Yampa River Rafting
Raft through Dinosaur National Monument
Yampa River Rafting
$1,299 - $1,399 per person
Length: 5 days/71 miles
Price: $1299– $1,399 per person
Optional Rentals: sleeping bag + pad ($40/person), 2-person tent ($40/tent)
Season: May – July
Min. Age: 8 years during July; 12 years during May and June
Activity: Class III(one IV) Whitewater Rafting and Inflatable Kayaking
Meeting Place: Vernal, Utah
Ending Place: Vernal, Utah
Yampa River Rafting Details
Meet at 8:00 pm the evening before the trip in Vernal, Utah at the Microtel Inn and Suites. During the pre-trip meeting, the guides will distribute dry bags for packing your gear, review trip and shuttle information, and answer last-minute questions. While convenient, it is not necessary to stay at the Microtel.
At the time designated during the pre-trip meeting a bus will transport the group from the Microtel two hours to the Yampa River put-in at Deerlodge Park, Colorado to start this Dinosaur National Monument rafting trip. Once in Colorado there will be a liquor store stop to pick up beverages for the trip. Transporting alcoholic beverages across state lines is illegal except while on the river. After a short safety and orientation briefing, you will launch on the river into Yampa canyon.
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A hearty breakfast and fresh coffee get each day started on the river before packing your dry bags and loading into the rafts. Yampa rafting trips typically float 5 to 18 miles over 5 hours with multiple stops to visit historic sites, take short walks, scout rapids and partake in a riverside lunch. Typically, trips run the class IV rapid, Warm Springs at the end of day 3. Arrival at camp will be later in the afternoon with time to hike, swim and relax.
The last morning starts early due to being the longest river day with numerous rapids including those in Split Mountain Canyon. Arriving at the Split Mountain boat ramp around 3 PM, a 40 minute ride takes you back to the Microtel. Expect to arrive there around 4 or 5 pm.
All the group camping and river-related safety equipment is included along with plenty of fresh food and snacks starting with lunch on the first day through lunch on the last day. There will be plenty of water but if you would like soda, beer, wine, or liquor with your dinner, please bring your own, (beer and soda in cans; wine in boxes or bags; hard liquor in plastic bottles purchased on the way to put-in).
You are expected to supply your own camping and sleep gear. However, you can also rent tents, pads, and sleeping bags for the trip (prices can be seen in the facts above). Transportation from Vernal to the put-in point, and take-out point back to Vernal is included.
Guides appreciate gratuities for their efforts. Typically, tips are around 10% to 15% of the trip cost and can be given to the head guide to be evenly distributed among the crew. That being said, the choice to tip is yours and depends upon your feelings about the trip and tipping in general as well as your financial means.
What to Expect
Making the most of your Yampa River Rafting trip
We find people have the most fun when they bring a flexible attitude. Rafting trips are an adventure with the guides continually adjusting plans to make the most of each day. Consider leaving your watch behind allowing you to be more present.
May has cooler temperatures with highs averaging high 73°F and lows 50°F, which require extra layers. June through August is the warmest time to raft this area of Utah with highs around 90°F and lows around 50°F. As the rafting season winds down in September you can expect cooler weather, with highs averaging 77°F and lows averaging 43°F.
Boats & Group Size
Your main forms of transport will be oar rafts, a paddle boat, and inflatable kayaks for those who wish for a more interactive experience. The 18-foot long oar powered rafts carry three guests plus the guide, who maneuvers the raft with a set of oars mounted on the raft. Normally three to five boats travel together, and group sizes can be up to 25 guests, maximum.
The paddle raft is 14 feet long and carries six people plus a guide. Each person paddles as a guide calls out the paddling commands. When water levels are suitable, single, and two-person kayaks let you challenge the rapids on your own terms. Please note that space in a paddle raft or inflatable kayaks is not guaranteed. If more people wish to ride in these boats than there are spaces, paddlers will rotate so that everyone gets a chance to participate.
Rafting Camp Life
Whether you’re an experienced camper or it’s your first time under the stars, river camping is an enjoyable and relaxing camping experience. Everyone participates in setting up and breaking down camp. Guides set up a clean, private camp toilet first thing upon arrival at camp and dismantle just before embarking in the next morning.
There will be plenty of healthy tasty food on the trip. A full breakfast with cowboy coffee gets the day going. A riverside picnic sets the scene for lunch. Dinners can be anything from a steak, grilled filet of salmon, or a Mexican feast and may be followed by a hot, Dutch oven dessert. There are plenty of snacks and water available throughout the day. Alcoholic beverages are not included, but you are welcome to bring your own. When signing up for the trip you will have an opportunity to share any special dietary requirements.
Packing for your river trip
You will be provided with a suggested packing list after signing up for the trip. The key equipment is good river footwear and clothing that protects you from the rain and the sun. While rain rarely falls in the summer, proper rain gear will make it a much more joyful experience if it does. Here are some rain gear, footwear, and other clothing options we recommend.
Fishing in the Yampa River is not that good. However a stop on the fourth day, Jones Hole Creek, has excellent fishing. A Utah fishing license can be purchased online. Anglers must use artificial lures and flies only. Please bring your rod in a sturdy case.
Getting There and Away
It is possible to fly directly into Vernal via Denver on United. For transportation between the airport and your motel contact your motel or Basin Taxi: Vernal (435/414-1779). Alternatively, fly into Salt Lake City and rent a car for the 3 hour drive to Vernal.
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