|MEETING PLACE:||OARS Warehouse – 221 North 400 East, Vernal, Utah|
|MEETING TIME:||7:00 PM, the evening before your trip|
|RETURN TIME:||Approximately 4:00-6:00 PM
|TRIP LENGTH:||28 days/27 nights
|RIVER RATING & MILES:||133 miles of Class II-IV whitewater (Class V at high water), 324 miles of flat water|
|SECTION:||Spillway Boat Ramp (below Flaming Gorge Dam) to Hite Crossing on Lake Powell|
|AGE LIMIT:||Minimum age is 16 years|
|BOAT TYPE:||Oar raft, inflatable kayak, standup paddleboard, dory (Depending on water level)|
Travel back in time 150 years and retrace more than 450 miles of John Wesley Powell’s historic first descent of the Green and Colorado Rivers. Joining the full expedition to provide commentary and a compelling backstory to this once-in-a-lifetime river adventure is resident historian and geologist Dr. Michael P. Ghiglieri. One of OARS’ original guides, Ghiglieri has run more than 680 river trips on 40 different stretches of river and he’s written several books, including First Through Grand Canyon—an evocative read that pieces together the secret journals and letters of the 1869 crew who first explored the rivers of the Colorado Plateau alongside Powell.
Your adventure begins just below the Flaming Gorge Dam where you’ll float the splashy, crystal clear waters of the Green River before entering Dinosaur National Monument and Gates of Lodore. Here, in one of North America’s most beautiful river canyons, you’ll spend several days running exciting whitewater, hiking to scenic overlooks and discovering an archaeological treasure chest where prehistoric fossils co-exist with ancient petroglyphs.
Next, you’ll enter Desolation Canyon where the canyon walls will soar up to the sky above you, in some places rising higher than the walls of the Grand Canyon at the Bright Angel Trail. This stretch of river boasts more than 50 splashy Class II-III rapids along with peaceful stretches inspiring contemplation of those who have made the journey before you.
As the expedition continues, you’ll continue to ride the mighty Green as it forges its way through Gray, Labyrinth and Stillwater canyons on the way to the confluence with the Colorado River. You’ll explore the wild heart and red rock wilderness of Canyonlands National Park, enjoying the pristine beauty of remote canyons, Ancestral Puebloan ruins, petroglyphs, pictographs and fascinating geology. In Cataract Canyon, the journey culminates with some of the most legendary whitewater in the country. The Colorado River is mostly undammed above Cataract Canyon, making it a thrilling experience at high water with huge waves and the famous “Big Drops,” which at times can make even the Grand Canyon’s Lava and Crystal rapids seem tame. Outside of high-water, it is a great family-friendly run, with less intimidating rapids suitable for most ages and levels of experience.
Finally, after spending nearly a month on the storied waterways of the West, a scenic flight back to Vernal will give you some time to reflect on your epic journey tracing John Wesley Powell’s footsteps.
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:
The Day Before Your Trip…
We’ll meet at 7:00 PM at the OARS Warehouse in Vernal, Utah, for a pre-trip meeting. This is an opportunity to meet your fellow travelers and trip leader and ask any last-minute questions. Your trip leader will give you a thorough trip orientation, and pass out your waterproof river bags so that you can pack your belongings that evening.
Day 1 Flaming Gorge Dam – Gates of Lodore
“Today we have an exciting ride, and make almost railroad speed. Here and there the water rushes into a narrow gorge; rocks roll it into great waves, and the boats go leaping and bounding like things of life.” J.W. Powell, June 1, 1869
We begin our trip with a scenic drive from Vernal to our put-in below the Flaming Gorge Dam, where the boats and the rest of the OARS crew await. After a detailed safety talk, our journey begins.
The first day is full of fun whitewater, including Anticipation Rapid, Roller Coaster Rapid and Mother-in-Law Rapid. The splashy, crystal clear waters of the Green River carry us into the heart of Ashley National Forest.
Our first day sets the pace for the rest of our days 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.
Mid- to late-afternoon, we stop and make camp. You grab your bags and set up your tent while the guides take care of the kitchen and “living room”—camp chairs and the site for tonight’s campfire (if permitted). This is the perfect time for you to lounge on the beach with that book you’ve wanted to finish. 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 the guides 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 2–3 Flaming Gorge Dam – Gates of Lodore
Your days begin with the morning light illuminating the canyon walls with a warm glow. Fresh coffee and tea are waiting 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.
Along our journey, we’ll see red rock canyon walls of the Uinta formation, that date back a billion years to some of the oldest sedimentary rock.
After our last big rapid at Red Creek, the river flattens out as we descend into Brown’s Park, where swift currents carry us through Swallow Canyon and into the Browns Park National Wildlife Refuge.
We’ll stop to spend time at the world-famous Jarvie Ranch, a BLM-restored historic site offering visitors a glimpse into turn-of-the-century pioneer life along this stretch of the Green River.
“Brown’s Park is a valley, bounded on either side by a mountain range, really an expansion of the canyon.” J.W. Powell, June 1869
During the evening, we will make camp on the riverside among lodgepole pines and junipers. 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—always a trip highlight, as the day’s adventures stir up a hearty appetite. After our meal the group dynamic of our trip is at its best as we gather around the campfire for nighttime conversation and laughter.
Days 4–6 Gates of Lodore – Split Mountain
Entering Dinosaur National Monument and Gates of Lodore, we start off with a bang as we challenge more 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.
“As Ashley and his party were wrecked here, and as we have lost one of our boats, we adopt the name Disaster Falls for the scene of so much peril and loss.” J.W. Powell, June 12, 1869
Harp Falls, Triplet Falls, and Hell’s Half Mile are a few other rapids that provide big thrills. Several smaller waves and riffles keep 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.
An exciting hike 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 petroglyphs near the side of the river, or perhaps we will 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 Southwest. As we descend further into the canyon, we have the rare opportunity of seeing various layers that comprise the surrounding cliffs, each layer representing a different stage of the earth’s development. Hundreds of millions of years of geological formation are displayed in the walls around us.
Upon reaching Whirlpool Canyon, we might hike along beautiful Jones Hole Creek to amazingly well-preserved panels of prehistoric pictographs and petroglyphs.
“The river meanders through the park, interrupted by many wooded islands; so I name it Island Park, and call the canyon above Whirlpool Canyon.” J.W. Powell June 22, 1869
After a bit of flat water, we pick up speed and enter Split Mountain Canyon, where the river’s gradient becomes considerably steeper. Four major rapids deliver plenty of whitewater excitement before stopping for the evening.
Days 7–11 Split Mountain – Sand Wash
“What a view! The river cuts the mountain to it’s center, splitting the ridge for six miles, then turns out of it. All this we see where we stand on the summit, and so we name the forge below Split Mountain Canyon.” J.W. Powell, June 24, 1869
Here we enter the Uinta Basin, where the days begin on the calmer stretch of the Green River, as we head southwest we pass through the town of Jensen and a cultivated valley. We will use an outboard motor through much of this section as we have many river miles to cover. This is the perfect opportunity to sit back, relax, and take in the vast open sky and scenery.
In the 1900’s this section of the river was dotted with gold dredges and placer claims. In more recent years, it has been a popular area for sizable petroleum reserves. Keep an eye out for sheltering animals and migratory birds, as the Ouray National Wildlife Refuge straddles the Green River.
“This beautiful valley has been the home of a higher grade of civilization. Yesterday we discovered fragments of pottery in many places; today I find foundations of ancient houses, and mealing-stones that are deeply worn. The Indians, seeing that I am interested, show me other places where these evidences remain.” J.W. Powell, July 2, 1869
Days 12–17 Sand Wash – Green River
This portion of the river was home to the ancient Fremont Indians. Throughout our journey, we may stop to see thousand-year-old ruins or intriguing petroglyphs.
After thrilling rapids, we may stop for a hike. Outlaw history abounds in this remote part of the Green River, and we may even check out an abandoned ranch where Butch Cassidy’s Wild Bunch spent their evenings.
We encounter 90 million years of geologic time as we float through this deep canyon. The canyon walls will soar up to the sky above you, at points Desolation Canyon is deeper than the Grand Canyon at the Bright Angel Trail.
The whitewater increases with each passing day through the canyon. Through this section of the river, you will encounter 50 Class II-III rapids, including Cow Swim, Three Fords and Coal Creek to name a few.
“Just here we emerge from the Canyon of Desolation, as we have named it, into a more open country, which extends for nearly a mile, when we enter another canyon cut through gray sandstone.” J.W.Powell
We’ll check into our accommodation for the night at River Terrace, in Green River. The late afternoon is free for you to relax or explore the John Wesley Powell Museum, reconvening for a group dinner at Ray’s Tavern, a favorite among local river runners.
Days 18–28 Green River – Hite Crossing
“There is an exquisite charm in our ride down the beautiful canyon. We are all in fine spirits. Now and then we whistle or shout or discharge a pistol, to listen to the reverberations among the cliffs. We name this Labyrinth Canyon.” J.W. Powell, July 15th, 1869
Once we meet the Confluence, it will lead us through Labyrinth Canyon and Stillwater Canyon. We may explore many magnificent gorges in side canyons such as Three Canyon, hike up to the River Post Office or discover the secrets hidden in Two Mile Canyon, Fort Bottom, Shot, or Water Canyon. We might stop to hike to ancient granaries, thousand-year-old ruins and intriguing petroglyphs or a Denis Julien inscription, an explorer who traversed this area even before Powell and his crew.
After the Green winds us through convoluted twists and turns we happily reach the Confluence. Now that the waters of the Colorado River join our party, Cataract Canyon begins, hinting at the whitewater to come. In a slow mix, the murky waters of the Colorado take some miles before they concede to the often clearer Green. As we leave Stillwater Canyon, the Green’s 730+ mile journey from Wyoming continues on what is now the Colorado, mightier than before. Our anticipation grows.
“Late in the afternoon the water becomes swift; an hour brings us to the junction of the Grand and Green. These streams unite in solemn depths, more than 1200 feet below the general surface of the country.” J.W. Powell, July 17, 1869
Next up are the legendary rapids of Cataract Canyon like Mile Long, Capsize and the Big Drops – this section offers plenty of excitement. As we drop into Brown Betty Rapid, the preceding days’ anticipation of Cataract explodes in cool water and huge smiles. Whatever the water level or the type of boat you’re in, the rushes of adrenaline with each new rapid are balanced by the knowledge of your guides’ experience.
“On starting we come at once to difficult rapids and falls, that in many places are more abrupt than in any of the canyons through which we have passed, and we decide to name this Cataract Canyon.” J.W. Powell, July 23, 1869
On the last day, Cataract Canyon ends as we reach the old location of Hite that was flooded by Lake Powell. As we journey out on the reservoir toward Hite Crossing, it’s tough not to imagine the wonders drowned below us. What more could Glen Canyon have shown us! The bittersweet ending is now here. Thankfully, the scenic flight back to Vernal grants a bit of time to reflect on our days retracing John Wesley Powell’s epic journey.
Included in Your Trip Cost
- Skilled professional guide service
- Sleep Kit (sleeping bag, a deluxe 3-inch thick foam and air-filled sleeping pad, ground tarp, sheet, pillow and pillowcase)
- 2-person tents on a shared basis (there is a $30 charge for a private tent)
- All meals from lunch on day 1 through lunch on the last day
- 26 nights catered camping
- 1 night lodging at River Terrace in Green River, with dinner and breakfast
- Two waterproof bags to hold your gear for the trip (approximate sealed size: 13” diameter x 25” tall, not to exceed 25 lbs. packed). Your sleeping bag and pad will come already packed in one of the two waterproof bags. Your remaining gear, therefore, must fit in one
- One small waterproof bag for camera and other small items you’ll want during the day (approximate sealed size: 17” tall x 9” diameter)
- Personal flotation device (PFD) which must be worn at all times on the river in compliance with insurance requirements and State and Federal regulations
- 12-ounce insulated Klean Kanteen with Café Lid to use for drinks in camp
- Camp chairs
- Eating utensils, cups and plates
- Highest quality inflatable rafts and related equipment
- All transportation from day 1 through the last day, including scenic flight
- Wetsuit–weather dependent (does not include wetsuit booties or footwear of any kind).
Not Included in Your Trip Cost
- Transportation to and from Vernal
- Pre- and post-trip accommodations and meals
- Dinosaur National Monument Entrance Fee or BLM Special Area Fees
- Insurance of any kind, including a travel travel protection plan
- Alcoholic beverages
- Items of a personal nature (an equipment list will be provided)
Available For Rent
- Single Tent: We provide 2 person tents. It is assumed you will share this tent with another person. You can (if you prefer) have a tent to yourself for an additional charge of $30 per tent.
TRIP PREPARATION CHECK LIST
☐ Consider Purchasing Travel Protection: We recommend the purchase of the OARS Travel Protection Plan to help protect you before and during your trip. A travel protection plan can help with reimbursement of your non-refundable payments in the event you have to cancel your trip due to listed reasons such as a covered illness or injury. Because we begin working to prepare for your trip upon receipt of your deposit and may be turning other prospective guests away while holding space for you, there are cancellation fees that will apply regardless of why or when you might need to cancel. We list the cost for the optional OARS Travel Protection Plan on your trip invoice.
Beginning December 10, 2018, OARS will offer a travel protection plan that is administered by Arch Insurance Company. Insurance coverages are underwritten by Arch Insurance Company, NAIC #11150, under policy series LTP 2013 and endorsements thereto. Policies are administered by Arch Insurance Solutions Inc., 855-286-8351, CA license #0I18111, TX license #1787195. Your policy is the contract that specifically and fully describes your coverage. Certain restrictions and exclusions apply and coverages may vary in certain states. Please refer to your policy for detailed terms and conditions; online at: https://www.oars.com/tpp
Consumer disclosures can be found at: https://oars.archinsurancesolutions.com/disclosures
If you enrolled in a Trip Mate policy through OARS on or before December 9, 2018, the policy is still in place and will be administered by Trip Mate through the end date of your scheduled travel with OARS. All information provided in regards to the Trip Mate policy remains relevant. For a complete description of your Trip Mate policy, go online to: http://www.tripmate.com/wpF431Z or call Trip Mate at 800-888-7292 (reference Plan # F431Z).
☐ Trip Forms (online): Each participant will need to complete the required trip forms within two weeks of making a booking. Refer to your confirmation e-mail 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.
☐ Reserve flights, shuttles and lodging: Verify with your Adventure Consultant that your trip has met minimum numbers prior to booking flights and/or reserving overnight lodging for the night before and after your trip, if applicable.
☐ Whitewater Orientation: 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.
☐ Physical Requirements: Your outdoor adventure will be an active participatory trip. Please inform us of any physical limitation you may have as soon as possible. Make sure you are exercising frequently in the months leading up to your trip.
☐ Payments: Final payment is due in our office 90 days prior to your trip (refer to your invoice for final payment date). Please let us know if you would like us to automatically charge your credit card on file when final payment is due.
Meeting Place & Time
The day before your trip we will meet at 7:00 PM at the OARS Warehouse for a pre-trip meeting. Your trip leader will provide a thorough trip orientation and pass out your waterproof bags so you can pack your belongings that evening. The trip leader will also re-confirm the meeting time for the following morning and give you an opportunity to ask any last-minute questions.
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 Taxi or Shuttle
- Vernal City Cab – (435) 790-1212
- Utah Shuttle Connection – (385)258-3531 or www.utahshuttleconnection.com
- Le Bus – (800)366-0288 or www.lebus.com
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 4:00-6:00 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).
- Dinosaur Inn & Suites* (435) 315-0123
- 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
The Green River offers splashy Class II rapids and thrilling Class III rapids, interspersed with miles of smooth water that inspire swimming, watching for wildlife, and gazing at the canyon scenery. Despite these slower stretches, there are several fun stretches of whitewater on the Green. You’ll challenge minor rapids plus dozens of smaller waves and riffles.
The Green River is calm before merging with the Colorado River in Canyonlands National Park. The Colorado River is not dammed above Cataract Canyon, and its varying water levels at different times of the year provide a whitewater experience for everyone. In the high-water season of May and June, experienced whitewater enthusiasts delight in the huge waves and the famous “Big Drops,” which at times can make even the Grand Canyon’s Lava and Crystal Rapids seem tame. This is some of the biggest navigable whitewater in the U.S. at peak flows. During the fall months, as the water levels drop, this becomes a more moderate run with less intimidating rapids, suitable for most ages and levels of experience.
The number and variety of boats on an OARS trip may 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. The following boats may be a part of your experience:
- Oar Raft—The flagship, oar rafts carry the bulk of the gear on most of our multi-day adventures. Your guide pilots with long oars from a center-mounted aluminum frame. Ample deck space allows for lounging in calm stretches, sturdy weight and width give your guide confidence to hit the big waves head-on. (Three to five passengers)
- Dory—Dories are the kings of big volume rivers like the Colorado and the Salmon. These rigid boats were first used commercially in the Grand Canyon by writer/conservationist/river guide Martin Litton. Hard-hulled and ultra-buoyant, dories shoot through rapids and make wave trains feel like roller coasters. Your guide navigates from the center with two long oars. (Four passengers)
- Inflatable Kayak—Inflatable kayaks float low in the water, putting you in touch with the pull of the current and splash of every wave. On most trips, double and single inflatable kayaks are available, depending on group size. Helmets required. Ask an Adventure Consultant about this option, as it is not available on every trip. (One or two paddlers)
- Standup Paddleboard (SUP)—Rigid like a surfboard, but inflatable like a raft, stand up paddleboards are 10-feet long and surprisingly stable at close to three-feet wide. Hop on a SUP to turn stretches of calm, flat water into an active adventure! (Fun for one paddler at a time)
After each active day on the river, we pull ashore to camp for the night. Upon arrival, our first task is to unload the boats using a bag line of crew and passengers to expedite the process. Individuals then collect their waterproof bags and locate an area on the beach to camp for the night. On the first night in camp, a crew member will give a demonstration on setting up a tent, which you’ll see is quick and easy. 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 dinner is being prepared by the guides, hors d’oeuvres will be served and you will have 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 will let you know that coffee, hot water for tea or cocoa, juice, fresh fruit and cold cereal are ready on the hors d’oeuvres table. 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 is served, the entire camp will be broken down and packing will be completed. The gear will then be loaded onto the boats and we’ll head downstream to see what new adventures await us.
The meals we serve are hearty and delicious, complete with fresh ingredients and a variety of foods. A typical morning on a multi-day trip might start with French toast, bacon, fruit, orange juice, and coffee or tea. Lunch might be a delicious spread of cold cuts and cheeses with several types of bread, or pitas stuffed with veggies and hummus. There are always cookies and a cooling drink to top it off. At dinner, our guides’ cooking skills truly shine—sizzling steaks or salmon, chicken enchiladas, and delicious pasta dishes are all part of their repertoire. Dinner generally includes a salad, and desserts are frequent. Hors d’oeuvres are a pleasant surprise before many meals.
We need to know as soon as possible about any dietary restrictions we should consider in planning your trip. If you have food allergies or restrictions, we will do our best to accommodate your needs. However, there may be a supplemental menu fee, ranging from $5-$25 per person per day, to cover any increase in our increased costs.
Beyond our standard menu, we can provide options for vegetarian, vegan and many allergy-restricted diets without applying a fee. However, we cannot always provide the same diversity or sophistication for restricted diets as we do for our regular menu. Similarly, certain allergen-free snack foods are difficult or impossible to source in our locations, so feel free to bring your own favorite snacks to supplement our provisions. Please let your Adventure Consultant know if you intend to do so.
We cannot guarantee that cross-contamination from allergens will not occur during meal prep, and reserve the right to refuse service to anyone as it relates to safety, including the potential for a medical emergency caused by a severe food allergy. We recommend that anyone who has had an allergic reaction, be it mild or severe, secures an Epi Pen (or equivalent) for the trip. Also, due to the constraints of cooking for a large group in a wilderness setting, availability of ingredients or specialty items in remote locations, and limited packing space, we are unable to cater to dietary preferences (likes or dislikes).
Beverages / Alcohol
We provide fresh water and an assortment of soft drinks, including sodas, sparkling water, fruit juices and lemonade. Utah’s commercial outfitters may not provide any type of alcohol for their guests. You may bring your own supply of beer, wine or liquor in non-glass containers. If you choose to bring your own drinks (other than what we provide) or alcoholic beverages, please let us know in advance, ideally at the pre-trip meeting. For your safety and the safety of others, alcoholic beverages are limited to camp.
Some beers (3.2% alcohol by weight) are available in grocery stores. For other beer, wine and liquor you will need to go to the Utah State Liquor Store. The hours are 11:00 AM to 7:00 PM Monday – Saturday in the spring and 11:00 AM to 9:00 PM Monday – Saturday in the summer. They are closed on Sundays and holidays, including Pioneer Day (June 24). For further information and to check what beverages are available, please visit their website: abc.utah.gov/stores/.
We are obligated to adhere to the regulations established by the managing agency with jurisdiction over the area in which our trip operates. Use of marijuana on federal lands, whether it be medicinal or recreational, is illegal and therefore we ask that you refrain from bringing it with you on your OARS trip.
We carry sufficient drinking water along with us to provide for your needs throughout the trip. Water jugs are accessible in camp, at lunch time and before hikes for filling personal water bottles. In some cases, we will re-supply water jugs with water filtered through a purification system we provide. (No iodine is used in the purification process.)
Hiking / Side Creek Exploration
Each day varies, but on an average you’ll spend 4-8 hours a day on the boats. The rest of the time will be spent hiking and exploring, eating, or just relaxing in camp. We generally plan at least one guided hike a day, depending on conditions. There is ample opportunity for the curious to explore the area at length. Please let your trip leader know if you are an avid hiker and remember to bring extra water bottles and good shoes. Remember, however, that all hikes are optional and you can choose to lie on the beach and take in a few tanning rays or read a book instead. Lastly, the Trip Leader must consider to overall ability of the group when deciding what hikes to offer.
You can obtain a Utah fishing license at www.wildlife.utah.gov/fishing/ or at the Vernal Wal-Mart (435) 789-9784, which is a 5-minute drive from the OARS warehouse. You need to bring your own fishing gear. Please bring your rod in a protective hard case.
The Portable Toilet
While the idea of a river trip is appealing to most people, many are inhibited or reluctant because of modesty or uncertainty. To minimize our impact, we carry out all solid human waste and use a portable toilet system that is set up each day at camp in a secluded location a discrete distance from tent sites. It is essentially a toilet without plumbing and is available from the time you pull into camp each afternoon until you leave camp the next day. Toilet paper and a convenient hand-washing station are provided.
We also carry a small container called the “day tripper” that can be easily accessed during the day should the need arise. It is a personal disposable toilet, which includes an odor-proof transport bag, chemical solidifier and odor eliminator, toilet paper and an oversized hand wipe.
On popular stretches of wilderness rivers, the common refrain is “dilution is the solution to pollution.” We practice this approach by urinating in the river during the day. For use in camp at night we provide pee buckets so that urination can occur in a secluded location and then be dumped into the current where it will be carried downstream. Please follow your guide’s direction in sanitizing the pee buckets.
Bathing is allowed in the Green and Colorado Rivers, but must be done with biodegradable soap. It is not, however, allowed in any of the side streams that feed into the river. If you plan to bring soap, we recommend Campsuds or Dr. Bronner’s, which can be purchased in most stores that have a camping section. Disposable anti-bacterial towelettes (Coleman Swash Cloths, baby wipes, etc.) are good alternatives to submersion in the river and are especially convenient.
For Women Only
Even if you aren’t anticipating your menstrual period, come prepared for it. You can use sandwich-sized Ziploc baggies during the day to store feminine products while you are on the river or hiking, and you can then discretely dispose of the baggies when you reach camp. When possible, we recommend o.b.® tampons, which are 1/3 the size of regular tampons, tuck discreetly into pockets and have less paper wrapping. If you use pads, be sure to bring extras. Many women suggest bringing a small supply of baby wipes. We provide some feminine products on most trips for emergencies.
We provide a small waterproof bag (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. We also strongly recommend you take out a rider on your homeowner’s policy to cover your camera—especially if it’s fine equipment. Make sure to bring additional memory cards, batteries and any other extras you will need. Disposable waterproof and panorama cameras are also a fun option.
Electronics & Technology
The use of electronic devices, especially music players and flying drones, on your trip may represent an intrusion into the wilderness experience of your fellow guests. We ask that you be mindful of the impacts to others and respect the wilderness nature of the trip. Please bring headphones if you intend to listen to music during the trip and leave your drone at home*.
Many of our guests travel with their smartphone even though there is no cell service. On a trip like this, there is always the risk of water damage to smartphones and other electronic devices, even when they are stowed in a dry bag. If you intend to take your phone with you on the river, consider investing in a small, waterproof container just for your phone.
*The use of drones is prohibited by the National Park Service and the Bureau of Land Management while on the river.
We are not able to provide a power source for recharging devices. To keep cameras, phones, GPS and other devices working you may need spare batteries or portable power. Options include compact portable solar panels that can recharge devices directly, portable power banks that store power, or a combo unit that can be charged before the trip and recharged with a built-in solar panel.
Once you are on the river there is limited communication with the “outside world.” Cell phone service is not available. Our guides carry satellite phones which are strictly used to call out in case of an emergency situation on the river. They can call out, but we cannot call them. Periodically the trip leader will check in with our office. If you have someone that needs to contact you about an emergency at home, they should call our office (800-342-8243). If possible, we will relay the message to you. Keep in mind, however, it could be several days or longer before the message actually reaches you. For your family at home you should define for them what you consider an emergency and provide them with instructions to call our office in the event one occurs during your vacation.
Fire activity frequently impacts the air quality on our trips, and occasionally wildfires may be present in the immediate vicinity of where we’re traveling. Smoke impacts are more likely in the latter-half of the summer season, so those with asthma or other respiratory conditions may wish to steer clear of this time frame. In general, we will not cancel a trip on account of smoky conditions, except in cases of clear danger to life or property. Necessary changes to logistics and/or destination may occur with very short notice as fire conditions are constantly changing. We will do our best to keep you apprised of excessively smoky conditions that can be foreseen for your upcoming trip, but we also encourage you to stay informed about local fire activity: https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/.
Our standard cancellation terms & conditions apply should you choose to cancel due to environmental conditions resulting from a wildfire near to where our trip operates. Please review our Terms & Conditions section in this document, below. Furthermore, we recommend you consider investing in a comprehensive Travel Protection Plan that provides you the ability to “cancel for any reason” should you feel conditions from a nearby wildfire may result in you canceling your reservation.
Our guides do not carry firearms on our trips, and in most cases, are prohibited from doing so by the managing agency. As a matter of preference, we ask all our guests to kindly leave your own firearms at home or in your vehicle.
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 respective 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. The Green River continues on until the confluence with the Colorado River. The flow of the Colorado River through Cataract Canyon is generally unregulated, meaning no single reservoir controls the water level. Peak run-off through Cataract Canyon usually occurs 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. 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 flotation 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
Click on this link for helpful information about packing for your trip: https://www.oars.com/video/pack-river-rafting-trip/
During the day—Start with a swimsuit and/or swim trunks and synthetic or merino wool shirt as a base layer. Additional layers for sun protection or insulation can be added and subtracted depending on the weather, temperature and how wet you’re getting in the rapids.
In camp—When the weather is warm, lightweight cotton pants/skirt or shorts and shirt make great camp wear. Anytime the forecast calls for cool evenings and cold nights, a dry set of long underwear is the perfect base layer under long pants and a fleece sweater.
During the day—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.
In camp—We recommend wearing shoes in camp due to risk of kicking a rock buried in the sand or stepping on a sharp stick. The athletic shoes or light hikers you bring for hiking can double as your camp shoes. It’s nice to put on dry socks and shoes after a day on the water. Flip flops or slip-on sandals are OK for wearing in camp only. Please note: If you buy new shoes or sandals for the trip, make sure you break them in first!
During the day—Wide-brimmed hats are a good choice for sun protection. Ball caps are also useful since they fit under helmets, which are required attire when paddling our whitewater rivers.
In camp—When the weather is cool or cold, you’ll want a beanie-style hat to wear in camp. They are the perfect remedy for bed-head as you rise from your sleeping bag to secure your morning cup of coffee or tea, or for retaining warmth in the evening hours after the sun sets.
Hot Weather Trips
During summer months, conditions on the river may be hot and sunny. These trips require less gear than spring or fall trips, but thoughtful packing is still required. Protection from the sun and heat will be critical to your enjoyment and health while on the river and during side hikes. To protect yourself from the sun’s rays, consider bringing long-sleeved shirts and pants.
A good way to keep cool is with a sarong or long-sleeved cotton shirts. Old collared dress shirts work well. They can be soaked in the water and worn in the raft or carried on a hike for later use. This method of evaporative cooling is very effective. Bandanas are another useful item that can be used in this manner. Camp-wear should be made of cotton and be loose-fitting. A combination of shorts/skirt and a lightweight top is ideal for staying cool on hot afternoons.
To Avoid Being Cold
Synthetic or merino wool long underwear is a must-have on any river trip. It can be worn under shorts, rain gear, T-shirts, etc., then stripped off when the chill of the morning has worn off. It keeps you warm even if it’s wet (which can happen easily), dries quickly, and it’s compact enough to be stuffed into your small waterproof bag or daypack after you take it off. It can be layered under your waterproof rain jacket and pants. In cooler weather a rain jacket and pants work better than a wetsuit, because the jacket and pants can be put on when it’s cold, or when you’re going through whitewater, then easily taken off when the sun comes out and it’s hot. Be aware that cotton items, once wet, do not insulate; only synthetic and wool materials will keep you warm during cool, wet weather.
Something warm for your top & bottom: You need to be prepared for inclement weather. Bring a good fleece or wool top and bottom, along with a warm hat and gloves. You’ll want to double up on your base layers so that you’ll have a set to wear in the boat and a set of warm, dry clothes for camp.
June Trips: This is surely one of the most beautiful months to be on the Green River, but June can also produce some surprisingly chilly times. During the spring, the sun is not far enough North in the sky for its warming rays to reach down into the river canyon for as many hours a day as it does in the summer. This means more shady areas, fewer sunny ones. Therefore, when you are splashed (drenched) going through the rapids and you’re in a shady area, you will get very cold unless you are prepared.
Rain gear protects you from rain, wind and the splash of the rapids. It is one of the essential items that all passengers should have no matter what time of year you are traveling. Look for jacket and pants that are 100% waterproof, not just water resistant. A hooded jacket is recommended as well as good secure closures around your head, neck, wrists and ankles. Do not bring a rain poncho as it cannot be worn under your PFD.
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
Bugs and mosquitoes can be very bothersome at times in certain areas on the Green and Colorado, 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 and a head net. Long sleeved shirts and pants may be desirable at times.
We supply a professionally laundered sleeping bag with liner, a pillow with a freshly laundered pillowcase, a sleeping pad, a ground tarp as well as a shared tent. The complete customized sleep kit that we provide is designed for your comfort and maximizes available luggage space. Our sleeping bags are degree rated depending on the season and are 33” x 84,” which is longer than the normal (80”).
Suggested Packing List
Equipment and Personal Items:
☐ Two 1-liter water bottles: durable and reusable
☐ Locking carabiner (for clipping a water bottle or personal dry bag into a raft or inflatable kayak
☐ Headlamp or flashlight (consider bringing extra batteries)
☐ Sunglasses (preferably polarized) with securing strap (consider bringing a spare)
☐ Small, quick-drying towel
☐ Toiletries, including biodegradable soap (such as Campsuds or Dr. Bronner’s)
☐ Sunscreen and lip protection: waterproof & SPF 30 or higher (aerosol sprays not recommended)
☐ Moisturizing lotion or cream
☐ Insect repellent
☐ Personal first aid kit (Band-aids, antibiotic ointment, ibuprofen, moleskin, eye drops, etc.)
☐ Spare pair of glasses and/or contacts
☐ Cash for gratuities
☐ River shoes or sandals with a heel strap (such as those made by Chaco® chacos.com)
“Aqua socks” strongly discouraged
☐ Athletic shoes or light hikers: for hikes or in camp
☐ Hiking socks
☐ Long-sleeved shirts: lightweight and light color for sun protection (old dress shirts work well)
☐ Long pants: lightweight and light color for sun protection
☐ Shade hat or visor with securing strap – flexible enough to fit under your helmet
☐ Rain jacket & pants: waterproof (not water resistant) A hooded jacket with secure closures is recommended
☐ Swimsuit / Trunks: 2-piece suits recommended for women. Tankinis are a great option
☐ Shorts: 1-2 pair
☐ T-shirts/tops: 1-2
☐ Synthetic or merino wool long underwear: 1 set top & bottom (light-, mid- or expedition-weight depending on the time of year, weather, location)
☐ Jacket: fleece or down/synthetic fill puffy (depending on the time of year, weather, location)
☐ Camp clothes: comfortable and appropriate for season. Cotton recommended for hot weather trips
Additional Essentials for early-season trips:
☐ Wetsuit booties and/or neoprene, wool or synthetic socks (for wearing inside your river shoes)
☐ Fleece top & bottom
☐ Warm hat and gloves: synthetic or wool
☐ Extra set of synthetic or merino wool long underwear top and bottom
☐ Neoprene paddling gloves
☐ Camera and accessories
☐ Sarong:useful for sun protection, evaporative cooling, changing clothes, etc
☐ Small day pack, waist pack or hydration pack for side hikes
☐ Bathing wipes: pre-moistened disposable towels
☐ Small bags: stuff sacs, zip locks or similar for organizing items in your dry bag
☐ Large empty bag: laundry bag, pillow case or similar for putting clothes into after your trip
☐ Ear plugs
☐ Splash jacket and pants
☐ Lightweight cord and clothespins for drying clothes
☐ Sketchbook, notebook and pen, paperback book
☐ Feminine Urinary Device (for women only)
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.
Packing Your Gear
At the pre-trip meeting each person will be given one large waterproof bag (approximate sealed size: 13” diameter x 25” tall; 3318 cu in; 54.4 L), for your clothing and personal items. A second bag for your sleeping gear (sleeping bag, sleeping pad, ground tarp, sheet and pillow) will be packed and waiting for you. These two bags will be your “checked luggage” and will only be accessible in camp. Tents are stowed separately. We also provide a small waterproof bag for day use where you can keep items such as raingear, camera, sunscreen, lip balm, etc. (approximate sealed size: 17” tall x 9” diameter; 1081 cu in; 17.7 L). The bags are cylindrical in shape and pack from the top. Please pack light, and keep in mind that river attire is casual: comfort, convenience and boat space take precedence over style. At the end of the trip, you will return to Vernal with your waterproof bags, where you will be able to unpack your gear before your trip home.
We recommend you take on the river only what’s absolutely necessary. Keeping gear to a minimum insures it will fit into the waterproof bags we supply and reduces unnecessary packing and unpacking in camp. If you do have extra luggage you will need to store it in your vehicle, or you may check with the trip leader about storing small items in the OARS office.
We recommend that you leave your valuables at home. For personal items like wallets, purses and cell phones, we recommend putting them in a zip-lock bag at the bottom of your waterproof bag with your clothing. You may also check with the trip leader about storing them in the OARS office.
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.
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Terms & Conditions
Reservations and Deposits
A $1000/person deposit is required at the time of booking. Deposits may be made by check, money order or Visa/Mastercard (American Express and Discover incur a 3% processing fee). Receipt of the initial deposit signifies acceptance of our complete Terms and Conditions. Individual departures and trip capacity are strictly limited by the managing agency. Cancelling your trip will incur cancellation fees because holding spots for you means we are likely turning others away who would like to book the trip. Final payment is due 90 days prior to departure. Accounts on which final payment has not been received 80 days prior to the departure date will be cancelled without exception.
Cancellations and Refunds
Your deposit is fully refundable for 7 days after you book when you submit a deposit 7 days or more prior to the final payment due date.
If you must cancel your reservation after the rescission period described above, your cancellation fee will be determined according to the schedule below. We do not make exceptions to the cancellation policy for any reason, including weather, wildfire, terrorism, civil unrest or personal emergencies. There is no refund for arriving late or leaving a trip early.
|Date of Cancellation||Cancellation Fee|
|360 or more days prior to your trip||$100 per person|
|359 – 180 days prior to your trip||$250 per person|
|179 – 120 days prior to your trip||$500 per person|
|119 – 90 days prior to your trip||$750, balance available as a limited-time trip credit|
|89 days or less prior to your trip||Full Fare*|
*If we are able to fill the trip and replace the cancelled passengers, the fee will be reduced to $250/person.
Please note that different deposit/cancellation policies may apply for charter groups. Refer to the group organizer’s confirmation e-mail for details.
If you transfer from one trip to another within the same season, there is a $25/person fee up until 120 days prior to departure. You may choose to make a one-time transfer of your payments to a credit account for use during the following season, which incurs a $50/person fee up until 120 days prior to departure. Transfers made after this time will be treated as cancellations.
Under most circumstances, if you are of an adventurous spirit and in reasonably good health, you should have no problem enjoying an OARS Canyonlands trip. People with medical conditions, including pregnancy, should have a physician’s approval before taking an adventure travel trip.
We offer the OARS Travel Protection Plan to help protect you, your travel investment and your belongings before and during your trip. Travel Protection can reimburse you for non-refundable payments if you should have to cancel your trip for a covered reason such as your illness or the illness of an immediate family member. For complete details go online to: https://www.oars.com/tpp
If you enrolled in a Trip Mate policy through OARS on or before December 9, 2018, the policy is still in place and will be administered by Trip Mate through the end date of your scheduled travel with OARS. All information provided in regards to the Trip Mate policy remains relevant. For a complete description of your Trip Mate policy, go online to: http://www.tripmate.com/wpF431Z or call Trip Mate at 800-888-7292 (reference Plan # F431Z).
Everyone is required to sign a standard liability release form before the trip, acknowledging awareness that there are inherent risks associated with the trip. 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 Hatch 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 4 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.