to secret waterholes, waterfalls, and Fremont pictographs. Hike as long or as short as you want. We’ll regroup at the rafts and float another mile to our camp for the night.

Day 5:

Enjoy one last cup of coffee by the river’s edge. A few more rapids stud the last miles of Whirlpool Canyon before we exit into Island Park. We may do a silent float while scanning for eagles and the rare moose in this calm section of river. After meandering through the islands, we’ll pause for lunch, then gear up for eight more miles of whitewater fun in Split Mountain. This steep, splashy section of river is a great finale for five days well spent! Eventually, we’ll pull up at the boat ramp, put the boats on trailers, and then hop in the vans for the 35-minute ride back to Vernal. We aim to return to our warehouse at approximately 4:00 p.m.

Don’t forget that this is a sample itinerary! Your Lodore trip may include all of these activities, or it may include other exciting, interesting places and encounters. This is just an example to whet your appetite. We hope you’ll trust us that no matter the itinerary, your trip will be unforgettable. So join us, and “Go With the Flow!”

Lodore Women Whitewater

All of our trips are unique, and the itineraries are subject to group interests, weather, and the campsites we are assigned. This itinerary represents just one possible format for a 5-day trip through Lodore Canyon.

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