|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)|
- The easiest airport is in Salt Lake City, which is serviced by most major airlines. You can rent a car at the airport and drive to Vernal, leaving it parked at the OARS Warehouse during the trip.
- Boutique Air offers twice daily flights between Salt Lake City and Vernal and daily flights between Denver and Vernal. Check www.boutiqueair.com for current pricing and schedule.
- 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. You can also try Moab Luxury Coach (435) 940-4212. 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.
Our primary goal is for you to have an enjoyable experience. The nature of the trip is such that it involves some physical exertion and potential exposure to the elements, including cold water, heat, sun, wind and rain. We have experience accommodating people with a wide range of physical disabilities and/or health conditions. However, individuals who are overweight or lack conditioning 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. In general, trip participants must be able to:
- Wear a Type V Coast Guard approved personal floatation device (maximum chest size of 56 inches)
- Climb on and off the boats multiple times
- Paddle or hold on to the boat while navigating whitewater rapids
- Navigate uneven terrain
- Self-rescue by swimming to a boat or to shore in the event of an involuntary swim in a whitewater rapid
- Self-rescue by climbing into a boat with the help of another person in the event of an involuntary swim in a whitewater rapid
- To increase your safety, we expect everyone to watch our 23-minute Whitewater Orientation video before joining us. Watch at https://www.oars.com/experience/safety/or call 800-346-6277 to request a free DVD. Please don’t leave home without watching.
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
- 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 disadvantaged 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 OARS 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
Recommended reading list
OARS practices Leave No Trace outdoor ethics
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.