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The Canyon of Lodore - often referred to as "Gates of Lodore for the prominent geologic feature that greets its' entrants, is short on miles, but long on character.  When you reach the take-out, you'll be convinced that you've actually just completed three separate rafting trips...and in some way, you have. 

The Green River carves a course through three unique canyons as it cuts through Dinosaur National Monument -  Lodore, Whirlpool and Split Mountain - each with its' own distinctive colors, geological oddities, and character.  Lodore was the first major canyon encountered by the famous explorer John Wesley Powell on his 1869 expedition, and while their misfortunes led to rapids receiving names like Disaster Falls and Hell’s Half Mile, we're certain you'll find this place to be a little piece of heaven.  

A relatively short canyon in terms of length, Lodore thereby leaves plenty of time for exploratory hikes to pictographs, waterfalls, and shaded grottoes - or long afternoons filled with uninhabited play that fills the entire canyon with giggles. 

Gates of Lodore 6-day Detailed Itinerary:

Day 1. Travel to Dinosaur. Meet at 11am on day 1 at GOALS world headquarters in Evergreen, CO - please arrive with a belly full of lunch. We’ll drive about 6 hours to our campsite in Dinosaur National Monument, where we spend the night before our river launch. We’ll stretch our legs with a quick hike to the famous “Gates of Lodore” formation - named by Major John Wesley Powell on his Green River expedition in 1869. Following our hike - and maybe some frisbee in the campsite, we will begin the GOALS curriculum around our first evening campfire, then settle in for a good night’s sleep - wondering what lies downstream beyond those famous gates we can see from camp.


Day 2. Exciting day, inflated names. Today, we’ll enter the Canyon of Lodore, and become almost immediately mesmerized by the deep red hues of the sandstone walls in the upper section. Following our first small rapid, we’ll hike up to Winnie’s Grotto - the first of many hidden alcoves in Lodore. Back on the boats, we head toward “Upper Disaster” and “Lower Disaster” - rapids named by Powell and his men after experiencing great trouble and losing boats and supplies in these rapids. We’ll enjoy reading some of the excerpts written by Powell and his team in journals as we scout these rapids - and after successfully navigating them we will head toward our first campsite in the area of Pot Creek.

Day 3. Harp, Triplet, and Hell’s Half Mile. Day 3 in Lodore feels much like day 2 -rapids with scary names that turn out to be splashy and fun! Today, we’ll take on Harp Falls, Triplet, and Hell’s Half Mile - where Powell’s team again experienced a great deal of challenge. We’ll aim to camp tonight at one of the Rippling Brook campsites - affording us a beautiful afternoon hike up to an awe-inspiring overlook of the Green River and ending at a small waterfall where we can cool off from the afternoon heat.

Day 4. Confluence Day. Today, we’ll paddle through Echo Park to the confluence of the Green and the Yampa Rivers. The geology here will undergo a marked change - shifting from the reds upstream into lighter tans and even dark brown layers as we enter new geologic time periods. We’ll also observe several distinct fault lines as we paddle through Echo Park toward our campsite tonight at Jones Hole.

Day 5. An extraordinary hike and a short paddle. Much of day 5 will be spent on land - hiking up Jones Hole to Ely Creek falls - affectionately known among river runners as “butt dam falls”. One brave participant will stand under the falls while several of their friends use their backside to dam up the flow - standing up all at once to release a torrent of cold spring water down onto the person below! We’ll spend some time at the falls, then hike to another location not far away to observe and study a series of ancient pictographs created by Native American cultures on the canyon walls about 1000 years ago. Returning to the river, we’ll enjoy a late lunch, then float to our campground in Island Park. Since this is our last night together in the canyon, we’ll experience a short solo and compose a thank-you letter to the canyon - a GOALS tradition. One last campfire, then it’s off to sleep thinking about the rapids of Split Mountain Canyon tomorrow!

Day 6. Split Mountain Canyon! Today, we’ll paddle through Rainbow Park an toward the exciting culmination of a Lodore expedition in the whitewater of Split Mountain Canyon. The speed of the river increases as we enter Split Mountain, taking on Moonshine, SOB, Schoolboy, and Inglesby rapids - one right after the next. Following a successful run through Inglesby, we’ll pull over for one last riverside lunch with our guide team, then float down to the Split Mountain take-out ramp. Our vehicles will be waiting for us there, and after helping our guides load gear onto the trailers, we’ll begin our long journey home - generally arriving back to Evergreen between 8 and 10pm.

Weather and Flows

Want to know what cubic feet per second (CFS) the river is flowing at? See what the river is flowing HERE

Costs and Inclusions

2019 cost per participant: $1880

GOALS all-inclusive rates go beyond the unrivaled on-river experience. They also include all transportation (ground and air), lodging/campsites before and after the expedition, and all meals both on the river and on the road during our travel to/from the canyon. A detailed list of all inclusions (gear, government fees, supplies, etc.) is listed below.


  • Transportation from GOALS world headquarters in Evergreen, CO to Gates of Lodore campground in Dinosaur National Monument at the beginning of the expedition and from the Split Mountain boat ramp near Vernal, UT back to Evergreen, CO after the expedition.

  • ALL MEALS - from dinner on day 1 through dinner on day 6. This includes all meals on the road and in the canyon (5B, 5L, 6D) - and accounts for all dietary restrictions and preferences. No need to send kids with road money for anything other than snacks.

  • Campsite at Gates of Lodore campground on night 1.

  • Vehicle shuttle from Gates of Lodore campground to Split Mountain boat ramp.

  • All launch fees and government use fees for the Green River in Dinosaur National Monument.

  • All the high-quality gear needed to be safe and comfortable in the canyon, excluding sleeping bags (which can be rented if necessary). Every participant will be afforded the use of a dry bag, personal flotation device, tent, camp chair, sleeping pad, and all river/kitchen gear needed.

  • Professional, licensed, and experienced river guides who know the GOALS curriculum and objectives.

  • GOALS curriculum journal and program t-shirt.

Financial assistance from GOALS

We work hard throughout the year to raise money for financial assistance, and believe that cost should never prevent an interested and determined child from experiencing a GOALS expedition. Abundant financial assistance is available for those who qualify (see considerations below). In addition to the financial support we provide, GOALS also sponsors events to help students raise funds themselves, and provides a stand-alone electronic format for those who are not interested or available to participate in these events. Throughout our first 9 years of programming, GOALS has never been unable to provide enough support so that every interested child / family could be involved. This is a record we intend to keep intact in year 10, and every year in the future.

If you require financial assistance to participate in a GOALS expedition, please complete the general application form. On the last page of your application, respond appropriately in the box that asks about financial assistance from GOALS. If accepted to participate in the program for which you are applying, GOALS will then send you an electronic financial aid application. After it is completed and returned, our financial assistance committee will provide the most generous offer possible - based on a variety of factors including financial aid availability, parent and student contribution, household income, and additional financial commitments to programs and activities that advance your child’s personal growth. You may then choose to accept or decline our offer. If our offer is accepted, you can choose to make monthly payments leading up to the expedition launch or can pay a lump-sum balance for whatever funds have not been raised 30 days prior to the expedition. If our offer is declined, your deposit will be returned and your child’s spot will be offered to another applicant. Please contact GOALS if you have any questions.