Gates of Lodore

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Utah, USA

Gates of Lodore River Rafting Guide + Map

Float from western Colorado, through high desert canyons, past the confluence of the Yampa River and into Utah on this classic southwest river. Named from the John Wesley Powell expedition in 1869, the Gates of Lodore section of the Green River is a not-to-be-missed family adventure. The class II sections are fun in inflatable kayaks and stand up paddleboards, while the class III rapids are enough to keep everyone excited about whitewater.

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Lodore Canyon – Class II & III

Andrew Hall was a member of John Wesley’s Powell expedition. The canyon reminded him of a poem by Robert Southey, “The Cataract of Lodore” which we write about here. So impressed by the canyon’s entrance, John Wesley Powell was the one that gave it “The Gates” portion of the name.

Mile 0.00 – Gates of Lodore Put-In:

River Left. Road 34 is a long dirt road. Be aware of animals on this road at dusk. There are a few campsites at the put in with some shade. Water is available. A nature trail heads upstream with great views of the gates of Lodore.

Mile 3.23 – Winnie’s Grotto:

River Right. Immediately after running Winnie’s Rapid. It is a short hike up to Winnie’s Grotto. This a shady red rock grotto waterfall hangout with excellent acoustics.

Mile 6.44 – Upper Disaster Falls:

Class III+. Scout river left from large eddy. There is an initial drop down the center and then rock-dodging into a fun wave train. On river right below the entrance of the rapid is a large cliff that should be avoided–it is severely undercut and has been the site of fatalities. At lower water (<1000 cfs) this rapid becomes much more technical with abundant shallow rocks. At higher water (>4000 cfs) Disaster starts to form some larger holes/waves which are fun but punchy, and the river pushes harder into the right wall.

Mile 6.99 – Lower Disaster Falls:

Class III+. Stay in the river left channel to avoid undercut rocks on river right. At low water (<1000 cfs) this area becomes much more technical and stuck boats are common.

Mile 8.13 – Pot Creek Butte

River Right. A short hike/scramble up an exposed shelf leads to beautiful views of Lodore Canyon and the Green.

Mile 8.13 – Pot Creek Camp #1:

River Right. Pot Creek Camp #1 comes right as as two channels merge and the river bends left. The beach is rocky and this can be a hard eddy to catch at high-water.

Mile 8.31 – Pot Creek Camp #2:

River Right. Nice sandy beach and lots of great tent sites among the box elders and tucked up along the cliff.

Mile 8.84 – Kolb Camp:

River Right. Shade in camp in the morning.

Mile 9.41 – Harp Falls:

Class II. At normal summer flows this is Class II. At high water (>4000 cfs) this begins to form a massive glassy wave train.

Mile 10.80 – Triplet Camp:

River Left. Large beach, shade in the morning. This is where the trail to scout Triplet starts.

Mile 11.60 – Hell’s Half Mile:

Class III / IV. Scout river left. Enter left of center moving right through a boulder garden, line up for some hits, and then make the move to pass Lucifer, a large mid-river pour over (or run right over it for the send!). The rest of the rapid is read-and-run rock-dodging that gets progressively harder at lower water levels. At higher water levels (>6000) this rapid eases in difficulty and you can run right down the middle smashing big waves. If Hells doesn’t make you smile, you should probably give up boating.

Mile 13.00 – Rippling Brook Camp #1:

River Right. There are two camps at this campsite; both have shade. There is waterfall hike from camp up Rippling Brook. Camp #1 has a nice big eddy for sunny afternoon fun.

Mile 13.05 – Rippling Brook

River Right. A short but steep hike leads up to a magical waterfall tumbling down a shaded, green alcove.

Mile 13.15 – Rippling Brook Camp #2:

River Right. At normal summer flows this has one of the best big sandy beaches in Lodore. Primo groover spot tucked downstream as well!

Mile 14 – Wild Mountain Rapid

Class II. Read and run.

Mile 15 – Limestone Overlook

River Left. While this overlook is located upriver from Limestone Camp, you’ll want to pull over just downstream of the camp for a fun hike up to a spectacular overlook over the river. A classic Lodore hike.

Mile 15.42 – Limestone Camp:

River Left. A shady camp tucked up against a cliff right where Lodore begins to change from dark sandstone to sunny limestone. Follow a trail downstream of camp that leads up and back to a spectacular overlook above the river.

Whirlpool Canyon – Class II

Another name coming from the John Wesley Powell expedition, Whirlpool Canyon was the proposed site for a hydroelectric dam. This proposal was heavily fought by conservationists eventually ending in its saving.

Mile 19.00 – Echo Park:

River Left. This is a drive-in campground with water available. Hike up the dirt road to the Petroglyphs and the whispering cave. There is a ranger station/residence at Echo Park. If you are on a multi-day, you are not allowed to camp here.

Mile 19.00 – Whispering Cave:

River Left. This six-mile round trip hike allows you to cool down as you travel into the back of a cave, deep inside the mountain.

Mile 20.50 – Mitten Park Fault:

River Right. Hundreds of millions of years of geology are displayed in this sweeping fault.

Mile 22.04 – Seacliff Camp:

River Left. Big sandy beach with not much shade. There are a smattering of shady tent sites tucked on the downstream side of the beach among the junipers.

Mile 23.48 – Stateline Camp:

River Right. Named after the stateline, which is just downstream of here about half a mile. This is a smaller, sunny camp right on the UT/CO state line. During summer this site holds sun until very late in the day.

Mile 23.99 – Actual Stateline:

You cross over from Colorado into Utah at this point.

Mile 24.54 – Jones Hole Camp #1

River Right. There are four Jones Hole campsites and a day-use area. Be awake of skunks at night. It is best to sleep in a tent at this camp. Hike to Ely Creek Falls. This is a great place to see big horn sheep. Jones Hole Camp #1 is a great camp on the east side of Jones Creek. It is located on river right above a small rapid dropping off around a gravel bar to the left. Abundant shady tent sites. At low water the landing can be a bit rocky.

Mile 24.72 – Jones Hole Creek:

River Right. A popular creek to hike. Follow Jones Hole Creek to the Ely Creek confluence and then take this creek to the “famous” butt dam falls.

Mile 24.72 – Jones Hole Camp #2

River Right. This camp comes up fast on the right after dropping through a short right-hand bending riffle. The beach is very rocky–dories beware. At high water this can be a hard camp to catch as there is practically no eddy and there are few options to quickly tie up boats. Shady, sheltered tent sites and close proximity to Jones Creek are what make this a great camp.

Mile 24.78 – Jones Hole Camp #3

River Right. This camp is just downstream of #2 and very similar to #2. It can also be hard to find or catch at high-water, so be sure to be alert and ready to grab boats.

Mile 24.78 – Jones Hole Day Use Beach

River Right. If you want to hike Jones Hole but aren’t camping at one of the four Jones Hole camps, park your boats at this beach so you don’t block/crowd any of the camp beaches.

Mile 25.03 – Jones Hole Camp #4

River Right. This camp has probably the best sandy beach of all the Jones Hole camps, with some shaded sites and some nice open sunny sites. It is also much further down and more secluded than camps #1-3 so it is the most private of all the Jones camps.

Mile 25.43 – Compromise Camp:

River Left. Pull in and park, set up the kitchen right by the boats. Large Grand Canyon-style beach.

Mile 25.96 – Sage Creek:

River Right. Sage Creek enters the Green River from the right-hand side.

Mile 28.96 – The Cove Camp:

River Left. Small beach that opens up to a medium-sized camp scattered among the juniper and pinyon pines. Late evening sun.

Mile 29.65 – Big Island Camp:

River Right. This camp can be very hot with little shade during the summer. It’s also quite buggy (guides commonly call this camp “Bug Island”). However, it makes a great last camp during fall trips.

Mile 31.00 – Island Park Camp:

River Left. This is the last possible camp on Lodore. A small beach opens up to a line of cottonwood-shaded tent sites, as well as some exposed sites on a bench above camp (great views!). It can be hot and buggy during early summer, but is a great early-season or late-season camp with abundant sun when you want it.

Split Mountain – Class II & III

The whitewater picks up a bit from here until takeout. Keep in mind, if you are on a multi-day trip, then you are not permitted to camp anywhere in this section. Please keep in mind, this is the abbreviated version of Split Mountain. Click here for the full Split Mountain guide.

Mile 34.95 – Rainbow Park Put in:

River Right. There is a drive in campground with a is a toilet. No water available. This is the put-in for Split Mountain daily section.

Mile 36.23 – Entrance Exam

Class II. Don’t hit the rock.

Mile 36.49 – Moonshine:

Class III. Read and run down the middle at low/medium flows. At high-water (>6,000) large erratic laterals start to form on river right below the drop and become their most chaotic around ~11,000 cfs. Above that the hits are still big but the waves become more uniform.

Mile 37.46 – SOB:

Class II/III. Read-and-run at low/medium flows. Bigger hydraulics form at higher water, especially on river right.

Mile 38.01 – School Boy:

Class II/III. Read and run and washed-out at high/medium flows. This rapid channelizes into one of the nicer/bigger wave trains at lower water.

Mile 38.32 – School Girl

Class II. Read and run.

Mile 41.35 – Inglesby:

Class II. Inglesby Rapid is the last rapid on the Split Mountain section. Make the most of this read-and-run wave train.

Mile 43.3 – Split Mountain Take Out:

River Right. Take out for daily and multi-day trips. River rangers will meet you at the takeout and will want to see your permit. There are toilets, a groover cleaning station, a campground, and a nature trail.