Date: April 27, 2023
Photo Cred: Dinosaur River Expedition
Why Vernal Is Utah’s Premier River Rafting Destination
“How do whitewater rafting guides get to work?” “By taking rapid transit.” *ba dum tss*
In Dinosaurland, the rafting trip of a lifetime awaits you! Our rafting experiences fuse laughter (partly from the bad dad jokes) and thrilling adventure to create an unforgettable experience for you and your loved ones. Whether you want a calmer ride or are feeling a little more daring, everyone in your party will cruise down the white water with a smile on their face. Don’t forget, we welcome all the rafting jokes you’ve got, so come prepared to share!
In this article, we will break down some quick river rafting tips and the four of the best river rafting guides in Uintah County.
Rafting the Green River and Yampa River
The Green River runs for approximately 44 miles through Dinosaur National Monument, offering a variety of rapids ranging from Class I to Class III, depending on the section of the river.
The Green River is known for its crystal-clear waters, which are fed by springs and snowmelt from the mountains. Along the way, you’ll have the opportunity to explore the area’s unique geological formations, including the towering cliffs of the Green River Formation and the sandstone canyons that line the riverbanks.
The Yampa River runs for approximately 71 miles through the heart of Dinosaur National Monument, providing an opportunity to explore the area’s rich geological history, including the famous Yampa River Canyon. The rapids on the Yampa River range from Class I to Class III, providing a fun and exciting challenge for rafters of all skill levels.
In addition to the rapids, rafters will have the opportunity to explore the area’s rich wildlife and cultural history. The park is home to a diverse range of wildlife, including bighorn sheep, river otters, and birds of prey. There are also several sites along the riverbanks that feature ancient petroglyphs and homesteads from early settlers.
4 Top-Rated Rafting Guides for Vernal, Utah
Dinosaur River Expedition
Photo Cred: Dinosaur River Expedition
Customize your dream rafting experience with the Dinosaur River Expedition. This family-owned outfitter allows visitors to create their own rafting experience to accommodate everyone’s idea of fun. Whether you want to float through the canyons of the Green River or splash along the Yampa River, your wish is their command. With years of experience in this area, you’ll be in great hands as you bob through the rapids this summer.
Photo cred: Adrift Dinosaur
Get your paddles ready for this one! Adrift Dinosaur offers an incredible rafting experience that’ll show a new side to Dinosaurland. With adventure lengths ranging from one to five days, there’s something for beginners and life-long enthusiasts. If a five-day trip isn’t long enough for you, Adrift Dinosaur also offers specialty trips, some lasting a grand total of eight days! Set off on the most beautiful adventure of your life with expert guides who will be there every step of the way.
Photo cred: OARS Dinosaur
“Beautiful scenery, fun river, great guides, nice camping sites.” – Customer Review
We couldn’t have said it better ourselves. OARS Dinosaur truly has it all! Having been in the rafting industry for over 75 years, OARS Dinosaur, formerly known as Don Hatch River Expedition, is well-trained in the area and knows where to go to get sprayed with the most water. Carrying on the legacy of Don Hatch, OARS Dinosaurs makes every trip down the river feel like your first. Explore the Green and Yampa rivers on a one- to five-day rafting trip with your family. Kids as young as four years old are welcome!
Holiday River Expedition
Photo cred: Holiday River Expedition
Dee and Sue Holladay, founders of Holiday River Expedition describe their rafting experience best.
“Sue and I, our guides, staff, and you — our guests — have a common bond that has strengthened Holiday as an entity. We are all humbled by nature’s power, strengthened by its energy, challenged by its integrity and grounded by its loftiness.”
Become one with nature as you go with the flow on your next river trip with Holiday River Expedition. Holiday River Expedition offers many diverse trips, customized to fit the needs of your friends and family. Experience the ultimate Western adventure vacation with a rafting trip that’ll refresh your soul.
Frequently Asked Questions
How difficult is white water rafting in Utah?
The scale for river rafting is called the International Scale of River Difficulty, which classifies rapids on a scale of I to VI based on their level of difficulty and potential danger.
Class I: Easy – Small, regular waves; few obstructions; no significant rapids.
Class II: Novice – Straightforward rapids with wide, clear channels; some maneuvering required.
Class III: Intermediate – Moderate rapids with high, irregular waves; narrow passages that require precise maneuvering.
Class IV: Advanced – Powerful rapids with large, irregular waves; difficult maneuvering required and a high risk of capsizing.
Class V: Expert – Long, violent rapids with extremely difficult and precise maneuvering required; high risk of injury or death.
Class VI: Extreme – Unrunnable rapids that are considered too dangerous to attempt, even by expert paddlers.
The Green and Yampa rivers offer technical challenges, ranging from class II rapids to class IV. However, even novices can tackle these rapids with the right guide and equipment. It’s best to work with your outfitter to ensure that you are well-prepared for your river expedition. A guide will be able to assess the correct trip for your group and can choose a section of the river that will best fit your experience levels.
When is the best time for river rafting In Utah?
Rafting season depends on multiple factors, including weather, snowpack runoff and temperatures. The ideal season typically runs from April to September, with more intense rapids in the spring due to significant snowmelt and more mellow flows in the summertime.
Most guides will lead hiking excursions and include camping stops along your route, so spring can be an ideal time to raft with blooming flowers and cooler temperatures. Even in the summer heat, you can always jump in the water for a quick cool-off before heading back into the rapids!
What do I need to know before river rafting In Utah?
Before heading out on your next river rafting adventure – take a look at some of our tips that will help you be prepared for your next adventure in Dinosaurland.
- Wear the right gear: Make sure you wear a personal flotation device (PFD), helmet, and appropriate clothing that can get wet. Most guides will outfit you with your proper gear and it is important that everyone in your group abides by the safety rules laid out by your outfitter.
- Listen to your guide: Your guide knows the river and its hazards. Listen to their instructions and follow their lead.
- Stay in the boat: Always stay in the boat, and if you do fall out, try to stay close to it. Do not attempt to stand up in the water, as it can be dangerous.
- Paddle together: To effectively navigate the rapids, it’s important that everyone in the boat paddles together. Listen to the guide’s instructions on when and how to paddle.
- Be prepared for a swim: In the event that you do fall out of the boat, be prepared for a swim. Know how to swim in moving water and practice your self-rescue techniques beforehand.
Dinosaurland: The Origin of Adventure
Whether you are a beginner rafter or are looking to make a trip out of this experience, Vernal, Utah, has many rafting options, paired with incredible views, just for you. You can’t go wrong with the trip you choose. So, next time you are craving nature and find yourself wanting an adventure, bring your paddles and life jackets and join us in Dinosaurland. It’ll be a “rapid” good time!