Yampa River Rafting

Yampa River Rafting at a Glance
Price: $$
River Rapid Class: II-V+
Trip in Miles: 72 miles
Trip Duration: 3 to 5 days
Season: May-June
Raft Types: Paddle Raft, Oar Raft
River Sections: Dinosaur National Monument
Nearby Towns: Vernal (UT)
Gateway City: Vernal (UT)
Driving Times: Grand Junction (CO): 2.5 hours

The last major tributary of the Colorado River to remain undammed, the Yampa River flows placidly for approximately 60 miles from Craig to Maybell, Colorado, past stunning northern Colorado scenery and a paradise of wildlife that often includes deer and antelope, turkey vultures, and herons. Below Maybell the river turns extremely dangerous. Put in on Highway 13 where it crosses the river below Craig and you lose about nine miles of quiet water but also lose the unappealing paddle through Craig. Duffy Canyon, about 20 miles long, offers dramatic trip highlights: pastel "badland" walls sloping a thousand feet down to the greenish-brown river. Lovely campsites shaded by cottonwoods will give you and the kids a chance to stretch your legs and explore. A rapid below Juniper Hot Springs, not recommended for open canoes, demands a portage. Or you can take out above the rapid, missing the last six miles before Maybell. Regarded as unrunnable until just recently is Cross Mountain Canyon, west of Maybell, Colorado. This run is Class V-VI and is for the expert boaters only. Rafting this segment is extremely hazardous and is discouraged. However, outfitters are available to run Cross Mountain Canyon.

Published: 4 May 2011 | Last Updated: 25 Aug 2011
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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