Pixels, Paint, & Prose through Lodore Canyon

The Green River through the Gates of Lodore is the perfect introduction to a backcountry river trip. Featuring four days of moderate rapids, idyllic beaches, and fascinating side hikes, Lodore offers a little bit of everything. There’s nowhere else quite like Lodore Canyon, and while we love being present in the moment and soaking up all these experiences, it’s also nice to have a way to keep such brilliant memories alive. That’s where Chris, Francisco, and Brett come in. Experience several storytelling media: pixels, paint, and prose, or choose your favorite and hone in on it over the course of four days in the riveting and remote Lodore Canyon located in the heart of Dinosaur National Monument.  

Enjoy your days on the river as your guides navigate you through exciting whitewater, or perhaps, take a more active approach and try out an inflatable kayak through stretches of calm water, or moderate whitewater rapids. Once we arrive at camp, options to hike and swim are plentiful, and still leave time for relaxation and practinc a new artform. Take time at camp to practice (or learn!) mixed media plein air painting skills, guided by Chris Peterson you’ll explore the sensations of your river experience with mixed media art making workshops along the way. Take home a new painting to memorialize your trip. After you’ve painted your day, elevate your prose with some guidance from Brett Prettyman, esteemed writer and river advoate. As dark settles, allow Francisco Kjolseth to guide your eyes above to vast night sky. Take in the breadth of Milky Way as you’ve never seen before. With Francisco’s eye towards documentary photography, explore the joy and wonder of being in a beautiful landsape and capturing this vast and wild place.

Holidays professional guides will handle all the logistics, navigate you through the river, and of course, provide delicious, riverfront, meals! All you have to do is kick back and enjoy the wondrous world around you!

Pixels, Paint, or Prose – how will you memorialize your Lodore Canyon Trip?

About our facilitators:

Chris Peterson Chris Peterson – Chris Peterson is a Utah-based artist and river advocate. Chris worked for 15 years in nonprofit, public and education sectors in diverse roles focused around engagement, conservation science and education He holds a BFA from BYU and an MPA and M.S in Environmental Humanities; both from the University of Utah. He is cofounder of Utah Wildlife Walls, with the goal of installing at least one wildlife mural in each of Utah’s 29 counties. Chris’ work focuses primarily on nature and wildlife as inspiration. His studio and mural work enlist a mixed-media layered process with imagination built into the layers of art making.

Francisco KjolsethFrancisco Kjolseth – Born in Mexico City and raised in both Mexico and Colorado, Francisco Kjolseth gained a love of photography from his father, and has worked as a photojournalist for over 30 years covering news and events from Detroit to Mexico to South America. For the past 20-years he has called Utah home as a staff photographer for the Salt Lake Tribune with a primary interest in covering the outdoors and environmental issues affecting our planet today. That being said, he is happiest in a remote place with a very dark sky.
Brett PrettymanBrett Prettyman started working at The Salt Lake Tribune while a communications student at the University of Utah. During his 25 years at the Tribune Brett covered a wide variety of sports, including the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, but worked primarily as the outdoors/environment editor and columnist. He left the paper in 2015 to join Trout Unlimited, a national non-profit conservation group, as a national communications director. He focused on three national Trout Unlimited programs: Western Water and Habitat; TU Science; and the Headwaters youth initiatives.

Brett is the author of Fishing UtahBest Day Hikes in Capitol Reef, and Hiking Utah’s High Uintas. He won two Emmy Awards for his work as the writer/producer/host on the Utah Bucket List television program on KUED – two of the trips in the show were with Holiday. He has been a member of the Outdoor Writers Association of America since 1992 and is a past board member and president of the organization. Brett won more than 40 OWAA awards, including the President’s Choice Award for a two-part story on Salt Lake climber Kyle Dempster. He also collected more than two dozen two Associated Press awards through the years.

Brett currently serves as chair of the executive board for Reel Recovery, a national nonprofit that provides free fly-fishing retreats for men with cancer, and as chair of the board for the Utah Wildlife Federation. Brett lives in Salt Lake City with his wife, Brooke, and three children, William, Lucie, and Owen.


Check out our Insider’s Guide to Lodore Canyon to learn more.

Book This Trip

Trip Overview

  • Type:


  • Location:

    Green River-Dinosaur National Monument

  • Length:

    4 Days

  • Dates:

    September 6-9, 2024

  • Meet at:

    Vernal, UT @ 7:00 pm (night before the trip), and 7:00 am day of trip

  • Difficulty:


  • Min. Age:


  • Prices:

    $1,495 + $12 park entrance fee

  • Deposit:



  • Fun, technical rapids ranging from Class II-IV
  • Prime wildlife sightings including bald eagles, big horn sheep, and osprey
  • Guidance in trying new art media: pixels, paint, & prose
  • Fully supported wilderness trip with gourmet food and professional guides
  • Experience the canyons of Dinosaur National Monument
Getting Here Before You Go Packing List FAQs

Rates & Dates


Shortly after launching from Browns Park Gates of Lodore into the heart of Dinosaur National Monument, meets the Yampa River at Echo Park, then slices into Whirlpool Canyon to reach the idyllic Island Park. From there, enjoy eight more miles of rapids as the river carves its way through Split Mountain before washing up at the takeout.

Sample Itinerary

Day 1:

Meet your party at our headquarters in Vernal, Utah at 7:00 a.m., Mountain Time. There we will issue your waterproof bags and you can 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). 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.

Day 2:

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. As the canyon narrows, more rapids emerge: Harp Falls, Triplet Falls, and Hell’s Half Mile. Hike at Rippling Brook and discover a secluded waterfall.

Day 3:

At the confluence of the Green and Yampa rivers at Echo Park, the canyon widens before the river circles Steamboat Rock. Here the river 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:

Peaceful morning in Island and Rainbow parks before entering another massive gorge. The Green’s powerful forces cut laterally through Split Mountain’s uplifted and colorful core. Rapids abound before the take out and a 35-minute ride back to Vernal. Our expected time of arrival back at our headquarters is about 4:00 p.m, where your Lodore Canyon rafting adventure will come to an end.

As mentioned earlier, this is a sample itinerary and should not be thought of as the trip you will experience. It is intended to give an idea of what the trip will be like. It could also be exactly what you do. Keep an open mind, be flexible, go with the flow, and enjoy!

Pictographs Lodore Naturalist

The best part of a river trip is how flexible the daily itinerary can be. Trips vary depending on group desires, assigned campsites, river flows, and our unpredictable Mother: Nature. This sample itinerary illustrates a four-day trip through Lodore Canyon.


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Holiday River Expeditions
Average rating:  
 2 reviews
 by Grady Kearney

This was my first rafting trip. It was a big step to dive in head first for a 4 day trip. I didn't really know what to expect. My friend and I had been talking about it for nearly 15 years. Everything went phenomenally well. The guides handled everyting along the way, navigation, education, setting up for 3 well chosen meals each day. They became real friends.

The Gates of Lodore was a spectacular trip. Words really can't describe how incredible it was. We traversed through calm waters and rapids. Towards the end, I jumped in a "duckie" for the time of my life navigating through 8 miles of rapids heavier than we encountered through the whole trip to end at Split Mountain. It's a story to tell for a lifetime. I've shared it with my adventurer daughters. They are excited about it now too. I can't thank the guides enough for their exceptional warmth, knowledge and hospitality.

 by Beverly Jean Lopez

Great trip. The guides are the best. They took care and entertained the whole group. Very informative about the river and canyon. Loved the trip.