Kayak Workshop on the Green River in Utah

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The Green River through Desolation Canyon is a perfect training ground for a whitewater kayaking workshop. The canyon offers plenty of slow-moving water where you can practice the basics, and more than 60 fun, low-consequence rapids where you can put your new skills to the test! Holiday has teamed up with Andy Thunell and his Rapid Progression Kayak School to put together a fully supported, six-day whitewater kayaking workshop.

If you’re looking for a more active vacation or want to get up close and personal with the Green River in one of the most spectacular wilderness canyons in the West, this is the trip for you. A professional kayaking instructor will provide the instruction and all kayaking equipment. Holiday guides provide logistical support and prepare gourmet meals while you practice paddling, rolling, and running rapids. Six days also allow time to hike along side canyons, explore cultural sites, and simply relax on the beaches or among the shady cottonwood trees.

Prior kayaking experience is not necessary, but a kayak swimming pool class is suggested to help speed your learning on the river. These classes can be found at most colleges and universities. You should be in excellent physical condition and comfortable around water. Get hands-on with your river trip!

Additional Things to Bring for the Green River Kayak Workshop:

Extra sunscreen (we recommend waterproof!)

Visor or billed hat to fit under the helmet

Sunglasses, with Chums or Croakies to hold them

Nose plugs (for when you learn to roll)

Paddling jacket or splash jacket

Wool sweater or other warm layers

Wetsuit booties/tennis shoes (a must while in the kayak)


Neoprene gloves (protect hands from cold and/or blisters)

Wetsuit (“Farmer John” style recommended)

Small waterproof pouch (to keep goodies close at hand in your kayak during the day)

Green River, Utah: Things to Do and Places to Explore

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Trip Overview

  • Type:


  • Location:

    Desolation Canyon - Green River Wilderness

  • Length:

    6 Days

  • Dates:

    August 1–6, 2022

  • Meet at:

    Green River, Utah @ 7:00 pm (night before the trip)

  • Difficulty:


  • Min. Age:


  • Deposit:



  • Kayak all of Desolation Canyon!
  • Learn a new skill and enjoy an active vacation
  • Professional instructors and guides
  • Fully supported trip with rafts to carry all the gear
  • Kayak familiarization, including safety and paddle strokes
  • Learn to read the river's currents and rapids
  • Play in rapids and learn to roll
Getting Here Before You Go Packing List FAQs

Rates & Dates

6 Day

  • Adult:
  • $1,595
  • Youth:
    18 and under
  • $1,595
  • Senior:
    65 and older
  • $1,595
  • Group:
    10 or more
  • $1,595
Book This Trip
Check Availability
  • August 1-6


Your trip starts in Green River, Utah, with a scenic flight into the heart of the Tavaputs Plateau, the largest roadless area in the continental United States. The Green River flows southwest for 84 miles through this same wilderness, and more than 60 Class I–III rapids provide plenty of opportunities to practice paddling. The trip ends near Swasey’s Beach, eight miles north of our Green River warehouse.

Sample Itinerary

The night before your trip:

Please plan to attend a pre-trip meeting at our Green River, Utah, warehouse at 7:00 p.m. Mountain Time. A Holiday staffer will give you your waterproof bags, a brief orientation on how to pack and prepare for the flight, and let you know what time to meet in the morning (typically 6:15 a.m.). You can also pick up any last minute items from our store at this time (look over our packing checklist to see what we carry).

Day 1:

Meet back at our warehouse bright and early for the quick ride over to the Green River airstrip. Planes from Red Tail Aviation will be waiting to fly you up the river to the remote airstrip. Your guides and instructor will meet you at the airstrip and lead you on an easy, 45-minute hike down to the river and the rafts. From there, it’s river time!

On the first day, your instructor will cover the following:

  • Familiarization with equipment.
  • What to expect on the trip.
  • Loosening and stretching.
  • Safety.
  • Getting in and out of the kayak.
  • Learning the forward and reverse strokes.
  • How to exit the kayak while rolled over in the water.
  • Learning the sweep stroke.
  • How to enter and exit eddies (back current on the river).

Day 2:

We’ll keep floating downstream and hit the first few rapids of the trip. We may stop and check out a scenic side canyon or petroglyph panel. Keep practicing your kayak skills, enjoy lunch on the river, and paddle in to one of Desolation’s famous cottonwood groves for our evening camp.


  • Learn various types of braces.
  • Learn how to read the river.
  • What to do in rapids.
  • How to ferry across the river.
  • Learn the draw stroke.
  • Learn sculling.
  • Begin learning how to roll.

Days 3, 4, and 5:

The scenery and the rapids just get better as we go. Explore an old homestead and look for more archaeological artifacts left behind by the Fremont Culture.


  • Continue practicing the same skills introduced on Day 2, but in more depth and detail.
  • Strive to improve in each of the various areas and execute each skill more automatically.

Day 6:

One more day to hone your skills and soak up the magic of the river. In addition to playing in the rapids and going over items learned throughout the trip, we’ll get to explore one last cultural site before taking out at the foot of Gunnison Butte at Swasey’s Beach. Our vans will be waiting to carry you and all the gear back to our Green River warehouse, a 15-minute drive.

Desolation Canyon Kayak Workshop Andy Boaters


Still not convinced? See what others are saying.

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Holiday River Expeditions
Average rating:  
 6 reviews
 by Michael Walker

The trip was a unique adventure and provided excellent recreation for the time on the water. The guides were helpful and informative as to the country we were seeing and the scope and demands of the trip. The food was excellent and the quantities were great. We all seemed to bond well and that made for an enjoyable trip. I wish we could have spent more days on the water. I did most of the trip in the kayak provided. I really enjoyed shooting the rapids and felt confident in my guides letting me know the conditions of the water, and the places to go to be sure we're all safe.

 by Pete Litz

Very much so! Really appreciated Karen's help in getting Sam Watson assigned to the trip. I love his photos!! I brought my own equipment, but my nephew rented a complete camping kit and it was great. A few more hikes to see more pictograph panels would have been nice, but our group size was large and the flow low, so I understand why we skipped them. I've been on 8 river trips and the Deso kayak workshop is my all time favorite. Can't beat the scenery, the exercise, the food, or the company. As long as I'm healthy enough to paddle it, I'll keep doing it.

 by David Hands

My Wife and I did this trip and were thoroughly impressed!! It was challenging and very rewarding. Tired each day but slept very well. The equipment and staff were great. We ate well and were looked after. Highly recommended and would return. We traveled from Australia to do the trip!!

 by Robert Evans

The guides were absolutely fantastic. Our trip leader, Ellie was extremely competent, knowledgeable and friendly.The other guides, Emma, Sam and Jack were all excellent as well. The beauty of Desolation Canyon and the sense of wildness cannot be adequately described. The trip provided a perfect balance of activity and rest. The range of things encountered, including wildlife, petroglyphs, an abandoned western ranch, spectacular scenery and exciting white water was wonderful. Plus the extended trip provided a wonderful opportunity to get to know people from as far away as Australia, to as close as Utah. The food was exceptional, and the guides were super nice and very efficient in setting up camp, cooking, cleaning up, and loading out in the mornings. I could not have asked for a better trip.

 by John Tokarz

We had a great time! I turned 60 on this trip and was able to spend time with my daughter Kim, her husband Ro and my son Allen. This was our 2nd trip with Holiday and our guides were Brin, Sam and Trevor. They were phenomenal and were just as good at cooking gourmet meals as Lauren and Molly were on our 1st trip.

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