Things To Bring On A River Trip

River Extras: Things to bring that will make your trip a little better

Figuring out what to bring on a river trip can be tough. Following the pack list is a great place to go for the essentials, but there are a few things not on the pack list that might make your trip a bit more spectacular.

Rain Gear

Okay this is cheating a bit because it’s on the pack list, but you are going to want a rain jacket and rain pants.  It’s the most common thing people don’t bring and wish they had. You may say “it doesn’t rain in the desert” or “I checked the forecast,” and be tempted not to bring a raincoat, but the desert environment of Dinosaur National Monument means that while storms are few and far between, the place seems to give up when it starts to rain and the sky bursts into a biblical downpour, sometimes lasting for hours. However, the Monument is kind to its guests, understanding that you are now cold and wet and as a thank you, it often cries waterfalls down the steep sandstone, easily one of the most beautiful things you have ever seen. A good raincoat and pants, not a poncho, will make it more pleasant for you to enjoy the uncommon beauty of the monument.

A Star Map or Book of Mythology

Dinosaur is the darkest national park or monument in the country, the canyon walls stretch high above, pointing at a billion stars you’ve never seen, twisting your mind towards a story you half remember of a Greek Myth.  A Star Map or book of myths will help you remember these stories and identify which stars belong to each constellation.


Musical Instrument

Instruments are a wonderful addition to a campfire. If you have a case you are comfortable putting it in we can find a way to waterproof most things… maybe not a cello, but bring along your guitar, trumpet, ukulele or violin and serenade us for an evening. Don’t worry about your skill level either, everything sounds better next to the river.

Pro Tip: Bring along a song book with lyrics and notes just in case you forget the words- remember, there won’t be any internet.

Music’s not your thing?  Bring along whatever you happen to be a lover of poetry, prose, watercolors or interpretive dance. Seriously, we have had guests read poems at the fire for hours. You’ll have a captive audience so give us a show!

Dress Up

Huh? Yep, costume parties are known to happen, so if you’ve recently found a velvet green trench coat with matching tutu at your local thrift store, bring it along. You might have the opportunity to show it off. If you aren’t a costume person, or don’t have one, don’t worry about it! Your guides will likely have a stash to share.

 Volleyball/Frisbee/Soccer Ball

Many of the camps and beaches along the way are perfect for a game of ultimate Frisbee, or a make shift game of Volleyball. If there are a few minutes to kill, you’ll likely be able to coerce at least a few guides to play with you. Just be careful not to lose the ball in the river, and be ready for some serious smack talk from the guides.

  Anything you think you might want

While this is a backcountry trip it isn’t a backpacking trip. If there is anything you are on the fence about bringing, feel free to ask, but chances are we will tell you to bring it along. The boats are blessed with Mary Poppins Magic, so trust us, we can find a place for it.

Top 5 Things To Do When Visiting Vernal, Utah

#1 – White Water River Rafting
Dinosaur River Expeditions is the only locally owned and operated outfitter in the area. Vernal, Utah and the Northeastern corner of Utah has several amazing white water river rafting options to choose from. The Green River Begins in central Wyoming and winds its way through Utah and the corner of Colorado until it eventually meets the Colorado river in Southern Utah. Just outside of Vernal there are two really popular rafting options.

The first is a very fun one day river rafting adventure beginning at Flaming Gorge Dam traveling 7 miles to Little Hole. This stretch of the Green is a beautiful scenic river rafting trip. What to expect on a day trip? Great guides, excellent riverside lunch, fun rapids and incredible scenery. This trip is perfect for families with young kids who are not sure about a river adventure.

The most popular option on the Green River is the Gates of Lodore. This is a 4 day river rafting trip that floats for 44 miles through the heart of Dinosaur National Monument. Great rapids like Disaster Falls, Moonshine, Triplet Falls will excite you. Delectable meals will savor your palate, incredible scenery will take your breath away and the guides will take impeccable care of your ever need.
The Yampa River also flows through Dinosaur National Monument. This 72 mile river trip is best done over 5 days. You can take it in 4 days but we recommend the 5 day to get the most out of this adventure. The Yampa River is the 3rd hardest river trip to get a seat on in the U.S. You will want to book this adventure well in advance.

#2 – Dinosaur National Monument
With over 200,000 acres to explore you can spend a lifetime visiting this gem of the park service and never see it all. If you can put a river trip into your schedule while visiting the monument you will not regret it.
Definitely make time to see the fossil quarry. You will be able to get up close and personal with the wall of bones. An amazing collection of intact dinosaur fossils and great displays.

#3 – Mountain Biking
Vernal has some world class single track mountain bike trails some within 15 minutes of downtown. McCoy Flats is the most popular riding area with a fabulous selection of trails from beginner to expert. If you are new to riding try the Cookies and Combo loop, it has gently rolling hills, great views and is beginner in fitness and ability. If you want to challenge yourself my favorite is Jackalope to Serendipity. This loop is intermediate to expert with a good climb at the beginning and some really exciting downhill to finish it out. Check with the local bike shop Altitude Cycle to find out the best spot for you to ride.

#4 – Native American Rock Art
Not far out of town you will find McConkie Ranch with an astounding collection of Fremont petroglyphs and pictographs. It is an easy hike along the cliff face where you are able to get up close and personal to 700-year-old rock art drawings. We offer guided daily hikes and McConkie Ranch is just one of the many places we love to show off. Give us a call and ask about our other hiking options.

#5 – Local Lakes

Two beautiful lakes are minutes from downtown. Steinaker and Red Fleet State Parks offer great campsites, sandy beaches, fishing, stand up paddle boarding and more.