Lodore Canyon River Rafting Trip

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The Lodore Canyon river rafting trip is filled with excitement and Class 4 whitewater rapids. This canyon was first explored by John Wesley Powell and his men in 1869 when they discovered the amazing beauty and grandeur of the steep rainbow colored cliffs and exhilarating Green River white water rapids.

John Wesley Powell left his mark on history by naming a few of the whitewater rapids on this river: Triplet Falls, Hells Half Mile, and Disaster Falls. Ourthrilling 44-mile river rafting vacation will start at the exquisite place called, “The Gates of Lodore”. At this location begins a series of canyons surrounded by superb vermillion cliffs. You enjoy wildlife sightings that include elk, big-horn sheep, deer, and eagles.

Over the centuries, various cultures have called the Lodore Canyon home, including the Fremont Indians. At Echo Park, we will have the opportunity to explore some of the side canyons in inflatable kayaks. On our final day, we arrive at Split Mountain Gorge. Our final day in Lodore Canyon brings us to the entrance of Split Mountain Gorge in Dinosaur National Monument.

The Lodore Canyon whitewater river rafting trip abounds with beautiful sights and sounds and fun-filled rapids. Our expert River Guides stay busy navigating down the Green River and through the Lodore Canyon. This is a memorable trip for the whole family.


  • Amazing Class IV whitewater rapids
  • Rainbow-colored canyon walls
  • Extensive wildlife
  • Inflatable kayaks to explore on your own



The Lodore Canyon River rafting adventure is filled with beautiful natural surroundings and exciting white water rapids. The Gates of Lodore is a first-class river experience that only takes four days.

First discovered in 1869 by Major John Powell, Lodore Canyon is home to world class white water rapids such as Disaster Falls, Triplet Falls and Hell’s Half Mile. This whitewater rafting adventure is run on a 44-mile stretch of the beautiful Green River, also known as the “Queen of Rivers”.

Our white water rafting voyage cuts through the High Uinta Range traversing alpine forests and desert slickrock. This is Utah’s highest mountain range reaching 13,400 feet at King’s Peak and the only Rocky Mountain range to run east and west.




One of the advantages of a river rafting trip is the flexibility of the daily itinerary.  It can vary widely from one rafting 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 whitewater rafting trip through Lodore Canyon.

DAY 1:

Meet party at headquarters in Vernal, Utah.  Three-hour bus ride to Brown’s Park National Wildlife Refuge, the site of the put-in.  Pass through the Gates of Lodore and encounter Upper and Lower Disaster Falls.

DAY 2:

The “Gates” mark the beginning of High Desert country – the Colorado Plateau – and as the canyon narrows, more rapids emerge: Harp Falls, Triplet Falls, and Hell’s Half Mile.  Hike at Powell’s Rippling Brook and Falls.

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 Green 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:

We enjoy a peaceful morning in Rainbow and Island Park areas before entering another massive gorge.  The Green’s powerful forces cut laterally through Split Mountain’s uplifted and colorful core.  White water rapids abound before the take out and a 35-minute ride back to Vernal.



MEET FOR YOUR Whitewater Rafting TRIP

We meet for your river rafting trip in Vernal, Utah at Holiday River Expeditions headquarters, 7:00 a.m. (Mountain Time) the morning your rafting trip begins.  If you arrive in Vernal by bus or plane, call our headquarters (435-789-4586) upon your arrival to make arrangements to have you and your gear transported to our headquarters the morning of the river rafting trip.  If you are driving, your car can be left at our headquarters.


Upon your arrival at Holiday River Expeditions headquarters (7:00 a.m., Mountain Time), we will issue your waterproof bags.  You can buy any last minute items from our store at this time (see check list of what to bring for a list of items you can find at our store).  We will then take a three-hour scenic van ride to the Gates of Lodore, where we will transfer to the river boats.

AFTER THE river rafting vacation

We will disembark at Split Mountain Campground in Dinosaur National Monument near Jensen, Utah. From there we will transport you back to our headquarters in Vernal, Utah (35 minute van ride).  Our expected time of arrival back at our headquarters is about 4:00 p.m.


Our guides are trained in first aid and carry first aid supplies only.  REMEMBER to bring your own prescription medicines.  ALERT our guides to any medical problem you might have such as diabetes or allergic reactions.  Wilderness expeditions are a long way from hospitals, doctors, and pain-relieving medicines.  Evacuations to modern medical care are uncertain, and protracted.  In case of evacuation and/or medical treatment beyond first aid, expenses incurred are the responsibility of the participant.


If cancellations are made prior to 90 days before the rafting trip, monies will be refunded less a $50.00 service charge per person.  If cancellations are made within 90 days and outside of 45 days of the river rafting tour date monies will be refunded less a $100.00 service charge per person.  Cancellations made within 45 days of the whitewater rafting trip date are non-refundable.  Prior to 45 days to the rafting trip date we will transfer reservations to another trip in the same year with a $25.00 service charge per person.  Cancellation of a river rafting trip is very unlikely, but we reserve the right to cancel any river rafting vacation due to river or weather conditions or the lack of sufficient reservations.  A full refund will be made if such is the case.


Medical and cancellation insurance on a vacation plan can be obtained from numerous insurance companies.  We offer plans underwritten by TRAVEL GUARD that cover accident, baggage and cancellation claims.  An application should be enclosed with this information package.  We encourage all to take advantage of this coverage.  It is available to American and Canadian citizens, as well as citizens of another country as long as you have a U.S. address.  If you have questions give us a call.  Also, if you are bringing expensive cameras, binoculars, or other items we suggest you have insurance coverage for them (commonly available through Homeowners Policies).  In the event of a loss, our insurance will not cover those items.


Many guests ask us if tipping is appropriate after the river rafting trip.  If you feel the river guides have been instrumental in your enjoyment of the rafting trip, you may choose to direct a gratuity to the trip leader in the form of cash or check.  He/She will then distribute it evenly to the other crew members.  Of those that choose to tip, the average contribution amount ranges between $15.00 and $25.00 per guest, per day.  However, the decision to tip is left to your sole discretion.


We provide ice water, lemonade, two sodas per day per person and ample cooler space.  If you choose to bring any specialty sodas and/or alcoholic beverages, we have no problem taking whatever you want to bring – within reason.  Don’t bring beer, wine coolers or sodas in glass containers.  Wine packaged in a box is ideal.  Mark beverages that you bring so they are packed on your river boat.  In Utah, wine or liquor is not sold after 7:00 p.m., before 11:00 a.m. or on Sundays and holidays.


Prior to leaving for your river rafting vacation, you may call our Salt Lake City office, Monday through Friday at 800-624-6323 (outside Utah), or 801-266-2087 (inside Utah). We’re happy to take the time to answer your questions. You may also contact us through e-mail at holiday@bikeraft.com.





In the early and late seasons (May, early June and September) temperatures in Dinosaur average 55 to 70 degrees during the day and 50 to 60 degrees at night.  In late June through August, daytime temperatures are between 80 and 90 degrees with nighttime temperatures 60 to 70 degrees.  If a little rain falls, it can cool temperatures down considerably.  With this in mind we recommend you have a rain suit, polypropylene underwear, (fleece top and pants are nice in cool weather) and a light tent.  If you reserved a rental unit with us when you booked your river rafting trip, we will have a tent and rain gear for you.  There will also be a lot of sun, so bring a hat and plenty of suntan lotion and/or sunscreens.


Bugs, snakes, etc. are generally no problem.  In fact, the lack of pesky insects is one of the reasons that wilderness camping on the river is so pleasant.  Any river rafting vacation, however, is subject to an occasional localized insect hatch.  During these hatches (most common in June to mid-July) mosquitos can be bothersome.  Be sure to bring long sleeve clothing and repellent.  Insect repellents that contain “deet” are by far the most effective during heavy hatches, but are also suspected of causing various health problems.  Citronella-based products (skin-so-soft) work only in light hatches.  We rarely see any snakes, but if the thought of them bothers you, try sleeping on the beaches or in a tent instead of rocky or bushy areas.


Hiking is a highlight of the whitewater rafting tour, however, it is strictly an optional activity.  There are many interesting short hikes available.  Hiking can be done in durable sneakers or lightweight hiking boots.  Remember that hiking and other activities vary widely pending time, and what other plans are ahead for our day on the river.


Trout fishing is great on the upper stretches of the Green River during the first two days of the rafting trip.  This section is in the state of Colorado, so if you wish to fish these two days you will need a Colorado fishing license, which can be purchased on line at http://wildlife.state.co.us/ShopDOW/AppsAndLicenses/.  Most of the fish caught from the river after the first two days will be catfish. However, on the third day we will arrive at Jones Hole, a beautiful trout stream.  We normally spend about three hours here and may even camp.  You will need a Utah fishing license to fish here, which may be purchased at most sporting goods stores or Smiths in Vernal prior to the river rafting trip. Please note that these stores will not be open the morning you meet for your rafting trip. Only artificial lures and flies are allowed on this stream.  If you would like to obtain more information or secure your license in advance contact:  Utah Wildlife Resources, 1596 W. No. Temple, SLC, UT 84116, 801-538-4700 or online at https://secure.utah.gov/hflo2/hflo.

Things to see in the area:

Dinosaur Natural History Museum in Vernal (open 8:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.) www.dinoland.com, Dinosaur National Monument’s Quarry Visitor Center and the Harper Corner Overlook.  Also, nearby are the Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area, Jones Hole Federal Fish Hatchery, Ouray National Waterfowl Refuge, Uinta Mountains, and others.

Reading material, you may enjoy:

Exploration of the Colorado River, Powell $12.95
Dinosaur River Guide, Belknap (waterproof) $19.95
Life in Stone, Christa Sadler $11.95
The Educated Outlaw, Harvey Lay Murdock (grandson) $10.95

These books can be ordered online at our e-store, or by sending the appropriate amount listed above plus $4.95 shipping and handling for the first book, and an additional $2.00 for each book thereafter to Holiday River Expeditions, 544 East 3900 South, SLC UT 84107.  This is available within the U.S.  If outside the U.S. additional shipping and handling charges will be added.  You can call 801-266-2087 for rates.  These books can also be purchased at our headquarters in Vernal.





You can fly to Salt Lake City located 180 miles west of Vernal, Utah.  From Salt Lake City you can rent a car and drive 3 hours to Vernal.  You can also fly directly from Denver, Colorado to Vernal, Utah with Great Lakes Aviation.  If you need assistance with your travel arrangements, please ask your Holiday River Expedition reservation agent.


Lodging before and after your river rafting vacation can be booked at one of seven motels:

SpringHill Suites by Marriott 435-781-9000 (indoor pool, hot tub, kitchenette, complimentary continental breakfast buffet) *20% discount to HRE guests who stay there. www.marriott.com

Landmark Inn & Suites 435-781-1800 (kitchenette & free hot breakfast) www.landmarkinn-ut.com

Holiday Inn Express 435-789-4654 (indoor pool, complimentary breakfast) www.hiexpress.com/vernalut

Days Inn 435-789-1011 (TV, outdoor pool, continental breakfast) www.daysinn.com

Super 8 435-789-4326 (indoor pool, TV, continental breakfast) www.super8.com

Econo Lodge 435-789-2000 www.econolodge.com

Motel 6 435-789-0666 (indoor pool) www.motel6.com

*When making advance reservations at the SpringHill Suites by Marriott, mention that you are on a Holiday River Expedition trip and you will be extended a discounted rate on your room (see above).



Numerous camping facilities are available in Dinosaur National Monument at the Green River Campground, or the Split Mountain Campground (groups only).  These campgrounds are a 35-minute drive from our Vernal headquarters and they have tables, fire pits, modern comfort stations, a water system, trailer sites, campfire amphitheater and a nature trail. You can also purchase firewood there. Reservations are required for the Split Mountain campground and they require a $10 reservation fee plus $25/site to camp/night (435-781-7759).  The Green River campground is on a first-come, first-serve basis and it is $12/vehicle/night to camp.  An entrance fee is also required.  The Dinosaurland KOA located in Vernal has accommodations as well (435-789-2148).

Holiday River Expedition Travel Agent – Mary Griggs is happy to assist you with your travel plans. Mary has been planning travel for Holiday’s guests for more than 18 years and has 24 years of experience in the industry! Contact Mary to take the work out of “Getting Here”.

Direct line – 801-466-1447
Toll Free – 800-264-0557 (You must ask for Mary Griggs)
Email Her: marygriggs13@msn.com

Or, do it yourself, we can help…


Air Service to Salt Lake City (SLC) or Denver (DEN)

Rental Cars

Once in Salt Lake City most of our guests rent a car and drive to our meeting points.
All rental cars are located in both terminals of the Salt Lake City Airport.

Salt Lake City to Green River 180 miles
Salt Lake City to Blanding 300 miles
Salt Lake City to Vernal 180 miles

Shuttle Service to Green River or Blanding, Utah from Salt Lake City (Vernal is on a Charter basis only)

TRANSPORTATION OPTIONS FROM DENVER to Green River, Vernal or Blanding, Utah
Air Service to Vernal (VEL), Utah from Denver, Colorado

Air Service to Moab (CNY) (52 miles south of Green River), Utah from Denver, Colorado




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  • FULL COURSE MEALS lunch the first day through lunch the last day
  • DRINKS ice water, lemonade, juices, 2 pops/person/day-mix of reg. & diet
The day bag 8″ diameter x 20″ high is for items you will need access to during the day. For your sleeping gear and clothing, we will furnish you with one bag 16″ diameter x 2 feet high. When properly sealed, bags are usually waterproof. Once in a while, one could develop a problem; so if you have concerns, test your bags. Separate storage is provided for tents and beverages. Please remember to keep your gear light and compact . . . the less you bring, the happier you will be.



You can rent the items listed above in our sleeping rental kit. We offer two varieties, our basic sleeping kit which includes a sleeping bag, sleeping pad, ground cloth, rain gear and cup for $40.00, or the same basic sleeping kit with a two-man tent for $65.00. Rentals must be reserved in advance.



DO NOT BRING glass-bottled beverages, radios, firearms, pets, and non-waterproof wristwatches. Please limit gear and clothing to no more than 15-20 lbs.
Warning: Expensive cameras, binoculars, or other items should not be brought on your river rafting trip. In the event of a loss our insurance will not cover these items.



(May and Sept. on all whitewater rafting trips and in June on all Idaho, Yampa and Lodore trips.)

Inclement weather is a possibility on our white water river rafting trips. However, this will not be a problem for the well-prepared river traveler. Polypropylene, fleece, pile, bunting, capeline, etc. are a few examples of trade names for a class of synthetic materials that retain their ability to insulate when wet (please note, cotton does not.) Your comfort on the rafting trip starts with finding the right type of synthetic under and outer-wear and quality rain gear. We recommend Backcountry.com for your additional river rafting trip needs. Backcountry.com offers a wide variety of gear to help you dress for success for your river rafting vacation no matter what the weather decides to do. A prepared traveler is a happy traveler.

ITEMS YOU CAN BUY AT the HOLIDAY RIVER ONLINE STORE: www.HolidayExpeditions.com/storeor at our accessories stores in Green River and Vernal; the meeting points for our Cataract, Westwater, Ranch, Desolation, Labyrinth, Fisher Towers, Lodore and Yampa trips.




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