The Holiday Way

“The Holiday Way” is the ethos we live by professionally and beyond. While it’s difficult to explain, it’s simple to grasp, and it all started with our founders Dee and Sue Holladay. They built their company with a foundation of passion, mindfulness, and efficiency. They followed their hearts into the rivers and canyons of the Southwest, knowing that in doing so they had a responsibility to preserve the integrity of those wild places and the individuals who came along on their trips.

The Holiday Way is to go with the flow. It’s to exist with humility and to be uncompromising in our ethics. It’s celebrating the rain as much as the sun, singing with the ravens as well as the wrens, and appreciating the languid current as much as the whitewater. It’s taking the utmost pride in our endeavors and doing things right the first time.

Nothing embodies the Holiday Way quite like our boats. They are thoughtfully designed with the safety and comfort of our guests in mind. Without the aid of a motor, they move downstream by way of river current and oar power, man and nature working together with synergy. When you see a group of them on the water, they stay close, with our well-trained guides looking out for each other and leaving space for others.

After more than 55 years, Holiday remains a family-owned and operated company striving to embody the Holiday Way ethos at every step. We are proud to be defined by it. As Dee liked to say, “You have to go to know,” and we’re more than happy to take you there.

The Guides


You’ll be well taken care of. Our guides are the best in the business, and are trained in river and backcountry safety as well as first aid. They’re all exciting individuals, experts in everything from rowing a rapid to sharing a good story. They take having fun seriously and will inform, entertain, and engage you in a variety of ways. They’ll also show you their favorite places: a short walk up a side canyon to a private waterfall, a view from a cliff overlooking what seems to be the entire world, or sleeping under the stars on a soft, sandy beach. Part of what sets our guides apart is our annual training – we cover everything from interp and Leave No Trace to inclusivity on and off the river. This shows up in all of our trips from classic trips to our specialty and affinity trips.

Yampa River Guides Store Boats

The Gear & Camping


Holiday River Expeditions provides worry-free access to spectacular wilderness areas—and we do it in style. Whether on a raft or a mountain bike, we offer the best gear in the industry. As you watch the other companies pass by, you’ll be pleased you picked an organized outfitter that keeps all equipment in tip-top shape. In camp the efficiency and organization continues. We cover all of the details: a streamlined kitchen with a well-thought-out trash system; a common area complete with a hand-picked library, chairs, and a table for drinks, water, and appetizers; portable toilets set up in a beautiful and private area; and hand washing stations to boot!

Yampa River Boats Gear and Camping

The Feast


Omelets made to order, crispy bacon, deli sandwiches, dutch-oven lasagna, French toast, fajitas, cowboy coffee, and homemade desserts: you’ve never eaten so well in the wilderness! Since 1966, Sue Holladay has used her river running and cooking experience to design menus that accommodate everyone’s tastes and dietary needs. It’s not just the abundance of fresh air and scenery that makes the food taste so good. We work hard to source ingredients and plan meals that are healthy, flavorful, and varied. You won’t eat the same meal twice. Our menus can also be adjusted to meet most dietary restrictions as long as we know about them ahead of time.

Big Drop Omelettes

At Your Service


It may be old fashioned to receive personalized service, but that’s what you can expect when booking your Holiday River Expeditions trip. No automated phone menus here. Karen, Lauren, Natalie, and Jesse are real, live people in our office, ready to answer your call or respond to your email. With over 50 years of collective experience, they know what they’re talking about, and will take the time to share their knowledge with you. They get out of the office often to enjoy our trips or find new outdoor adventures. It’s this perspective that allows them to listen to you and help you find the best trip for you or your family or group. When it’s all said and done, their experience outside the office is most valuable when they share it with you!

At Your Service Crew

Our History


It only took one river trip with a friend to convert Dee Holladay into a man who lived for running rivers. Luckily for him, his wife, Sue, was willing to be a part of the journey. For nearly 50 years, Dee and Sue worked as an inseparable team, building their family company into a business that continues to lead the industry in innovation and environmental stewardship. Dee passed away in 2015, but his legacy (and Sue!) continue to influence everything that Holiday does—and everything that we stand for.

Our History Guides 50th

The Environment


Holiday River Expeditions was founded on the hopes of a dreamer, Dee Holladay, who saw the rivers we run not simply as a resource around which to build a business, but as a gateway allowing us to tap into something bigger than ourselves. That solid grounding gave Holiday an active land ethic that has guided our mission, our policies, our advocacy, and our everyday practices ever since. We are lucky to navigate rivers that many consider not merely beautiful but sacred, and so we respect them as such. Like a river’s pulsing current, Holiday will persistently move forward, on the current’s leading edge, to ensure we have rapids to run for generations to come.

Yampa River Whitewater Scenery Snee



We’re proud of our accomplishments as a company and the individual accomplishments of our team members. National Geographic’s Ultimate Adventure Sourcebook independently ranked Holiday River Expeditions as a five-star outfitter—one of only two rafting companies in their international listings to achieve five-star status. Dee and Sue Holladay have also been recognized multiple times for their outstanding contributions to river conservation and to safe operations.

Awards Cataract Canyon Environment