Retro River Rafting on the Yampa River with Roy Webb

Retro river rafting? Is this just some kind of alliterative joke? Does that mean we’re going to be running rapids with bucket boats and cooking over fire? Just how retro are we going? Back to the days of John Wesley Powell’s heavy oak boats? Or way back to the time when mountain men were trapping beavers in buffalo boats?

Okay, well, we probably won’t be going quite that retro. But this trip will be a bit of an homage to the founders of this crazy river rafting thing that we all love. We’ll probably lace up our Chuck Taylors, hike up our cut-off jean shorts, dust off the Sierra cups and drink a toast to the people like Dee Holladay, who made a trip like this possible. And we’re bringing along Roy Webb, renowned river historian, to teach us all a thing or two about those who came before us.

To top it all off, we’re doing this retro river rafting thing on the Yampa River, the one river that still behaves much as it did back in the “golden era” of rafting. Still unregulated by dams, still free-flowing, the Yampa in June is as wild as they come. Join us for this very special trip back in time.

Learn more about the WILD Yampa River: read our Insider’s Guide here.

Featured Review:

” I appreciate the guides’ enthusiasm for sharing this experience with us and teaching about the Yampa. They were always eager to answer questions and lead hikes despite all of their hard work manning the rafts and wrangling us guests. We were treated to multiple wildlife sightings as well–more bighorn sheep than I have ever seen, bald eagles, a golden eagle, mule deer, song birds, humming birds. The geology of the Yampa, Whirlpool canyon, and Split Mountain are fascinating. And don’t forget the stars! Our trip was made so much richer by river historian Roy Webb who joined us. Each evening, Roy would give us the history of the river section we had just completed and cover a topic such as the Powell Expeditions or the Echo Park dam project. I highly recommend adventuring with Holiday, especially on one of their “special interest” departures with a life-long historian and passionate river runner like Roy.” (Diantha Williamson)

Book This Trip

Trip Overview

  • Type:


  • Location:

    Yampa River - Dinosaur National Monument

  • Length:

    5 Days

  • Dates:

    June 3–7, 2022

  • Meet at:

    Vernal, UT @ 8:00 am

  • Difficulty:


  • Min. Age:


  • Deposit:



  • Learn about river history with Roy Webb
  • Experience a truly wild, unregulated river
  • Many inflatable kayak-friendly rapids
  • Float through seldom-seen corners of Dinosaur National Monument
Getting Here Before You Go Packing List FAQs

Rates & Dates

5 Day

  • Adult:
  • $1,205
  • Youth:
    18 and under
  • $1,205
  • Senior:
    65 and older
  • $1,205
  • Group:
    10 or more
  • $1,205
Book This Trip
Check Availability
2022 (pending NPS approval)
  • June 3-7


The Yampa runs from east to west, out of the mountains near Steamboat Springs, Colorado, and races downhill toward its confluence with the Green River at Echo Park in Dinosaur National Monument. Along the way, it runs through some fun whitewater and some absolutely gorgeous canyon scenery.

Sample Itinerary

Day 1:

Please arrive at Holiday’s headquarters in Vernal, Utah, at 8:00 a.m., Mountain Time. We will issue your waterproof bags, show you how to pack them, and give you time to buy any last minute items from our on-site store (see our packing checklist for items you can find at our store). From Vernal, it’s a 90-minute van ride to the put-in at Deerlodge Park in Colorado. After preparing the rafts and getting you oriented, we’ll push off and begin to move on river time. We’ll enter Yampa Canyon almost immediately, and encounter several fun, splashy rapids. Lunch may be on a beach near a historic cabin. Make camp and fall asleep to the sound of rushing water.

Day 2:

We’ll run some good rapids today, including Teepee and Big Joe. The canyon walls continue to rise above us, and by mid-day we’ll start to see the white Weber sandstone, for which the Yampa is famous. Spend the afternoon hiking to the top of Wagon Wheel Point, a strenuous but worthwhile climb to a high point overlooking the lower canyon walls.

Day 3:

Hike to a wide cave where ancient indigenous people left signs of their presence. Follow the river’s entrenched meanders past the 1,200-foot Grand Overhang. Listen for the screech of hunting peregrine falcons that nest on the canyon rim. Carefully kiss the Tiger Wall: it’s sure to bring good luck for your run through Warm Springs Rapid, the biggest of the trip.

Day 4:

This morning may include a silent float as we approach the confluence with the Green River at Echo Park. Dip your toes into the place where the rivers meet and watch the different colored-water flow side by side for a surprising distance. The geology changes dramatically as we float through the Mitten Park Fault and into Whirlpool Canyon. Spend the afternoon at Jones Hole Creek: fishing, hiking, petroglyphs, big horn sheep, and waterfalls are all possibilities.

Day 5:

Choose to paddle an inflatable kayak through the last several miles of calm water in Island Park. We’ll follow the river as it makes a sharp left turn and cuts its way into the aptly named Split Mountain. The river drops an average of almost 20 feet per mile for the last eight miles. Enjoy your last several rapids before we pause for lunch and finally arrive at the boat ramp. We’ll load the boats and then transport you the final 35 minutes back to our warehouse in Vernal. We typically plan to arrive back at our headquarters by approximately 4:00 p.m.

Please remember that this is a sample itinerary, not an exact description of your trip. Our goal is simply to give you an overview of what the trip may entail. We invite you to embrace the inherent changeability of a wilderness river trip and come prepared to have fun and go with the flow!

We say the Yampa is WILD, and it is. Each trip will be different depending on weather, the interests of our passengers, assigned campsites, and the need to be considerate of other river users. This is a sample itinerary; your trip may consist of different hikes or attractions, or you may do exactly what’s described here! And either way, it’ll be a great time. Enjoy, and don’t forget to go with the flow.


Still not convinced? See what others are saying.

Submit your review

Create your own review

Holiday River Expeditions
Average rating:  
 1 reviews
by Peter & Colleen Gowen on Holiday River Expeditions

Well run trip by competent guides who clearly enjoyed what they were doing.