Green River Rafting through the Gates of Lodore

3, 4 or 5 Days See dates & prices 4.9 115 reviews
Location Utah & Colorado Adventure Level Moderate Minimum age 7 (10 - 12 during high water) River Rating Class III From $1049
Book Now Call toll-free 1 (800) 346-6277

This adventure in Dinosaur National Monument offers fun Class III whitewater, scenery that rivals Grand Canyon, gorgeous side hikes, and comfy beach campsites. No wonder it’s one of our most popular rafting trips.

Set aside as an American treasure in 1915 under the National Park Service, Dinosaur National Monument is an open-air archive of ancient Native American sites and far-out fossils unearthed by wind, water, and time. Within the monument, our Green River rafting trip winds its way through three distinct canyons: Lodore, Whirlpool, and Split Mountain, all of which contain geological curiosities and rich human history. Lodore was the first major canyon encountered by John Wesley Powell and his men on their 1869 expedition. At its start, the river twists through a catacomb of scarlet slot canyons, yawning valleys, and lush ledges of emerald evergreen and brush. Exploration is the mission of the day as the Green promises numerous side hikes, relaxing nights on the beach, and moderate whitewater perfect for young families and laid-back vacationers.

Trip Highlights
  • Ideal trip for families & first-time rafters
  • Numerous Class II-III rapids, perfect for inflatable kayaking
  • Deep canyons & stunning red rock scenery
  • Prehistoric fossils, ancient Native American cultural sites & Wild West hangouts
  • Spectacular side hikes

What to Expect

Itinerary & Map

Itinerary at a Glance

We pride ourselves in running a relaxed and flexible schedule. Every Green River rafting trip through the Gates of Lodore is different depending upon the group, other trips on the water, camp locations, and sometimes the weather. The following is a sample of what your trip might be like:

The Day Before Your Trip

We’ll meet this evening for a pre-trip orientation in Vernal, UT. This is an opportunity to meet your fellow travelers and trip leader, and ask any last-minute questions.

Day 1

We begin our trip with a scenic drive from Vernal to our put-in at the Gates of Lodore, where our boats and the rest of the OARS crew await. After a thorough safety talk, our journey begins, passing through the spectacular “Gates,” where the striking scenery of the Canyon of Lodore immediately grabs our attention.

The whitewater starts off with a bang as we challenge some of the river’s most exciting rapids: Winnie’s Rapid, Upper, and Lower Disaster Falls. Here Major Powell lost one of his boats and innumerable provisions during his 1869 journey—hence the rapids’ ominous name.

Our first day generally sets the pace for our week on the river. Typically, we spend a few hours on the water in the morning, sometimes stopping for a great hike or a refreshing swim.

At lunchtime, we pull over to a sandy beach and enjoy a delicious picnic. After feasting and relaxing on the beach (or perhaps a game of Frisbee or horseshoes), we get back in our boats and watch the desert panoramas slowly develop in between bursts of thrilling whitewater. Be sure to try your hand at the paddle raft and inflatable kayak!

Mid- to late afternoon, we stop and make camp. Before long, you’ll be savoring pleasing hors d’oeuvres and the beverage of your choice—delicious as these refreshments are, they always taste better after a day on the river! Nap, take an exploratory hike, or just sit back and laugh with friends and family as we prepare dinner.

After a satisfying feast, the evening is yours to spend however you wish. Maybe music, stories, or jokes will bring us together tonight; maybe the popping of the fire, the whisper of the river, and the clarity of the big, star-filled sky will encourage silent reflection on the amazing wilderness that is, for now, our home.

Days 2 – 4 (Depending on trip length)

Your days begin as the morning light turns the canyon walls the colors of sunrise. Fresh coffee and tea will be ready for you when you get up; grab a cup, sit back, and take in the glory of the awakening river. Soon breakfast is served, and once you’ve eaten your fill, you’ll pack up your things as the guides break down camp. Then our new day’s adventure begins! 

Continuing downstream, Harp Falls, Triplet Falls, and Hell’s Half Mile provide plenty of big thrills. Several smaller waves and riffles keep the paddlers among us busy, yet there are enough calm sections to allow us time to sit back and soak in the remote splendor of Lodore, with its soaring red rock cliffs sprinkled with deep green junipers and pinyon pines.

One of the best hikes of the trip awaits us at Rippling Brook. Our path along this small creek leads through a spectacular side canyon to a pure, spring-fed waterfall — the perfect place for a cooling shower.

We will pass the confluence with the Yampa River as we wind around gigantic Steamboat Rock and into Echo Park. Here we may stop to visit some intriguing Fremont-era petroglyphs near the side of the river, or perhaps we’ll hike to Whispering Cave, passing magnificent sandstone formations along the way.

Back on the river, we travel through some of the oldest exposed rock in the world. Descending further into the canyon, hundreds of millions of years of geological formation are displayed in the walls around us.

During the evenings, we’ll make camp on a beach that likely allows access to a great hiking trail. If our guides don’t arrange a hike, you may want to enjoy a self-guided walk, or perhaps you’d rather just relax and wait for dinner. The group dynamic of our trip is at its best as we gather for nighttime conversation and laughter.

Upon reaching Whirlpool Canyon, we might hike up beautiful Jones Hole Creek to amazingly well-preserved panels of pictographs and petroglyphs.

All trips, regardless of the number of days you’re on the water, cover the same amount of mileage, so keep in mind that longer 4- and 5-day trips will have more time for hiking and exploring within the canyon. Hikes mentioned above are not guaranteed on any trip, but are an example of the sites we me may be able to experience as time allows.

Day 3, 4 or 5 (Depending on trip length)

After a bit of flat water, we pick up speed in Split Mountain Canyon, where the river’s gradient becomes considerably steeper. Four major rapids deliver plenty of whitewater excitement during our last day on the river.

When we reach our take-out point at Split Mountain, we’ll take a short ride back to Vernal and return to the OARS Warehouse by late afternoon/early evening.

Meeting Time & Place

Location

Vernal, UT

Meeting time

7 PM, the evening before your trip

Return

Approximately 3 – 5 PM to Vernal

Trip Map

Dates & Prices

Save $100 on 2024 departures when you’re one of the first to book by March 31 and request “Premier Pricing” over the phone.

2024 DeparturesAdult PriceYouth Price
June 4$1,149$1,049
July 4$1,199$1,199*

*Youth pricing not available for trips departing in July

2024 DeparturesAdult PriceYouth Price
May 29$1,399$1,299
June 8, 14$1,399$1,299
June 16, 17, 18, 23, 27, 30$1,499$1,399
July 6$1,499$1,499*
July 7 All Adult$1,499
July 12, 17, 19, 22, 25, 28$1,499$1,499*
July 28 All Adult$1,499
July 30$1,499$1,499*
August 2, 4, 5, 7, 9, 10$1,499$1,399
August 11, 13, 16, 18, 20$1,399$1,299
August 22 All Women$1,399
August 23, 26, 27, 29$1,399$1,299
September 1, 2, 8$1,399$1,299
September 12 Nature Fix Retreat$1,845

*Youth pricing not available for trips departing in July

2024 DeparturesAdult PriceYouth Price
May 23$1,549$1,449
June 2$1,549$1,449
July 8, 14$1,649$1,649*
September 10$1,549$1,449

*Youth pricing not available for trips departing in July

Book Now

Deposit

$400

Additional Costs

• Dinosaur National Monument Entrance Fee
• Sleep Kit $40 | Tent included


Prices subject to National Park Service review

Ways to Save

ToTo book with one of our special offers, call 1-800-346-6277 or contact us today.

Premier Pricing

Save up to 10% (or more) on most domestic trips when you’re one of the first 4 people to book by March 31st!

Specialty Trips

The Need-to-Know Info

Trip Details

Included in Your Trip Cost

  • Skilled professional guide service
  • All meals from lunch on day 1 through lunch on the last day
  • Expedition equipment, including highest-quality rafts, 2-person shared tent, personal flotation device (PFD), helmet, waterproof bags, camp chair, as well as eating utensils and plates
  • Transfers from the OARS Warehouse in Vernal to the river and back

Not Included in Your Trip Cost

  • Transportation to and from Vernal
  • Pre- and post-trip accommodations and meals
  • Dinosaur National Monument Entrance Fee
  • Sleep kit: sleeping bag, pillow & a deluxe 3-inch thick air-filled sleeping pad (available for rent)
  • Insurance of any kind, including a travel protection plan
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Gratuities

The number and variety of boats on an OARS trip will vary based on water levels, the number of participants, and other factors we take into account when planning your adventure. Please be aware that in doing so we will ask you to share boat time with your fellow travelers. We don’t assign boats, nor can we guarantee exactly which crafts we bring, but trust us to provide you with the best possible mix for you and others on your trip. 

Learn more about the OARS Fleet and the boats that may be a part of your experience: Oar raft, paddle raft, inflatable kayak, and stand-up paddleboard.

After each active day on the river, we pull ashore to camp for the night. Our first task is to unload the boats using a fire-line of crew and guests to expedite the process. Individuals then collect their waterproof bags and locate an area on the beach to camp for the night. 

While you put up your tent, the guides will set up the kitchen and central dining/seating area with camp chairs. They will also locate a secluded area away from camp to set up the portable toilet, where privacy is assured.

As guides prepare dinner, hors d’oeuvres are served. This is an opportunity to relax, enjoy a drink if you wish, and reflect on the day with your fellow traveling companions.

In the morning, the first wake-up call lets you know that coffee, hot water for tea or cocoa, juice, fresh fruit, and cold cereal are ready. You can fill your mug and grab a bite, then begin to pack up your personal belongings and sleep gear as the guides prepare breakfast.

After breakfast, the entire camp is broken down and packed up. Once the guides have all of the gear loaded back onto the boats, we’ll head downstream to see what new adventures await us.

More info about Meals & Dietary Restrictions can be found on our Trip Resources page.

Average Air & Water Temperatures

Air (Day) °FAir (Night) °FWater °F
May744045-55
June844850-60
July915558-70
August895258-75
September794355-65

Water Levels & Temperature

The Green River’s headwaters lie in the Wind River Range of Wyoming, and its stream is repeatedly blocked and diverted, most significantly by the Flaming Gorge Reservoir, not far upstream from Dinosaur National Monument. Thus, its flow is determined by reservoir releases. 

The Green will spike in the spring and early summer as the controlling agency at Flaming Gorge Dam releases water to make room for inflow. Peak releases from Flaming Gorge on the Green usually occur between mid-May and mid-June but can vary widely from early May and into July. High-water trips equate to a more intense whitewater experience and a high level of physical fitness is recommended. Water temperatures are coldest during the high water period, and rain gear and warm synthetic clothing will be required.

Whitewater

This section of the Green River offers thrilling Class III rapids, interspersed with calm sections that inspire swimming, watching for wildlife, and gazing at the canyon scenery. Despite these slower stretches, the whitewater is consistent on the Green—you’ll challenge major rapids each day, plus lots of smaller waves and riffles. The Green is ideal for first-time rafters and children as young as 7 (12 during high-water periods), but not short on excitement for more seasoned boaters.

Before booking your trip with OARS, there are a few important considerations we’d like you to know about.

  • Physical Requirements: Your outdoor adventure will be an active participatory trip. Please inform us of any physical limitations you may have as soon as possible. If you exceed 260 pounds, please give us a call. Make sure you are exercising frequently in the months leading up to your trip and can meet our Essential Eligibility Criteria.

  • Whitewater Orientation: To increase your safety, we expect everyone to watch our Whitewater Orientation video before joining us.
  • Trip Forms: Each participant will need to complete the required trip forms within two weeks of making a booking. Refer to your confirmation email for the link to the online forms. If you prefer to fill out paper forms, please let us know right away. If you are reserving within 60 days of departure, your forms must be completed immediately to ensure we can properly plan for your trip.

Reservations and Deposits

A $400/person deposit is required at the time of booking with final payment due 60 days before departure. Accounts on which final payment has not been received 50 days before the departure date will be canceled without exception.

Payments can be made by check, money order, eCheck, wire transfer, Visa, MasterCard, American Express, or Discover. Prices are in US Dollars, and all payments must be made in US Dollars. Payment of the deposit establishes your acceptance of our complete Terms and Conditions. Individual departures and trip capacity are strictly limited by the managing agency. Your payment is fully refundable for 48 hours, less a 3% processing fee, after making a reservation when you reserve a trip 7 days or more prior to departure.

Cancellations and Refunds

Canceling your trip after your deposit is processed will incur cancellation fees because OARS has absorbed costs on your behalf and will turn others away who would like to book the spaces we’re holding for you. If you must cancel your reservation after the rescission period described above, your cancellation fee will be determined according to the schedule below.

We regret we cannot make exceptions to the cancellation policy for any reason, including foul weather, poor air quality, wildfire activity, acts of terrorism, civil unrest, or personal emergencies. For these reasons, we strongly urge you to consider purchasing a travel protection plan.

Date of CancellationCancellation Fee
180 or more days before your trip$50/person
179 – 90 days before your trip$100/person
89 – 60 days before your trip$200/person, balance available as a limited-time trip credit valid through the end of the following season
59 days or less before your tripFull fare

Please note that different deposit/cancellation policies may apply for charter groups. Refer to the group organizer’s confirmation email for details.

Canceled Trips

OARS reserves the right to cancel any trip due to insufficient registration or other factors that make the trip impractical to operate. In such instances, we will inform you at least 45 days before departure. Do not make nonrefundable travel arrangements unless you have spoken to your Adventure Consultant regarding the status of your trip.

If a trip must be canceled or postponed due to force majeure (factors outside the control of OARS), OARS will provide full credit for payments made toward future travel, or a refund less a 5% service fee plus any nonrefundable payments made on your behalf to 3rd-party suppliers. OARS will make good faith efforts to recover deposits made on your behalf to 3rd-party suppliers, however, we can’t guarantee recovery of any or all of the advance payments made. OARS is not responsible for expenses incurred by participants in preparation for a canceled trip.

Transfers

If you need to move your reservation to a different trip during the same season, or to a credit account for the following year, there is a $25/person fee up until 90 days before departure for a one-time transfer of your payment. Transfer requests made 89 days or less before departure will be treated like a cancellation according to the schedule above.

O.A.R.S. Canyonlands, Inc. is an authorized concessioner of Dinosaur National Monument.

Ancestral Lands Acknowledgement

We respect and recognize that many of the river canyons on state and federal lands where we operate are the ancestral homes of indigenous communities. Where we operate on the Green River between the Gates of Lodore and Split Mountain Campground, we acknowledge the territories of the Ute and Eastern Shoshone.

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