Morning sunlight on Colorado's Dinosaur National Monument

Colorado Whitewater Rafting

Colorado Rafting Adventures

The waters of northwest Colorado will transport you back in time beneath towering peaks flowing through sandstone and limestone canyons with rock formations rich in prehistory. Our Colorado whitewater rafting journeys set an easy pace and feature an endless combination of exploratory side hikes, quiet beach camps, and fun Class III whitewater.

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Adventures in Colorado


Yampa River Rafting

4 or 5 Days 4.92 (51)

Location: Colorado & Utah
Adventure Level: Moderately Challenging
Minimum Age: 7 (10 – 12 during high water)


Frequently Asked Questions

Have more questions?

Where does OARS operate in Colorado?

OARS maintains a boathouse in Vernal, Utah, and operates rafting trips that begin in Colorado on the Yampa River and Green River through the heart of Dinosaur National Monument.

What is the best time to go on a rafting trip in Colorado?

Rafting the Yampa River means experiencing the one major tributary in the Colorado River system that runs wild and free of upstream dams. Waters originate from the melting snows of the Colorado Rockies, so the water depends entirely on run-off. The Yampa River rafting season generally runs from early May through June and sometimes into July, though conditions can change depending on the year’s snowpack.

The Green River through the Gates of Lodore has reliable flows throughout the spring and summer. High water is most common in May and June.

Are Colorado rafting trips good for families?

Rafting the Green River through the Gates of Lodore with OARS is an ideal Colorado whitewater rafting adventure for families, couples, and solo travelers. Three- to 5-day trips begin in northwestern Colorado and end near the Split Mountain campground in northeastern Utah. The river cuts through the Uinta Mountains—the largest east-west mountain range this side of Alaska—exposing some of the most dramatic scenery on any river in the Western U.S. and offering up fun and consistent Class II-III rapids perfect for inflatable kayaking. Side hikes lead to waterfalls, swimming holes, and stunning views of the river.

There is no better time spent with friends and family than under a night sky as our guides prepare a delicious feast. You’ll spend the remainder of the evening being serenaded by the sounds of water rushing over rocks, the wind tossing wild grasses and trees’ leaves, and possibly the songs of crickets and frogs.

As the big spring flows subside, the Yampa River is also great for adventurous families in mid- to late June.

What will I see while rafting in Dinosaur National Monument?

The Dinosaur National Monument Quarry contains the last remains of the largest creatures to ever walk the planet. Sauropods—huge, long-necked, long-tailed, plant-eating dinosaurs—were the dominant animals of the late Jurassic Period. The bones of several kinds of sauropods make up about three-fourths of all the fossils found in the Quarry. This includes the diplodocus, the barosaurus, and the apatosaurus or brontosaurus, which measured 75 feet in length and weighed as much as 34 tons.

Besides fossils and paleontological riches of Dinosaur National Monument, the riverbanks of the Green and Yampa protect Native American petroglyphs, pictographs, and critical habitat for the endangered peregrine falcon, bald eagle, Colorado pikeminnow, and razorback sucker. Black bear, river otter, beaver, mule deer, and moose are occasionally spotted from the river, and bighorn sheep are a common site.

Why raft with OARS in Colorado?

OARS Colorado whitewater rafting trips are truly Rocky Mountain highs. Yampa River rafting and Green River rafting trips are a great alternative to our longer river trips in Grand Canyon and are perfectly suited for first-time rafters, younger kids, and teens. And the prices of our Colorado rafting adventures are perfect for a family-sized vacation budget.

The Yampa was one of the first rivers George Wendt ever ran, and it always retained a special place in his heart. More than 50 years later, our family-owned and operated company knows the rivers of northwest Colorado better than anyone, and our friendly and knowledgeable river guides understand what it takes to create memories that you and your family will cherish for a lifetime.

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Rafts by the side of a river in Colorado.

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