Yampa River Stargazing, Rafting & Camping Trip


About This Trip


The Yampa River Stargazing trip will be a true highlight of our starry eyed trip series. For the first time, we are pairing our Stargazing trip series with the wild untrammeled canyons of the Yampa River.  Un-damned and unfettered, the Yampa shows its visitors what a true wild river feels like. With a natural flood cycle carrying you downstream through patina striped canyons the biodiversity, native species & rich cultural history of this area will create the perfect context for a departure from the busy modern world. What better place to reconnect with possibly the most human experience of them all, looking up at a truly dark sky & seeing the impossibly detailed glow of nothing but star-light and cosmos?  With our astro-wiz along for the ride, your sure to take away much more than photographs, but a once in a lifetime experience.

The Yampa River is your quintessential Dark Sky wilderness trip.  In the heart of Dinosaur National Monument the Yampa River runs wild and free, unregulated by dams.  Spring run off in May and June offer exciting rapids by day and piercingly dark sky canopies by night.  Spend your days exploring side hikes to rock art, waterfalls and ancient sacred sites along with consistent whitewater fun.  In the evenings let your mind expand into the universe around us. Using both binoculars and the naked eye, this trip will explore the Milky Way, see the Andromeda Galaxy, watch satellites and meteors, and learn constellations.

Trip Overview


Location: Yampa River - Dinosaur National Monument
Type: Rafting/ Naturalist
Length: 5 Days
Dates: June 12-16, 2020
Meet At: Vernal, UT 8:00 AM
Rating: Intermediate
Age Min: 8
Deposit: $300


  • Unbridled rapids fed from uninterrupted snow melt
  • Endless winding bends of dramatic striped canyon walls
  • Abundant wildlife in an distinctly healthy ecosystem
  • Numerous hidden treasures & points of interest through this historic canyon.
  • Enjoy stargazing in Dinosaur National Monuments designated dark sky

Trip Price & Departure Date



$1,130 per person

*$22 NPS Fees per person.

2020 Trip Schedule

June 12-16, 2020

Trip Slideshow


Full Gallery



The Yampa River ushers in the true wild heartbeat of the whole Colorado River system. We join its currents at Deerlodge Park and ride its waves till the confluence of the Green River; from there we meander through historic Whirlpool Canyon, Island Park and the final crescendo of Split Mountain, taking out at Split Mountain Boat Ramp at the southern boundary of Dinosaur National Monument.



One of the advantages of a river trip is the flexibility of the daily itinerary.  It can vary widely from one trip to the next based on group desires, Mother Nature, and courtesy for other groups on the river.  This typical itinerary illustrates a four-day trip on the Yampa River.  In June, we lengthen the Yampa trip by one day and follow this general itinerary.

Day 1:  Meet party at headquarters in Vernal, Utah  (8:00 a.m., Mountain Time). We will issue your waterproof bags.  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). before transport to put-in at Deerlodge Park in Colorado.  The Yampa's speedy flow takes you over many miles and abundant rapids.

Day 2:  Visit indigenous ancestral sites, after the Yampa meanders past such attractions as The Grand Overhang, Cleopatra's Couch and Tiger Wall.  A heavy flash flood in 1965 down Warm Springs Draw choked the Yampa with boulders, forming the river's largest rapid.

Day 3:  The Yampa joins the Green River at Echo Park where 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 waterfall.

Day 4:  Peaceful morning in Island and Rainbow Park 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.

On a 5-day Yampa trip you will follow the same river-currents as on a 4 day with minor changes. Your second day may not yet find you at an ancestral site but rather a stunning overlook hike or possibly an idyllic cave viewpoint. Your 3rd day would drift you back on course into much of the same schedule as the 4-day itinerary.

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!


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Holiday River Expeditions
Average rating:  
 1 reviews
by Shawn & Heather O'Kane on Holiday River Expeditions

The guides and food were so much better than expected!!! Thank you! It was the perfect introduction to a multi-night rafting trip! The food was beyond what we had hoped for. The guides were thoughtful and very friendly!