about this trip:
The Yampa River is truly one of a kind. It is the last major tributary of the Colorado River that remains free flowing, meaning that this river is ever-changing and the water level is subject to the snowmelt from the Rocky Mountains high above. In a high water year, this river has rapids that rival the world's classic whitewater stretches of river, yet for most of its short season (May - July) the Yampa offers fun class III-IV whitewater suitable for anyone. However, no matter the time of year, this trip is breathtaking and rapids are only a small fraction of why you should raft the Yampa.
For 4 -6 days the Yampa River cuts through Dinosaur National Monument, spanning a section of northern Colorado and Utah. Sheer Weber Sandstone cliffs -- sometimes as tall as 1,200 feet -- characterize the Yampa canyon, as well as spectacular "entrenched meanders" as the river cuts its way through a rugged and unique part of the West.
On this trip you will be immersed in one billion years of geologic processes and on a river that is still shaping the land more than any other. Wildlife, such as Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep, will be a normal sight as you are floating through a very much pristine natural environment. Camp under a sky filled with more stars than you knew existed, become friends with a whole new 'river family' and most importantly leave the heavy lifting, the planning, the cooking, the jokes and the responsibilities to an incredibly competent and professional group of guides.
There is no better way to see Dinosaur National Monument than from the river. And there is no better way to spend a vacation than on the river. A multi day Yampa River trip will be an unforgettable adventure.
THis Trip at a glance:
Meet in Vernal, Utah the night before your trip departs for a brief orientation.
The next morning OARS will drive you 1.5 hours to the starting point of the river trip where the boats and guides will be ready.
Enjoy a leisurely morning float with a few splashy waves one you enter the Yampa Canyon.
Stop for lunch, which the guides will prepare, and perhaps walk to find some fossils of ancient sea life.
After lunch on the first day there is class II and III whitewater as the river cuts deeper into the Earth and the Canyon walls rise.
Once at camp, the boats are unloaded and you can choose your ideal tent site. Perhaps play a game of all-terrain bocce ball, chat with a new friend, enjoy a cold drink, or take a nap while the guides prepare appetizers, dinner, and a dessert that is sure to impress you.
Watch as the sun disappears from the tops of the canyon walls before an unbelievable night sky is revealed.
Awake the next morning as the guides put out hot coffee and enjoy the view as a hot breakfast is prepared.
Pack up camp and head downstream in an oar-powered raft, a sporty paddleboat, an inflatable kayak, or occasionally on an SUP. It's always your choice.
Over the next 4 or 5 days the daily routine will remain mostly the same. You will be served 3 top notch meals per day and you will camp in a new and isolated spot on the river's edge each night.
There will be hikes to overlooks, waterfalls, outlaw caves, and to 1,000 year-old Native American rock art and ruins.
The whitewater will intensify and culminate with the class IV Warm Springs rapid before the Yampa River joins the Green River at Steamboat Rock.
Once on the Green River, you will see new and dramatic rock formations, and hike to more desert gems.
There will be some time spent peacefully floating, probably a few water fights, and certainly some laughter.
On the last day of this trip you will end by rafting through Split Mountain Canyon, where the river’s gradient drop increases and you have the last major rapids of the journey in rapid succession.
Finally, the canyon walls will drop away for good and the boat ramp will appear. After a 30 minute Shuttle from the take out ramp you will be back Vernal where you can exchange tearful farewells with your new friends and begin to plan you next rafting adventure.
Here at Adventurelocals.com we have worked as guides on this stretch of river for nearly a decade and have completed over 100 successful trips. Ask us anything about the Yampa River and we will gladly share our knowledge of this amazing place.