Gates of Lodore Rafting, Green River
Whitewater raft through Dinosaur National Monument in northern Utah.
Gates of Lodore Rafting, Green River
Your river rafting journey begins in dramatic fashion as you float through the Gates of Lodore, two 800-foot buttresses marking entry into the high desert. From there, you travel 45 miles through the canyons of Lodore, Whirlpool and Split Mountain. The chief tributary of the Colorado River, the Green River was first run by John Wesley Powell on his famous 1869 expedition.
Gates of Lodore Rafting Video
All within Dinosaur National Monument, the area contains intriguing geological formations at nearly every bend of the river as well as sightings of fossils and ancient dinosaur remains. Keep an eye out for herons, geese, eagles, osprey, river otters, bighorn sheep, and more as you float past beautiful riparian habitat. Enjoy numerous side canyon hikes up to waterfalls, trout streams, and Native American ruins.
By the end of the trip you will have followed in the steps of early explorers while rafting fun rapids including Disaster Falls, Triplet Falls, and Hells Half Mile. For extra thrills, grab a paddle and run some of the easy to moderate rapids in an inflatable kayak. The water temperature on this part of the river is chilly, which offers relief on warm summer days.
$1,199 - $1,299 per person
Length: 4 days/45 miles
Price: $1199 – $1299 per person
Optional Rentals: sleeping bag + pad ($40/person), 2-person tent ($40/tent)
Season: May – September
Min. Age: 8 years during Low Water Levels; 10 years during High Water Levels
Activity: Class III/III+ Whitewater Rafting and Inflatable Kayaking
Meeting Place: Vernal, Utah
Ending Place: Vernal, Utah
Gates of Lodore Rafting, Green River 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. It is not necessary to stay at the Microtel.
For those wishing to camp before or after their rafting trip it is available 30 minutes from Vernal in Dinosaur National Monument. Campsites can be reserved in Split Mountain or Green River Campgrounds.
At the time designated during the pre-trip meeting a bus will transport the group from the Microtel three hours to the put-in at Gates of Lodore Campground in the Colorado portion Dinosaur National Monument. 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 around noon. From the launch, a short float take you to the first camp set deep in Lodore Canyon.
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Days 2 and 3
A hearty breakfast and fresh coffee get each day started on the river before packing your dry bags and loading into the rafts. Gates of Lodore trips typically raft 8 to 12 miles over 4 to 5 hours with multiple stops to visit historic sites, take short walks, scout rapids and partake in a riverside lunch. Arrival at camp will be later in the afternoon with time to hike, swim and relax.
The last morning starts early since it is 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 glass 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). The price also includes transportation from Vernal to the put-in point, and take-out point back to Vernal. Some people prefer to have their car shuttled to take-out (additional cost) so they can stay out on the Oregon Coast at the end of their trip. (see more information below).
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 trip
We find people have the most fun when they are flexible. Rafting trips provide an adventure with the guides continually adjusting the plans to make the most of each day as it is presented. It can be nice to leave your watch behind.
Cooler May temperatures (average high 73°F, low 50°F) require extra layers, but allow for longer hikes. Temperatures range from 85-95°F in Utah’s hottest months of June through August. As the rafting season winds down in September, you can expect cooler weather with highs averaging 77°F and lows around 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. Oar powered rafts are about 18 feet long and 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 22 guests, maximum.
The paddle raft is 14 feet long and carries six people plus a guide. Each person is responsible for paddling 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.
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. A clean, private camp toilet is set up first thing upon arrival at camp and it is the last thing to be dismantled 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 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 Green River is not that good. However a stop on the third 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 Tax: Vernal (435/414-1779). Another option is fly into Salt Lake City and rent a car for the 3 hour drive to Vernal.
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