TRAVEL ALERT: Please follow local COVID-19 guidelines for safe, responsible travel. Read more.

Guided Rafting Through the Gates of Lodore

Rafting 44 unforgettable miles of rapids on Utah's Green River

Past experience isn’t necessary. Neither is prime athletic ability. All you need to charter 44 miles on the Green River through the Gates of Lodore and Dinosaur National Monument is a willingness to go, listen, and truly see. Oh, and if you’re not comfortable planning and setting out on a self-guided expedition, we recommend going with a guide.

With a handful of local guides in the area, such as Dinosaur River Expeditions (DRE), there’s an opportunity for anyone and everyone to come and have an I-need-to-write-a-book-about-this experience. From rafting and kayaking to hiking and wildlife-viewing, a Utah rafting trip will open your eyes, whether young, old, small or tall, to the beauty and irreplaceable importance of the world’s wild places.

A child and guide floating in their life jackets in the Green River.

Seven-year-old Noah and a guide cooling off after a day in the sun.

On the trip, adventurers will paste more than a river rafting memory in their mental scrapbooks (or physical scrapbooks, if scrappin’ is your thing). They’ll set foot on history-enriched trails and exchange stories by firelight at tucked-away campsites. Hungry adventurers will help cook and taste ever-so-satisfying meals and be encouraged to soak in the quiet, yet paintbrush worthy scenic overlooks. Along the way, you’ll also be educated in the history of the river itself, see remnant of dinosaurs in Dinosaur National Monument, hear a guide’s personal connection to your surroundings, and learn how to “leave no trace” by respecting nature’s desired and needed permanence.

Early and modern-day white water rafters, trappers, scientists and paleontologists have studied, explored and some, dedicated their life to preserving the beauty of this wild place. And yes, though the monument is to be preserved, it’s many miles prompt travelers to not only take heed, but to come and see.

Discover more pointers and locations for white water rafting in Utah.

Read the accompanying story about a mom and her three kids on their Gates of Lodore rafting trip with DRE as their guide.

Dinosaur River Expeditions

Dinosaur River Expeditions is family owned and locally operated in Vernal, Utah taking pride in having the most experienced and knowledgeable river trip guides of anywhere. The team’s Utah white water rafting expeditions will take you along the canyons of the Green River, through the Gates of Lodore, and along the mighty Yampa River of Colorado. Perhaps you want to float the crystal clear waters of Utah's Green River among the red rocks of the Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area, with unbelievable wildlife and fishing. Whichever river trip you choose, your itch for adventure will be soothed. 

DRE is also proud to be the only outfitter in Vernal to offer daily guided hiking tours. The guided hikes depart daily and take approximately 3 to 5 hours round trip; be sure to call for availability and departure times. On the trails, you will be able to observe Native American petroglyphs, fossilized dinosaur footprints, natural arches and much more. 

For more information on DRE and to browse their available expeditions, rates and dates, click here, or see additional river outfitters in the Vernal area.

See a list of what to wear on river rafting trip

See more of the unique perks of going with a guide.


Slideshow: Family Rafting Trip with Dinosaur River Expeditions

  • Floatin'

    Floatin'

    When floating down the Green River, the cold water was mostly clear, but in the sunlight, the surface gave off a green hue.

  • Off-shore Magic

    Off-shore Magic

    Not only did the Huq family enjoy rafting, but their onshore experience was magical as well. They hiked to petroglyphs and Noah felt like an explorer as if he were discovering them for the first time.

  • A Lax Layla

    A Lax Layla

    Layla relaxes and cools off with a float in the river.

  • Sunshine and Swimming

    Sunshine and Swimming

    Noah and a guide cooling off after a day in the sun.

  • Dance break!

    Dance break!

    Don't mind them. They're just having a little, shore-side dance party.

  • An Authentic Camping Experience

    An Authentic Camping Experience

    Nushin and Layla get a taste of a true camping experience by washing their dishes minus a fancy dishwasher.

  • Splish-splash!

    Splish-splash!

    For Noah, it's never a bad time for splishin' and splashin'.

  • Pancakes!

    Pancakes!

    Guides are preparing a pancake breakfast for the group.

  • Canyon of Lodore

    Canyon of Lodore

    Rafting through the rapids in the Canyon of Lodore.

  • Limestone Campground

    Limestone Campground

    Overlook of the Green River from the Limestone Campground.

  • Echo...Echo.....Echo...

    Echo...Echo.....Echo...

    "Near Echo Park, Callantine rowed over to the canyon wall and asked the kids to yell the word “echo” on the count of three. A few seconds later, they could hear the words 'echo' ringing back. A true echo, not something we had ever experienced before."

  • Deeper Connection

    Deeper Connection

    A four-day rafting trip in Dinosaur National Monument builds a deeper connection to a park previously visited on a day trip.

  • Centuries of Expeditions

    Centuries of Expeditions

    Centuries of explorers and travelers have made a journey on the Green River. Will you join them?

  • From Way Up High!

    From Way Up High!

    An overview of the Green River, adding perspective to the landscape.

  • A Guide and Teacher

    A Guide and Teacher

    Local guide, Tyler Callantine, not only teaches visitors about history of the Green River, but his personal connection to the river as well.

  • Shore-side Cuisine

    Shore-side Cuisine

    A little protein goes a long way, especially with a full day of adventuring ahead.

  • Unexpected Education

    Unexpected Education

    While Nushin wasn’t looking specifically for an educational trip, the river trip was an opportunity for the kids to expand their world.

  • Challenge Accepted

    Challenge Accepted

    At 16-years-old, Eesa loved the opportunity and challenge to navigate the waters by himself. In fact, he spent almost the entire trip on the kayak on his own.

  • Team Effort

    Team Effort

    Setting up camp for the evening was a team effort. Even the kiddos were able to pitch in and pitch a tent!

  • Team Effort

    Team Effort

    Setting up camp for the evening was a team effort. Even the kiddos were able to pitch in and pitch a tent!

  • Expanding Their World

    Expanding Their World

    Along the trip, the Huq family encountered various kinds of critters, from unique insects to beavers and big horn sheep.

  • Critter Catch

    Critter Catch

    Layla finds a critter and studies its every detail in awe.

  • Eesa, the Indepedent

    Eesa, the Indepedent

    Eesa loves the outdoors. At 16-years-old, he loved the opportunity and challenge to navigate the waters by himself by kayaking in a "ducky" alongside everyone else in the raft.

  • Close-by Wildlife

    Close-by Wildlife

    A curious beaver swims up onto the shore while the group sets up camp.

  • Wildlife Spotting

    Wildlife Spotting

    Along with spotting deer, the kids saw bighorn sheep and osprey, hawks and bald eagles flying over the canyon.

  • Best Four Days Ever!

    Best Four Days Ever!

    "'Best four days ever!' my seven-year-old son, Noah, exclaimed only 15 minutes into day one of a four-day river trip."

  • No Need For Tech

    No Need For Tech

    When not navigating the rapids, the kids would take pictures of the river, canyon vistas and wildlife. That was the extent of their access to technology, for four days. There was so much to discover outside, the phones seemed happily forgotten.

  • Never-ending Adventure

    Never-ending Adventure

    "After four days on the river in the monument, I realized that on that first visit we hadn’t even scratched the surface of what the monument had to offer. I now know its a place I can continue coming back to and have a different experience every time."

  • Ducky Duo

    Ducky Duo

    Eesa and Noah on the "ducky."

  • Rainbow Park

    Rainbow Park

    Approaching the bend before Rainbow Park.

  • Beaming Layla

    Beaming Layla

    Layla enjoyed paddle boarding the most. At one point, as she paddled through some rapids, she got down on her knees to steady herself and prevented herself from falling off. She was so proud of herself.

  • Over the Rainbow

    Over the Rainbow

    A view of Rainbow Park.

  • Cave Crawls

    Cave Crawls

    A cave near rainbow park Split Mountain take out.

  • Dinosaur Quarry

    Dinosaur Quarry

    The Huq family visited the Quarry Exhibit Hall during their 2017 visit, where they had the opportunity to hold a real fossil.

  • Dinosaur History

    Dinosaur History

    The Quarry has a way of opening your eyes to the landscape's history and to the mighty creatures who once roamed the surrounding canyons.

  • Go With a Guide

    Go With a Guide

    The guides took “Leave No Trace” principles seriously and made sure after stops along the river, we didn’t leave anything behind, including “micro-trash,” small pieces of rubbish that may seem inconsequential but harms wildlife.

  • Lizardddd!

    Lizardddd!

    Along with beavers, big horn sheep, and hawks, the little lizards were just as fascinating to spot and observe.

Two Trips, Two Worlds, Two Years Apart

by Nushin Huq

A mother and her three kids return to Dinosaur National Monument for a multi-day rafting trip down the Green River with a local guide. Their previous trip, two years earlier, was a day trip to the fossil quarry. While the first visit was a unique experience, the multi-day trip gives them a greater appreciation for the park and its history.

Read More

Sara Hobbs

Sara is a native of Tennessee’s Smoky Mountains. She found herself along the Wasatch Front after taking a pit-stop in Colorado, falling in love with a history buff and happily following his footsteps to the Salt Lake Valley. She’s a big fan of old souls and listening to “Cricket Sounds” on Spotify while she edits and writes content for the Utah Office of Tourism. After taking a gazillion personality tests, she’s still not sure whether she’s an introvert, extrovert or something-else-vert —— she assumes it depends on the day.

Dinosaur National Monument

What's Nearby?

Vernal

Vernal

Vernal is close to Dinosaur National Monument and downtown Vernal offers the Utah Field House of Natural History State Park Museum.

Dinosaur National Monument

Dinosaur National Monument

Northeastern Utah’s dinosaur legacy comes to life at Dinosaur National Monument, where geological and climatic forces have tilted, warped, and eroded the earth’s crust to reveal a treasure trove of fossils. Take your pick of touring the dinosaur quarry, going on driving tours around the park, hiking the nature trails, backpacking, white-water river running, photography, bird-watching, fishing, general sightseeing and biking.

Utah Field House of Natural History Park Museum

Utah Field House of Natural History Park Museum

Explore the incredible amount of geologic history of Utah area at the Field House of Natural History Park Museum. See dinosaurs, interactive exhibits and more!