Rafting

Green River, Colorado and Utah

DIY fun on the Green River, Dinosaur National Monument     Photo: Justin Bailie

You Have: Rowed your buddy’s raft on mellow rapids.
You Want:
To lead your first float trip.
The Trip:
To guide a multi-day Class III trip, you have to know how to read and navigate moderate whitewater, avoid obstacles like strainers, communicate with other boats, and self-rescue in the event that you flip. You want your first expedition to have a few fun rapids but nothing too hairy. Which is why we recommend the four-day, 44-mile trip through the Gates of Lodore, on the Green River in Dinosaur National Monument. It features seven Class III rapids and sandy, preassigned campsites surrounded by high red-rock walls. (A park ranger will direct you to your site when you pick up your permit; $15 application fee; $185 for a multi-day permit.) Side adventures include a trip to Jones Hole Creek, a 1,200-foot-deep canyon with cascading waterfalls and Fremont Indian petroglyphs.
Essential Gear:
A trip like this requires sturdy, self-bailing boats (14 to 16 feet), a few kitchen boxes and coolers, an extra oar and life jacket for each raft, a groover or ammo can as a portable toilet, rescue kits, and drybags. The beauty of the Gates of Lodore, though, is that you don’t need to actually bring anything except your tent and sleeping bag. River Runners’ Transport, based in Vernal, Utah, sets you up from the get-go (that includes shopping for, pre-making, and packing meals in coolers) and arranges the shuttle between the put-in at Lodore Ranger Station and the takeout at Split Mountain (rafts and other gear are $75 per person per day; meals are an additional $20 per person). 

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