White water rafting can be intimidating, especially if your only perspective is from the adventure documentary Congo: The Grand Inga Project. You might be thinking to yourself. “These people are insane! I don’t want to die in crocodile infested waters, with beaches unsafe for camping, where literally everyone dies!” Well not to worry. Not all white-water trips are the red bull version of a whitewater adventure. There a few levels of starting your rafting adventures ranging from a scenic float trip on the Green River below Flaming Gorge Dam to a four or five-day multi-day trip in Dinosaur National Monument on the Yampa River or Green River through the canyon Gates of Lodore.
The Scenic Float:
This trip is perfect for the beginners with young kids, people looking for a relaxing day out or someone unsure if white water rafting is for them. A scenic float typically involves a little bit of white water splashing in a beautiful place. They offer class I-II rapids, places for kids to swim in the water, a delicious lunch, and the option to use an inflatable kayak depending on the company you are booking through. It’s a great way to get a sense of what it’s like to float on a river raft trip. In Vernal, Utah Dinosaur River Expeditions is the only locally owned and operated outfitter we have a great day trip on the A-section of the Green River it is the ideal place for a scenic river float. It offers views of the beautiful Uinta mountains, a bit of geological and environmental history from your guides, and the potential to see a few bald eagles, great blue herons, mule deer and maybe a pronghorn antelope. This trip is a great activity if you are visiting the vernal area for a few days and want to spend a day on the water. https://www.dinosaurriverexpeditions.com/expedition/daily-trips-flaming-gorge-river-rafting/
The Mellow Multi Day:
Looking for more than a one day trip but you are still unsure about river trips with bigger rapids. We offer a great multi day option that can be just one night, or three, has class 2 and 3 rapids and will give you a great idea for what river camping is like, or glamping rather. A standard night on the river is going to include a campfire, a gourmet dinner complete with Dutch oven dessert, falling asleep to the sounds of the river, and a pancake or French-toast breakfast. This option is on the Utah section of the Green River from Flaming Gorge Dam to Brown’s Park. It’s a beautiful trip with class II rapids and lots of wildlife. The river tends to be much less populated on these lower sections of the river offering seclusion with your family and a chance to view Utah’s night sparkling sky. https://www.dinosaurriverexpeditions.com/expedition/green-river-flaming-gorge/
The Thrilling Four Day and Five Day:
If you tried the Splashy day trip and a mellow overnight and want to mash the two together, a thrilling four-day or five day trip is right up your ally. In Dinosaur National Monument, the Gates of Lodore on the Green River and the Yampa River are perfect multi day white water rafting adventures. They are classic white water adventures and will offer all the perks of a mellow overnight: great food, seclusion and wildlife with spicier rapids such as Warm Springs on the Yampa River or Hell’s Half Mile on the Green River through the Gates of Lodore. Your guides will know a lot about the area and be able to give you a fairly detailed history of the environment, and geology around you. If you already know you love camping and are a thrill seeker don’t be afraid to jump straight to either of these trips. They are great trips for a first timer or experienced river rafter a like!
After a four day Lodore you are ready for the Congo. Just kidding. This is not a river for beginners in any sense, unless you are beginning the late stages of a professional kayaking career.
Any of these style trips are a great place to start! A few tips: remember a water bottle, sunscreen and a rain jacket (YES A RAIN JACKET). Nothing ruins a trip fast than a sunburn and an angry dehydration headache. Listen to your guides and have fun! The river is a great place to let yourself have a little fun and embrace your inner child. Your amazing guides will make it as safe and fun of an experience as possible.
White Water River Rafting the Green River Gates of Lodore Dinosaur National Monument
Beginning in Brown’s Park, Colorado the Green River Gates of Lodore river rafting adventure takes its travelers on a 44 mile journey through the center of Dinosaur National Monument. This white water river rafting trip is a favorite among veteran river rafters and novices alike. The Green River has a consistent water flow year around, great rapids, beautiful camps a little bit of something for everyone along its way.
Flaming Gorge Dam located up river from the put in point to the Gates of Lodore trip provides a constant water source for this desert river. Because of this constant water supply the Green River is a great rafting trip all summer long. Whether you choose to take this trip in June or August it will be fabulous. The Green River Gates of Lodore has a sister river in Dinosaur National Monument the Yampa River. The Yampa River is one of the last free flowing rivers in the Colorado river system. With its free flowing nature the Yampa River has a limited time frame where it is navigable. The Yampa River has its best rafting Mid May through Mid June during the time of the snow melt from the Colorado Rockies.
Our Green River Gates of Lodore trip begins in Vernal, Utah. We have a pre trip orientation the evening before your trips departure. This orientation gives your group a chance to meet the guides, get your dry bags for the trip and answer any last minute questions. The following morning the bags are loaded and we drive you from Vernal to Brown’s Park where you will meet the guides and begin the river adventure.
At the put in point the crew will direct you on how to most safely travel on a white water rafting trip. Fit you with a PFD or personal flotation device. Help guide each guest on the different white water craft that will be on the trip and give you a short overview of some of the back country travel concepts you will follow on this journey. This orientation takes about 30 to 40 minutes in length depending on your groups size. Once you are loaded on the rafts the journey truly begins. You are free of cell phones, traffic and work getting to relax enjoying some of the most incredible scenery in the state of Colorado and Utah.
As you enter the canyon of Lodore you will experience your first rapid Winnie’s a fun class two rapid with a little excitement to it. The rapids on the Gates of Lodore trip range from Class two to occasionally class four (depending on water levels). On this section of river the rapid classification is based on Class one being calm water to class six being unrunable white water. The most famous rapid on this trip is Hell’s Half Mile a class 3 or class 4 rapid which has been ranked as one of the 10 most famous rapids in North America. Do not let the classification scare you the guides on our trips are very experienced and take every precaution to navigate the white water rapids as safely as possible. The river is a wild place and things can happen that are out of anyone’s control.
The white water is one of the trips highlights but not the only thing that makes it special. The camping and hiking is also phenomenal. Each camp has great swimming, beautiful tent sites and the scenery never stops taking your breath away. At each evenings camp the guides will set up the main camp equipment while you take care of your tent and sleeping gear. Early evening the guides will astound you with a dutch oven dinner and all the extra’s. A typical dinner would begin with appetizers followed by an amazing meal prepared by your guide staff. You will even be surprised by their baking skills when they serve up the evenings desert cooked in a dutch oven under the coals. In the morning the smell of freshly brewed coffee will fill the air. A hearty breakfast will begin your day followed by breaking down camp and preparing the rafts for that days river adventure.
We have talked about camp and rapids but what about hiking? Dinosaur National Monument has some of the most incredible hiking opportunities of any of the National Parks. Your guides based on group interests, weather and assigned camps will lead you on some incredible hikes throughout the trip. A couple of the hikes that are most popular are Jones Hole Creek. This hike can be a 5 mile round trip hike where you will see some fantastic Native American rock art, waterfalls and wildlife. All the while you will be following Jones Creek a beautiful spring fed creek, crystal clear and teaming with trout. In Echo Park your guides will lead you to Whispering Cave (do not forget your headlamp) and to another fine rock art site. Winnie’s Grotto is a short hike with spectacular scenery, this hike is typically a first day lunch stop.