J.W. Powell 150th Anniversary Trip

Join us for a partial retrace of John Wesley Powell's 1869 expedition

13 to 28 days from $4299

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  • Follow in the footsteps of John Wesley Powell
  • Discover the backstory of this remarkable journey with the help of our resident historian and renowned author
  • Explore the remote and beautiful river canyons of Utah
  • Hike up side canyons and explore historic sites
  • Experience the Green and Colorado Rivers by raft or dory

In 1869 John Wesley Powell set out to explore the uncharted Green and Colorado Rivers from Green River Station, WY to the “impassable” Grand Canyon. Now, 150 years later, we are retracing a portion of this monumental feat with our first commercially-run expedition from our launch at Flaming Gorge to take-out on Lake Powell, upstream from Grand Canyon.

Join us for 28 days of epic adventure as we celebrate history and perhaps create a little of our own in Flaming Gorge, Lodore, Desolation, Gray, Labyrinth & Stillwater Canyons, and finally on the Colorado River through the turbulent waters of Cataract Canyon. Thanks to our unique collection of permits on the Green and Colorado Rivers, OARS is the only commercial outfitter that can make this retrace trip a reality.


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Itinerary & Map

  • Meet at 7:00 PM the evening before your trip at the OARS Warehouse in Vernal, Utah, for a pre-trip meeting
  • Scenic drive from Vernal to our put-in below the Flaming Gorge Dam, where the boats and the rest of the OARS crew await
  • Spend time in Brown's Park at the world-famous Jarvie Ranch--an old outlaw hangout
  • Enter Dinosaur National Monument through the Gates of Lodore
  • Hike up Winnie’s Grotto to beautiful oases and side canyons
  • Feast on delicious meals, relax on sandy beaches
  • Charge rapids like Winnies, Disaster Falls, Triplet, and Hells Half Mile
  • View Fremont petroglyphs and the confluence with the Yampa River
  • Run four major rapids through Split Mountain Canyon
  • Continue down the Green River through a cultivated valley in the Uintah Basin with wide open skies to Sand Wash
  • Stop to see thousand-year-old ruins or intriguing petroglyphs left by the Fremont Indians
  • Hike to an old moonshiner’s hideout or the abandoned ranch where Butch Cassidy’s Wild Bunch stayed
  • Travel through Desolation & Gray Canyons and run 50+ Class II-III rapids
  • Enjoy a night in Green River at the Terrace Hotel with a visit to the Powell Museum and dinner at Ray’s Tavern
  • Hike up to the River Post Office or discover the secrets hidden in Two Mile Canyon, Fort Bottom, Shot, or Water Canyon
  • Travel through Labyrinth and Stillwater Canyons in Canyonlands amidst Ancestral Pueblo ruins, seasonal waterfalls and jaw-dropping vistas
  • The legendary rapids of Cataract Canyon like Mile Long, Capsize and the Big Drops offer plenty of excitement
  • Cataract Canyon ends as we reach the old location of Hite that was flooded by Lake Powell
  • Return flight to Vernal for the conclusion of your trip
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    Destination River
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    Meeting Parking
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    Point of interest
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    Take Out
iconDates & Prices




13 Days: $3999* | $4299


16 Days: $4999* | $5299


28 Days: $8399* | $8899

Deposit: $1000
Additional Cost: $25 BLM fee

*Premier Pricing: Be one of the first four to book this trip before March 31, 2019 to receive the discounted price.

Departure Dates


13 Days: June 5 – 17


16 Days: June 17 – July 2


28 Days: June 5 – July 2


National Park Service Authorized Concessioner

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


OARS is proud to donate 1% of sales from this trip to the National Park Foundation to help protect our parks and get more kids outside!

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