Green River Kayaking Trips in Utah

The 2024 Workshop is full. We’ll be planning 2025 soon!

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. Professional kayaking instructors provide the instruction and all the kayaking equipment. Furthermore, Holiday guides manage logistics, provide kayak support, and prepare gourmet meals while you practice paddling, rolling, and running rapids. Our six-day itinerary allows time to hike 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 ease 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)


Got some extra time in town? Check out our favorite spots! Green River, Utah: Things to Do and Places to Explore

The Núu-agha-tʉvʉ-pʉ̱ (Ute) people’s traditional homeland encompasses the Green River as it flows through Desolation and Grey Canyons. The east side of Desolation and Gray Canyons is bordered by the Uintah and Ouray Reservation as the Ute People continue protecting the land and river. Holiday acknowledges and respects the long history of these traditional inhabitants. We appreciate our own long-standing relationship with the present-day tribe. Learn more about our land acknowledgments here.
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Trip Overview

  • Type:


  • Location:

    Desolation Canyon - Green River Wilderness

  • Length:

    6 Days

  • Dates:

    August 5-10, 2024 - FULL

  • Meet at:

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

  • Difficulty:


  • Min. Age:


  • Prices:

    $1,835 + $40 BLM fee

  • Deposit:



  • Kayak all of Desolation Canyon!
  • Learn a new skill and stay active on 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


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 day before your trip:

There are a few considerations when planning your arrival in Green River, Utah ahead of your river trip departure. If you have any bulky gear beyond our standard large and small river bags, please drop that gear and any personal beverages off at our headquarters no later than 12 PM Mountain Time the day before your departure.  The scenic flight to our remote put-in, while striking, has limitations for extra baggage. Rest assured your belongings will be safely shuttled to the put in with your river guides.

Please plan to attend the pre-trip meeting at our Green River, Utah warehouse at 7:00 p.m. Mountain Time. A Holiday employee 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 drive 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 instructors will meet you at the airstrip and lead you on a stunning 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).

Your Holiday guides will provide lead and sweep raft support for the group as well as handle all the logistics – keeping you well energized and nourished for a solid first day of paddling! Camp will allow you time to stretch, rest, and even explore a side canyon while dinner is prepared.

Day 2:

If the orange sunlight hitting the canyon walls doesn’t wake you up first, your guides’ “HOT COFFEE!” call will signal that it’s time to wipe the sleep from your eyes and start another exciting day of learning and paddling! 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. Join your guides in scouting rapids, taking opportunities to stretch the legs, and continuing to stay well-fed and energized for the paddling to come! Camps these nights will depend on river mileage, but will prioritize beaches with safe eddies to practice your kayak rolls and paddle strokes.


  • 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 base 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. Except to arrive back at the warehouse between 3:00 and 4:00pm.


This is a sample itinerary intended to give an idea of what the trip will be like. Kayak instruction will be a top priority; campsites, hikes, and cultural sites may vary. Keep an open mind, be flexible, go with the flow, and enjoy rafting Desolation Canyon!

Desolation Canyon Kayak Workshop Andy Boaters

Please note that this is a sample itinerary. Trip itineraries vary depending on availability of campsites, weather, group desires, and other unpredictable elements. That’s why we love to say, “go with the flow!”


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Holiday River Expeditions
Average rating:  
 10 reviews
 by Kendall Crosswell

So fun, and well organized! Friendly, informative guides, professional and capable! The food was great!

 by Henry Dorfman

The lead guide (Jacqueline) was very organized, upbeat, resourceful, smart, and poised, and the rest of the crew took their lead from her. Almost all went out of their way to help you promptly.

 by Michael Klier

Directly contacted Holiday, and the staff was great. All questions were answered and very helpful in terms of both information about the trip and help in planning. The equipment was great and perfect. Definitely added to having a great time. The guides were, as always, amazing. The food was outstanding and makes me want to be back on the river, and the flight into Desolation Canyon was an adventure in itself.

This is my second trip with Holiday and I look forward to a third trip with Holiday. The guides truly make the trip and everyone at Holiday is great-- not only in welcoming people from all over, but also talking about history, geology and the river. Truly a phenomenal experience from start to finish and they made my daughter, who has a gluten allergy, not feel like she was putting them out. Plus, truly welcoming group. Absolutely love Holiday and can't wait to be back.

 by Dustin & Heidi Judd

Our raft guides; Rachael, Eli, Kyle, and Abby, were awesome!! I had a blast kayaking Desolation Canyon. Andy, Tony, and Dustin with Rapid Progression were really great instructors and taught us all so much. They were very attentive and patient. They would work one on one with us as requested and as they saw the need. The food was so good (salmon and steak were perfect!), the guides were very knowledgeable about the hikes and history, and Eli was great at teaching us all about the constellations. I can’t wait to go on my next trip with Holiday.

 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.

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