Retro River Rafting through Lodore Canyon 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 a 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?

We probably won’t go quite that retro. However, this trip is 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. What’s more – we’re bringing along Roy Webb, renowned river historian, to teach us all a thing or two about those who came before us.


Retro River Roy Webb Smiling

To top it all off, we’re doing this Retro Rafting Trip through Lodore Canyon on the Green River – a place with oodles of river history around every bend. Let Roy regale you with tales of boaters of yore. Lodore contains countless living stories. Visit cultural sites from the Fremont indigenous culture, hear stories about the early Euro-Americans gallivanting around this area, and of course, learn about John Wesley Powell, a one-armed Civil War veteran, who mapped the canyons of the Green River. Powell’s names dot the landscape: Disaster Falls, Echo Park, Whirlpool Canyon, and Lodore itself. Modern history also provides inspirational tales of the people who fought to preserve these canyons for the enjoyment of future generations.

But don’t fret! There’s also plenty of time for simply relaxing as we float downstream. Holiday’s professional guides take care of all the cooking and logistics, leaving you free to reconnect with friends or family. Enjoy four days without the bustle and hum of the modern world. Tune out the electronic din from home and roll back in time with this Retro River Rafting excursion through Lodore Canyon!

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

Curious what you might learn from Roy Webb? Check out his stories on KZMU’s History Hour.

Book This Trip

Trip Overview

  • Type:


  • Location:

    Green River-Dinosaur National Monument

  • Length:

    4 Days

  • Dates:

    June 1-4, 2024

  • Meet at:

    Vernal, UT @ 7:00 p.m. the night before the trip

  • Difficulty:


  • Min. Age:


  • Deposit:



  • Renowned river historian Roy Webb shares his tales of boating history
  • Fun, technical Class II-IV rapids, including Hells Half Mile
  • Spot bald eagles, big horn sheep, and osprey
  • 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


The Green River lazily glides through the imposing Gates of Lodore, picking up speed through the heart of Dinosaur National Monument, before meeting the Yampa River at Echo Park, and dropping 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

The night before your trip, meet your party at 7:00 p.m., Mountain Time at our Vernal headquarters for a pre-trip orientation meeting. Pick up your waterproof bags, drop off personal drinks, and learn more about what to expect on the river. You can also 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).

Day 1:

Settle in for our three-hour drive from Vernal to the put-in at Browns Park National Wildlife Refuge. Watch for raptors and pronghorns along the road. Your guides will load the rafts into the water and then we’re off! 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. Gather ’round camp in the evening as Roy regalls stories of past adventures.

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:

Bask in the peaceful morning sun as we meander throuhg 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.

This is simply 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 Cindy Cappelle

I am older and a very slow walker. The guides were amenable to me walking and once Cloud slowed her steps to match mine and let me lead. It meant a lot to me not to be left at the end to fend for myself.
Another special treat was having Sherpa play his flute for us in the cave, as we boarded our boats and as a wake up call. Absolutely added to the trip .
I felt the staff went out of their way to cater to the passengers.

 by Diana Banks

Guides and meals were awesome!!
It was a fabulous trip and made new friends. Very tranquil