|MEETING PLACE:||OARS Warehouse – 221 North 400 East, Vernal, Utah|
|MEETING TIME:||8:30 AM
|RETURN TIME:||Approximately 3:00-5:00 PM
|RIVER RATING:||Class II|
|SECTION:||Spillway Boat Ramp (below Flaming Gorge Dam) to Little Hole|
|AGE LIMIT:||Minimum age is 4 years (7 years during high water)|
|BOAT TYPE:||Paddle raft (Oar rafts may be available upon request)|
Not far from Dinosaur National Monument and halfway between Yellowstone and Canyonlands National Parks, Flaming Gorge Recreation Area is a popular summer and winter destination with an almost endless variety of activities available: boating, fishing, camping, hiking, snowmobiling, hunting, and cross-country skiing. The area is also rich in Western lore and home to hundreds of species of wildlife. Below the dam to Little Hole is 7 miles of crystal clear water teeming with trout and this section of the Green River has earned the reputation of one of the country’s finest trout fishing streams. With its exciting and splashy rapids, Flaming Gorge is also a beloved and ideal section of river to enjoy from a raft.
We typically run the Flaming Gorge section of the Green River exclusively in paddle rafts–fun, maneuverable inflatable rafts powered by four to eight passengers with paddles, along with a guide. Paddle rafts offer an active, hands-on challenge and are usually the preferred vessel on most whitewater trips. If you do not wish to be in a paddle raft, we may be able to accommodate you, but we must know in advance.
This section of the Green River offers splashy Class II 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 minor rapids plus lots of smaller waves and riffles. The Green River through Flaming Gorge is ideal for first-time rafters and children as young as 4, but not short on excitement for the whole family.
We pride ourselves in running a relaxed and flexible schedule. Every trip is different depending upon the group, other trips on the water and sometimes the weather. The following is a sample of what your trip might be like:
- Upon everyone’s arrival at the OARS Warehouse, we’ll take the 1½ hour shuttle ride to our put-in below Flaming Gorge Dam. Once we reach the put-in, your guides will give a thorough safety talk and orientation to the equipment we will be using. Then, we’re off!
- This section of river is host to many Class II rapids, and with names like Roller Coaster, Mother-in-Law, and Can of Worms, they are sure to please. We’ll run about half of the trip in the morning before stopping along the river for our famous “build-your-own-masterpiece” deli-style lunch. Maybe we’ll play a quick game of Frisbee or just relax and soak in the summer sun. After lunch, we’ll continue the remaining 3-4 miles of Flaming Gorge, taking in more rapids and breathtaking scenery.
- The expedition ends at the Little Hole Boat Ramp where we’ll board our shuttle and contemplate our memories of a great day during the 2 hour bus ride back to Vernal. We’ll arrive at the OARS Warehouse between 3:00 and 5:00 PM.
Included in Your Trip Cost
- Skilled, professional guide services
- Delicious picnic lunch and snacks
- High quality rafts and related river equipment including small dry bag, paddle, helmet and personal flotation device
- Transfers from Vernal to the river and back
Not Included in Your Trip Cost
- Transportation to and from Vernal
- Pre- and post-trip accommodations and meals
- Insurance of any kind, including a travel protection plan
- Items of a personal nature (see suggested packing list)
Meeting Place & Time
The day of your trip we will meet at 8:30 AM at the OARS Warehouse. It’s best to arrive ready for the river – we’ll board our bus and depart for the short drive to Spillway Boat Ramp. Parking is available at our warehouse.
Getting to the OARS Warehouse
- From Salt Lake City, Utah (3.5 hours, approximately 173 miles) take Hwy 80 east to Vernal. Follow I-80 east and US-40 east to Vernal. As you approach from the west on US-40, turn north at the center of Vernal on US-191. Go two blocks and turn right on 200 North. Proceed four blocks to 400 East, turn left and drive two more blocks to get to the warehouse, which is on your left as you pull in.
- From Grand Junction, Colorado (3 hours, 20 minutes, approximately 142 miles); head west on Interstate I-70 to CO-139. Travel 73 miles north to CO-64 and turn left (west) toward Rangely, CO. Continue on CO-64 to Dinosaur then west on US-40 to Vernal. In Vernal, turn right on N 500 E, go two blocks north, then turn left on E 200 N. Turn right on N 400 E after one block into the OARS parking lot.
Parking a Car
If you’re arriving by car, parking is available at the OARS Warehouse.
OARS cannot accept responsibility for any loss or damage to vehicles or their contents.
Mileage and Driving Times to Vernal, UT
|From Salt Lake City, UT||173 miles (3½ hours)|
|From Grand Junction, CO||142 miles (3 hours)|
|From Denver, CO||329 miles (6 hours)|
|From Moab, UT||221 miles (4 hours)|
|From Helper, UT||105 miles (2½ hours)|
|From Rock Springs, WY||113 miles (2 hours)|
- You may fly into Salt Lake City, Utah, Vernal, Utah or Grand Junction, Colorado, which are all serviced by several commercial airlines.
- Redtail Aviation has charter flights from Salt Lake City to Vernal for an estimated cost of $392 per person (price is subject to change). A minimum of two passengers is required. Please call Redtail Aviation for more information: (800) 842-9251.
By Rental Car
- There are many rental car options at the Salt Lake City airport and it is often more convenient to rent a car at the airport and return it after your trip. This allows you the flexibility to visit surrounding areas and sometimes is more economical than renting a vehicle one way.
- Enterprise Rent-A-Car is located at the Vernal Airport. Please call them directly at (435) 781-3008 for pricing and location hours as they are subject to change.
- If you’re travelling with a group, you can charter a van from Wilkins Bus Lines. Call Todd at (435) 828-6660. We recommend you make your reservations well in advance.
By Bus or Train
- Greyhound services Vernal. There is one daily bus trip between Vernal and Salt Lake City. Amtrak services Salt Lake City and Helper, Utah.
After Your Trip
On the final day of your river adventure, you will be returned to the OARS Warehouse. You should arrive back by approximately 3:00-5:00 PM.
Pre- and Post-Trip Accommodations
We recommend that you make reservations well in advance in order to guarantee lodging. (Pre- and post-trip lodging is not included in the trip cost).
- Microtel Inn & Suites by Wyndham Naples Vernal* (435) 781-8141
*Please mention you are an OARS guest to receive a special discounted room rate
- The Marriott (435) 781-9000
- Best Western Antlers Motel (435) 789-1202
- Holiday Inn Express (435) 789-4654
- Comfort Inn (435) 789-6066
Other Camping Options
You may want to check one week prior to your trip for an up-to-date weather forecast. We recommend the following website: www.wunderground.com for weather in Vernal, UT.
Average Air and Water Temperatures
|Air (Day) °F||Air (Night) °F||Water °F|
Water Levels & Temperature
The flow on the Green River is the story of human impacts on a very distinct watershed. The Green River’s headwaters lie in the Wind River Range of Wyoming, and its stream is repeatedly blocked and diverted, most sizably by the Flaming Gorge Reservoir, not far upstream from Dinosaur National Monument. Thus, its flow is determined by reservoir releases. The Green also 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. Water temperatures are coldest during the high water period and rain gear and warm synthetic clothing will be required. In reality the water is quite cold even in the summer, but lower flows and warmer air temperatures mitigate the risk of hypothermia.
Essential Eligibility Criteria for River Trips
The following are the physical and mental eligibility criteria for all participants on any OARS river trip.
- Ability to remain seated and balanced while in a whitewater craft while holding on with at least one hand.
- Wear a Type V Coast Guard-approved personal floatation device (maximum chest size of 56 inches). Wearing leg straps may be required to ensure proper fit. Where required, properly wear a helmet.
- Ability to independently board and disembark a boat four to ten times each day. This may require stepping into the boat, and then maneuvering your body over and across tubes and fixed objects into a seated position.
- Ability to independently navigate shoreline terrain, including safely maneuvering around and across boulders, rocks, and slippery and uneven surfaces, under low branches, and around vegetation. This includes the ability to maintain your balance near precipitous ledges or cliffs.
- Ability to independently swim in whitewater or swift currents while wearing a PFD. This includes being an active participant in your own rescue, including having the ability to (a) keep your airway passages sealed while underwater, and regain control of your breathing when being submitted to repeated submersion under waves or currents; (b) orient yourself to new “in-river” surroundings; (c) reposition yourself in the water to different swimming positions; (d) swim aggressively to a boat or to shore in whitewater; (e) receive a rescue rope, paddle, or human assistance, and possibly let go of the same; (f) get out from under an overturned boat.
- Ability to swim 100 yards in flat water while wearing a PFD.
- Ability to assist another passenger who has fallen out of the boat by pulling them back in.
- Ability to follow both verbal and non-verbal instructions given by guides in all situations, including during stressful or dangerous situations, and to effectively communicate with guides and other guests.
- Ability to carry personal dry bags and other personal gear (as heavy as 20-30 pounds) uphill from the boats to your camping location and back the next morning, independently, or with the assistance of a friend or family member. (This only applies on multi-day trips).
- Ability to manage all personal care independently, or with the assistance of a friend or family member.
- If taking prescription medications, have the ability to maintain proper dosage by medicating independently, or with the assistance of a friend or family member.
- Ability to remain adequately fed, hydrated, and properly dressed so as to avoid environmental injuries such as hypothermia, heat related illness, sunburn and frostbite.
The above criteria, if not met, will disqualify a person from participating in a river trip with OARS. The criteria exist for your own safety and that of all trip participants. None of the criteria are meant to discriminate on the basis of any physical or mental disability, and are applied uniformly to all potential trip participants, irrespective of the presence or absence of any disability. OARS is committed to making reasonable modifications to any trip for any persons with a disability, so long as they do not fundamentally alter the nature of the trip.
Further Information About Our Expectations of Trip Participants
The following paragraphs are meant to further inform all potential participants of the expectations for all participants in order to promote a safe, enjoyable experience for everyone on a trip. There may be requirements, whether physical or mental, that are not specifically applied “essential eligibility criteria”, but that help our guests understand the reality of being on a wilderness river trip.
Our primary goal is to minimize the risks associated with adventure trips in a wilderness environment. The trip involves physical exertion and exposure to the elements, including cold water and the potential for heat, sun, wind, rain and snow. We have experience accommodating people with a wide range of physical disabilities and/or health conditions. However, individuals who are overweight, lack conditioning, or have other physical limitations or ailments that interfere with the realistic encounters on a wilderness river can endanger themselves, other guests, and the guides. Please consult your doctor if you have medical or health conditions that could impact your ability to participate in this outdoor adventure.
It is very important that each trip participant take an active role in their own safety. You will likely encounter wilderness conditions that you are unfamiliar with, and those conditions may change rapidly. It is critical to pay attention at all times, to be aware of your surroundings, and to avoid taking unnecessary risks. Even a non-life threatening injury in a wilderness setting can become a major emergency for you, and can endanger the entire group. Swimming alone or hiking alone is discouraged. Excessive alcohol consumption or illicit drug use is not tolerated. Using common sense, and following both the explicit instruction and the lead of your guides can go a long way towards keeping yourself and the group safe. Some obvious things to avoid in camp and on shore (by way of example) are: walking around without shoes in camp, approaching wild animals, not paying attention to what is above or around your tent site that could harm you, not paying attention to hazards such as poison ivy and rattlesnakes, and walking near precipitous ledges.
River trips, particularly those involving whitewater, are inherently risky. While the risk of a trip is part of what makes it an exciting adventure, you must be entirely respectful of the risk that such a trip poses. It is important that you are confident in your swimming ability, and your ability to stay calm in the event you become a non-voluntary swimmer. Your odds of becoming a non-voluntary swimmer change with the classification of a rapid, boat selection and environmental factors. On class IV and greater whitewater, the probability that you will become a non-voluntary swimmer is significant. A swim in whitewater is much more difficult and physically draining than swimming in flat water. Swimming in cold water can cause a gasping effect on your respiratory system. This can be overcome by focusing on your breathing and calming yourself down. Swimming in cold water will also much more quickly sap your energy and decrease muscle function than swimming in warmer water. While our guides are highly trained and will do their absolute best to rescue you, a successful rescue is greatly hampered by a swimmer who is unprepared for a swim in whitewater, who fails to actively participate in their own rescue, and who is not able to follow directions while under stress. You will receive a detailed orientation talk at the start of your river trip, but you can get a better idea of what to expect by watching a version of an orientation talk here: http://www.oars.com/videos/oars-whitewater-orientation.
Due to the physical nature of this trip, we highly recommend that you engage in regular exercise for at least three months prior to departure to ensure preparedness. No gym membership required! Simple exercises like push-ups, sit-ups and squats go a long way to improving core fitness. Start with these exercises and do three sets of ten repetitions each, three to four times per week. Aerobic training is also easy to accomplish without expensive equipment. Take 30 – 40 minutes two to three times a week and go for a brisk walk, easy jog or bike ride around town. If you have access to a pool, lake or the ocean, swimming is obviously an ideal choice for aerobic exercise. It provides a full-body workout and is training that is useful in the event of an involuntary swim in a whitewater rapid. It is important to push yourself in the months leading up to your trip by increasing your strength training repetitions and the pace of your aerobic training. Check with your doctor prior to beginning any exercise program to be sure you are medically safe to participate. Starting an exercise program that is more strenuous than you are ready for may result in injury or risk exacerbating existing health conditions. Getting in shape will certainly add to your enjoyment of the trip.
Packing for Your Trip
CLOTHING & EQUIPMENT
The best choice is an amphibious shoe that drains water, protects your toes and won’t come off in swirling current. A retired pair of athletic shoes can work well, too. Sport sandals with a heel strap are a good option, especially on rivers with sandy beaches. Find professional-grade options made by Chaco® at www.chacos.com, the official footwear sponsor of OARS guides.
We recommend starting with bathing suit/swim trunks and a lightweight synthetic shirt, adding layers of synthetic or merino wool long underwear and warmer clothes as needed.
Protecting yourself from the sun should be taken very seriously. A hat, sunscreen, lip balm and sunglasses are a must. In many cases, a long-sleeve shirt is the best method for preventing sunburn on your upper body. Light-weight long pants may also be appropriate to protect your legs.
Bugs & Mosquitoes
Mosquitoes can be bothersome at times in certain areas on the Green, particularly after high water drops. Though this happens at different times every year, it is typically in June to mid-July. It’s a good idea to come prepared with insect repellent. Long sleeved shirts and pants may be desirable at times.
What To Bring
Click on this link for helpful information about packing for your trip: https://www.oars.com/video/wear-bring-one-day-rafting-trip-oars/
- Water bottle with a carabiner to attach it to the boat
- Sunscreen & lip protection: waterproof and SPF 30 or higher (aerosol sprays not recommended)
- Shade hat/visor which is flexible enough to fit under your helmet
- Sunglasses (preferably polarized) with securing strap
- Bathing suit
- Shorts (long board shorts preferable for sun protection) and quick drying top
- River/tennis shoes or river sandals with an ankle strap
- Dry clothes and shoes to change into after your trip
Find all the gear you need for your trip online in the OARStore and receive FREE SHIPPING in the U.S. + 15% of your purchase helps provide under-resourced youth with outdoor adventure experiences.
ALWAYS BE PREPARED FOR CHANGING WEATHER! Especially during the months of May and early June, Utah can experience extreme changes in weather.
Wearing cotton items on a river trip is only appropriate when the weather is hot. Cotton does not dry, and wet cotton will chill your body temperature.
Please let us know if you have any medical issues or dietary needs that we’ll need to consider in planning your trip.
We provide a small waterproof bag on each raft (17” tall x 9” diameter—approximate sealed size) to hold your camera and other items you might need during the day. While these bags are designed to be waterproof, you may wish to place your camera in a zip-lock plastic bag or waterproof casing for additional protection. Disposable waterproof and panorama cameras are also a fun option.
Each participant will need to complete the required trip forms online and submit them no later than 30 days prior to your trip.
We advise that you leave your valuables at home or in your private vehicle and take on the river only what’s absolutely necessary.
Tipping is optional, but appreciated by our staff. If you are wondering how much to tip, you may consider that we operate in a service industry with a host of behind-the-scenes contributors in addition to the guides on your trip. In general, we suggest a gratuity based on 10 – 15% of the trip cost. It is customary on OARS trips for gratuities to be given to the Trip Leader in the form of cash or personal check, who will then distribute appropriately amongst all the guides and support staff.
In reviewing your statement, you’ll note a $1/person/day donation to Utah Rivers Council a non-profit conservation organization dedicated to Utah’s rivers and clean water sources. One-hundred percent of these funds go directly to Utah’s rivers and your contribution is tax-deductible. This donation is voluntary and may be removed from your invoice if you choose not to participate. Please notify our office if you would prefer to delete the donation from your balance.
If you enjoyed your trip, consider donating to The Pam & George Wendt Foundation. This organization is a not-for-profit 501 (c) 3 organization with the express goal of providing opportunities for young people to experience the magic of the outdoors. Visit https://www.oars.com/oars-foundation/ to learn more about how a tax-deductible donation can change young lives for the better.
Shop for the latest in top-quality gear for your trip
OARS practices Leave No Trace outdoor ethics
Suggested Reading List
Additional Vernal, UT Travel Planner and Lodging Information
Additional information on Dinosaur National Monument
Terms & Conditions
Full payment is required at the time of reservation.
Cancellations and Refunds
If you find it necessary to cancel your trip, please notify us as soon as possible.
|DATE OF CANCELLATION||CANCELLATION FEE|
|30 or more days prior to your trip||$15/person|
|29 to 7 days prior||No Refund. Payment can be transferred to another trip (within the same year) for $30/person transfer fee|
|6 days or less prior||50% of the trip cost can be credited to another trip (within the same year)|
|Late arrivals or “no shows”||No refund or credit|
Under most circumstances, if you are of an adventurous spirit and in reasonably good health, you should have no problem enjoying an OARS trip. People with medical conditions, including pregnancy, should have a physician’s approval before taking an adventure travel trip.
We strongly recommend that you protect yourself, your belongings and your vacation through the purchase of a travel protection plan. They cover your non-refundable payments in most cases, should you have to cancel your trip due to illness or injury—yours or that of an extended family member—even at the last minute. If coverage is purchased at the time of your initial reservation, pre-existing medical conditions may be covered. No one wants an expensive helicopter to become necessary, but if you need to be evacuated or if an immediate family member dies and the local management agency is requested to notify you by helicopter, the helicopter expenses will be your responsibility. Evacuations can be prolonged, difficult and expensive. Personal belongings and cameras are carried entirely at the owner’s risk, and OARS accepts no responsibility for lost, damaged, delayed or stolen property. You can protect yourself through Travel Insurance Services or with alternative insurance. Call Travel Insurance Services at 800-937-1387 or visit their website at www.travelinsure.com/cobrand/select/oars.
Acknowledgement of Risk
Everyone is required to sign a standard Acknowledgement of Risk form before the trip, acknowledging awareness that there are inherent risks associated with the trip. However, due to the nature of the activities, a condition of your participation is that you will sign this form and return it to our office before the trip begins. Anyone who refuses to sign the form will not be allowed to participate, and consistent with OARS cancellation policy, there will be no refund of the trip fees at that time.
Responsibility – An Important Notice
O.A.R.S. Canyonlands, Inc. and cooperating agencies act only in the capacity of agent for the participants in all matters relating to transportation and/or all other related travel services, and assume no responsibility however caused for injury, loss or damage to person or property in connection with any service, including but not limited to that resulting directly or indirectly from acts of God, detention, annoyance, delays and expenses arising from quarantine, strikes, theft, pilferage, force majeure, failure of any means of conveyance to arrive or depart as scheduled, civil disturbances, government restrictions or regulations, and discrepancies or change in transit over which it has no control. Reasonable changes in itinerary may be made where deemed advisable for the comfort and well being of the participants, including cancellation due to water fluctuation, insufficient bookings (this trip requires a minimum of 6 guests), and other factors. There is risk in whitewater rafting, particularly during high-water conditions. Rafts, dories and kayaks do capsize. You could be swept overboard. Your guide will make every attempt to assist, but you must be strong and agile enough to “self-help” and “float-it-out” without further endangering yourself or others. We reserve the right not to accept passengers weighing more than 260 pounds or with a waist/chest size exceeding 56 inches. We may decide, at any time, to exclude any person or group for any reason we feel is related to the safety of our trips. We are experienced at accommodating people with various disabilities. Please give us an opportunity to make you feel welcome. We need to discuss any special requirements ahead of time. On advancement of deposit the depositor agrees to be bound by the above recited terms and conditions. Prices subject to change without notice.
OARS trips occur in areas where unpredictable environmental conditions are to be expected. To moderate dangerous situations for our guests and guides, it is important that all travelers obey the rules and regulations as determined by the managing agencies and the Trip Leader and demonstrate reasonable consideration for other guests and OARS employees. We reserve the right to remove any guest from a trip if, in our opinion, that guest’s actions or behaviors pose a threat to the safety of her/himself or others, or if those actions or behaviors compromise the enjoyment of the trip for others. Should a guest be asked to leave a trip, there will be no refund for the unused portion, nor will OARS be responsible for additional expenses incurred by the guest for accommodations, return transport, change fees, etc.