Lodore Canyon Stargazing Trip

Stargazing trips in Lodore Canyon combine the best of the day with the splendors of the night. Float straight through the heart of Dinosaur National Monument, an International Dark Sky Park. Lodore provides visitors with the opportunity to experience a quality of dark sky that exists only in isolated pockets in remote corners of the United States.

During the day, we’ll navigate translucent blue-green water through class II–IV rapids. We’ll hike through dark red cliffs and lounge on white, sandy beaches. At night, we’ll watch the sky come alive. See the Milky Way rise in a brilliant arc. Spot satellites and meteors, learn the stories of the constellations, and seek out the Andromeda Galaxy, both with binoculars and naked eyes. We time our stargazing trips to coincide with the new moon for maximum darkness, and we bring along our resident star expert, Tom Beckett, to guide our eyes. Our Lodore Canyon stargazing trips are truly unforgettable experiences.

Want to learn more about this out-of-this-world trip? Check out our new blog!

Vernal, Utah: Things to Do and Places to Explore

Featured Review:

“This trip was excellent. The scenery was amazing; I was constantly craning my neck to take in the views of colorful cliffs and ever-changing rock formations. I was surprised at the variety of wildlife we saw: bighorn sheep drinking from the river just yards from our boat, deer wandering through camp, geese swimming alongside us, and flying right overhead. Also, I loved the inflatable kayaks. Paddling alongside the rafts and playing in the rapids was a highlight. The food was unbelievable: appetizers and freshly made gourmet food for every meal. On top of all this, we had three exceptional guides who made the trip what it was.” (Jeremy Peterson)

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Trip Overview

  • Type:


  • Location:

    Lodore Canyon - Dinosaur National Monument

  • Length:

    4 Days

  • Dates:

    June 28-July 1, 2022

  • Meet at:

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

  • Difficulty:


  • Min. Age:


  • Deposit:



  • Camp within the darkest reaches of an International Dark Sky Park
  • Learn from Holiday's resident astronomy expert
  • Exhilarating Class III & IV whitewater rapids
  • Brilliantly exposed and highly varied geology
  • Soft sandy beaches for camping & games
Getting Here Before You Go Packing List FAQs

Rates & Dates

4 Days

  • Adult:
  • $1,110
  • Youth:
    18 and under
  • $1,110
  • Senior:
    65 and older
  • $1,110
  • Group:
    10 or more
  • $1,110
Book This Trip
Check Availability
  • June 28-July 1


The Green River carves its way into Lodore Canyon at the north end of Dinosaur National Monument, then flows south toward its confluence with the Yampa River in the aptly named Echo Park. Here it turns west into Whirlpool Canyon, crossing the border into Utah. Island Park is the last mellow stretch before the final eight miles of rapids in Split Mountain.

Sample Itinerary

The night before your trip:

Meet at our Vernal warehouse at 7:00 p.m. (Mountain Time). We will hand out dry bags and sleep kits, collect personal drinks and tents, make introductions, answer questions, go over final trip details and make sure we’re ready to go bright and early the next morning.

Day 1:

Our day starts with a three-hour scenic van ride to Brown’s Park National Wildlife Refuge, the site of the put-in. Pass through the Gates of Lodore while rafting and encounter John Wesley Powell’s notoriously named Disaster Falls. At camp, after dinner, watch the sun fade from the walls and observe which planetary objects become visible first. Is that a star, or a planet?

Day 2:

Dark, red walls of billion-year-old rock tower above us as we float deeper into the canyon. Look for big horn sheep and osprey in between rapids. Today we’ll run some of the most exciting rapids of the trip, including Harp Falls, the narrowest part of the canyon. After lunch, relax on the beach or hike to the Rippling Brook waterfall, or take a nap, the better to stay up late and watch the rise of the Milky Way and learn about our cosmos.

Day 3:

The geology changes this morning as we leave Lodore Canyon and enter the blonde sandstone of Echo Park, where the Green and Yampa rivers meet. Count how many times your voice echos back to you, then enjoy a hike to 800-year-old rock art. We’ll pass through the dramatic Mitten Park Fault and camp somewhere within Whirlpool Canyon. Use binoculars or a telescope to hunt for the Andromeda Galaxy or the Beehive Nebula.

Day 4:

 A few splashy rapids will be our send-off as we exit Whirlpool Canyon and float into Island and Rainbow parks. The river meanders through groves of cottonwood trees and sculpted sandstone before entering yet another colorful gorge. Split Mountain is our grand finale as we follow the Green River through the heart of the mountain, running Moonshine, SOB, School Boy, and Inglesby rapids. We’ll have lunch on the river, then make our way to the Split Mountain boat ramp and our take-out point. It’s a 35-minute ride back to Vernal. We usually anticipate our return to headquarters at 4:00 p.m.

This is only a sample itinerary, intended to provide a general idea of what to expect from your river trip. It is not an exact description of what you will experience. Holiday’s motto is “Go With the Flow”, and we invite you to embrace the expeditionary nature of a wilderness river trip. Keep an open mind and enjoy your own unique adventure!

Lodore Canyon Rocky Rowing Whitewater

Every river trip we run is a one-of-a-kind adventure. Our itineraries vary depending on the interests of the group, the campsites we are assigned, weather, and other unpredictable elements. This is one possible itinerary for a four-day stargazing trip through Lodore Canyon.


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Holiday River Expeditions
Average rating:  
 7 reviews
 by Jenny and Todd Welch

I wish the guides would have let us jump in the river to cool off more often. What a great family activity! Every family should try a

multi-day river trip!

 by Rana and Brian Dershowitz

The Holiday experience continues to shine. Great food, knowledgeable, fun, and engaging guides, amazing logistical support, and interesting guests. What more could you ask for! We love Holiday!! Everything about their trips is top-notch - from the friendly, knowledgeable guides to the food to the fun! We hope to make it an annual family outing

 by Dennis and Mary Diligent

Great experience! Our guides were fantastic and the food was


 by Tessa Smith

The guides were amazing, filled with knowledge, felt safe with them, and made it fun. The guides took care of us and made us feel safe, while filling us with knowledge of our surrounding area. The food was so good, I wasn’t expecting that quality of food. Overall great trip!!

 by Helena Virga

The guides were 100% the best part of this trip. All of them were so knowledgeable, friendly, helpful, and overall incredible. The way they spoke about environmental stewardship of the land, about the indigenous tribes, watershed systems, geology, etc. was astounding. They made our trip the best rafting experience of all time, and I would love to come back again. The food was gourmet, the transportation was adequate, and the activities were great. Having the ducky to ride was wonderful, getting to row the boat, and the hike to the waterfall was fun as well. The library of books to read through and the games for night time were great to have. My only suggestion would be to suggest a game that everyone can play together more often. The whip cream game was fun but only lasted a few minutes. I think people really enjoy interacting, but don't know how to start the process. I would love to come back over and over again, and am even considering learning how to become a guide myself!

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