Whitewater Raft the Gates of Lodore in Dinosaur National Monument

Rate this Adventure 46 miles  - Point-to-Point Trail

Added by John Sunich

Raft through the towering Gates of Lodore on the Green River in Dinosaur National Monument where you will find exhilarating whitewater, amazing campsites, as well as abundant wildlife. Take a side hike into rarely visited canyons to see waterfalls, pictographs, and amazing geological formations.

Starting from the Lodore Ranger Station in Colorado the trip begins as a mild float before the Green River abruptly cuts through the Uinta Mountains in an area named The Gates of Lodore.  From there the gradient of the river increases as the imposing vermillion canyon walls covered with lush green foliage rise up around you. 

Once in the 18 mile stretch of the Lodore Canyon one of the first places to explore is Winnie’s Grotto which is just below Winnie’s Rapid on river right.  This short hike ascends through a steep narrow side canyon.  At the upper terminus of the hike there is a small waterfall dropping into an impressive grotto that includes a throne made of rock.   

In the Lodore Canyon section of the trip you will encounter several infamous rapids that were named and documented by John Wesley Powell during his exploratory trip down the Green River in 1869.  These rapids include Upper and Lower Disaster Falls, Triplett Falls, and Hells Half Mile.  Each of these rapids should be approached with caution and/or scouted prior to running if you are not familiar with the safest line to run.

After the Lodore Canyon the river opens up at Echo Park where massive Steamboat Rock stands above the confluence of the Yampa and Green River.  This is a great spot to pull over and have lunch and relax while taking in expansive views of the surrounding canyons.    On an historical note Echo Park was the site of a proposed dam in the 1940-50’s until preservationist groups such as the Sierra Club strongly opposed the project due to it flooding out large portions of the Green and Yampa Rivers.  Ultimately the project was scrapped in favor the Glen Canyon Dam. 

After Echo park the river enters into Whirlpool Canyon which includes some intriguing geological features such as the Mitten Park Fault and riverside cliffs of Weber sandstone.  The river exits the state of Colorado entering Utah before coming to Jone’s Hole Creek which has some of the most popular campsites along the section of river. Jone’s Hole Creek offers some great fly fishing for rainbow and brown trout.  Additionally a hike up Jone's Hole Creek will take you to some pictographs and petroglyphs that were left from the Fremont people roughly a 1000 years ago. While up the Jone’s hole creek trail follow the turn off up Ely Creek and check out a beautiful waterfall.

After leaving Whirlpool Canyon the River mellows out again through Island Park and Rainbow Park before entering the Split Mountain Canyon.  This section contains the last few named rapids which include Moonshine, S.O.B., Schoolboy, and Inglesby Rapids before you reach the takeout at Split Mountain.

As you depart from the river be sure to check out the fossil quarries at the visitor center as you leave the National Monument.

Trip Planning

The Green River through the Gates of Lodore as well as the Yampa River are regulated by a lottery permit system which limits the number of boaters on the river each day as well as assigns which campsites you'll stay at on your trip.  Remember to read all of the regulations and obtain all of the required gear for the trip.  Most boaters use a shuttle service to move their vehicle from the put-in to the take out while they are on the river.   

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