Experience Your Own Jurassic World on a Colorado Rafting Adventure with OARS
Spilling from the western slopes of the “mile-high” Rocky Mountains—legendary for their winter snows—the surging spring rapids of the Yampa River and Green River flow 150 million years into the heart of Dinosaur National Monument. Fossils of more than half of all the different dinosaurs that lived in North America in the Jurassic Period are found in the 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.
Beside 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.
The waters of northwest Colorado will transport you back in time beneath towering peaks flowing through sandstone and granite canyons with rock formations rich in prehistory. Our Colorado river rafting journeys set an easy pace and feature an endless combination of exploratory side hikes, quiet beach camps and fun Class III whitewater.
Rafting in Dinosaur National Monument
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. Each spring, this river offers thrilling whitewater, including rapids such as Teepee, Little Joe and Big Joe and Warm Springs.
OARS Founder and President, George Wendt, was present at the formation of Warm Springs Rapid in June 1965, which writer Tim Neville eloquently documents in his article “A Float on the Wild Side.”
It’s not all about whitewater, however, as there are long stretches of calm water meandering past colorful and dramatic canyon walls—scenery that rivals the Grand Canyon. Short hikes lead past abundant wildlife and ancient Native American sites, as well as to waterfalls, caves, petroglyphs, old cowboy hideouts, side canyon oases and more. Cozy and scenic campsites await your arrival at the end of each day spent on this memorable river.
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. 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.
We also offer daily Green River rafting trips through Split Mountain Canyon in Dinosaur National Monument. This short and fun Class II-III trip covers approximately nine river miles and is arguably the most scenic one-day rafting trip in North America.
Why OARS in Colorado?
Looking for a great introduction to multi-day rafting, a quick getaway or a family adventure in Colorado? OARS Colorado white water 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 the Grand Canyon and 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 retains a special place in his heart today. 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.
OARS sets the industry standard for high-quality service and excellence in adventure. We have led more than 500,000 guests to some of the most beautiful places on Earth, never losing sight of one of our foremost goals: to make the joys of the wilderness accessible to everyone—no matter how experienced. Our guides are safety-conscious with extensive experience and our team of friendly and knowledgeable Adventure Consultants are available year-round to answer your calls and help plan your Colorado rafting vacation. Our company is routinely honored for its adventures and our customer service. National Geographic Adventure, Outside and Sunset magazines have proclaimed O.A.R.S. adventures as some of the “Best Trips on the Planet” and in 2015 veteran OARS boatman Lars Haarr was honored as Outside Magazine’s “Best River Guide” in their annual “Best of Travel” issue.
We care about the places we visit. OARS follows “minimum impact” travel procedures by traveling in small groups and avoiding areas that are under-managed or over-visited. We’re a proud partner of Leave No Trace and we actively train our guides and seek to educate our guests in LNT practices. We supply reusable insulated travel mugs on all of our multi-day trips and encourage our guests to refuse single use products. Each year, in partnership with our guests, we actively support the Utah Rivers Council, Friends of the Yampa and other regional conservation efforts through voluntary traveler donations and fundraising events. Our offices in California and Grand Canyon are also 100% solar powered.
O.A.R.S. Canyonlands, Inc. is an authorized concessioner of Dinosaur National Monument