Retro River Rafting on the Yampa River with Roy Webb

Sierra cups, Chuck Taylors, cut-off jean shorts and more! There are so many unique quirks that are iconic of the ‘golden era’ of rafting, the years when Holiday River Expeditions founder Dee Holladay started his business. There are some things we have changed since those days for the better: propane stoves for reliable cooking, waist-high tables, buckets and bags instead of rocket boxes, fire pits and blankets to clean up after ourselves, and many Leave No Trace policies, instituted in part with experimentation by and help from Dee. But we figured that some of those vintage touches would be fun to bring back for one trip only in 2020. Take a journey back through time with us on the glorious Yampa River and find a taste of what boating was like back in the 70s. To top it all off, Roy Webb, the authority on river history, will be joining us to bring the past back to life. 

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Trip Overview

  • Type:


  • Location:

    Yampa River - Dinosaur National Monument

  • Length:

    5 Days

  • Dates:

    June 5-9, 2020

  • Meet at:

    Vernal, UT @ 8:00am

  • Difficulty:


  • Min. Age:


  • Deposit:



  • Truly wild rapids fed by seasonal snow melt
  • Endless winding bends of dramatic striped canyon walls
  • Abundant wildlife in a beautiful and healthy ecosystem
  • Many inflatable kayak-friendly rapids
  • Float through seldom-seen corners of Dinosaur National Monument
  • See the Milky Way in this International Dark Sky Park
Getting Here Before You Go Packing List

Rates & Dates

5 Day

  • Adult:
  • $1,130
  • Youth:
    18 and under
  • $1,130
  • Senior:
    65 and older
  • $1,130
  • Group:
    10 or more
  • $1,130
Book This Trip
Check Availability
  • June
  • 5


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.

Typical 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:

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 3:

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 4:

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!

Our five-day Yampa River trip follows the same general itinerary with minor changes depending on campsites and water flows. Your second day may not yet find you at an ancestral site but rather on a hike to a stunning overlook or historic cave. On the third day your route will begin to resemble the four-day itinerary more closely.


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