Gates of Lodore River Rafting Guidebook
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.
Gates of Lodore Comprehensive Guide
WARNING: Conditions change frequently and may make this guide useless. This guide is NOT a replacement for sound judgment or experience.
Class II Rapid
Class III Rapid
Put Ins / Take Outs
Point of Interest
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. The drive to the put in on a long dirt road. There are a few campsites at the put in with some shade. Nature trail
Mile 2.67 – Wade and Curtis Camp: River Right. Not to say you should ever gravity rig, but if you stay at this camp you could get away with minimal tying down as all the rapids are downstream. If you are up for it, there is a trail here down to Winnie’s Grotto. Learn more about Wade and Curtis Camp.
Mile 3.23 – Winnie’s Rapid: Class II+ / III. This is a short rapid that has a large rock left of center, with most of the current pushing you towards it. Pull right to the inside bend. This is an easy move but if you flub it you can wrap or flip. Learn more about Winnie’s Rapid.
Mile 3.23 – Winnie’s Grotto: River Right. This is a short hike with a large dividend. Well worth the stop, explore this tight canyon leading you into a shady red rock grotto with excellent acoustics.
Mile 6.44 – Upper Disaster Falls: Class III+. This is the first large rapid of the trip. Scout from river left where there is a big eddy. This rapid has lots of boulders, pick your line carefully and drop in center.
Mile 6.99 – Lower Disaster Falls: Class III+. Stay river left to avoid undercut rocks on river right.
Mile 8.13 – Pot Creek Camp #1: River Right. There are two camps here. Pot Creek One and Pot Creek Two. The creek runs in the springtime, but exploring its canyon is a nice activity all seasons.
Mile 8.31 – Pot Creek Camp #2: River Right. Nice sandy beach just downstream of Pot Creek Camp #1.
Mile 8.84 – Kolb Camp: River Right. This camp is named after the Kolb brothers. Look for the sandy beach. No hikes are available here.
Mile 9.41 – Harp Falls: Class III.
Mile 10.80 – Triplet Camp: River Left. Beach on river left.
Mile 11.00 – Triplet Falls: Class III. Scout river left from Triplet Camp. This is a long, boulder garden rapid ending with a big pull to the left away from the triplet rocks on river right. Learn more about Triplet Falls.
Mile 11.60 – Hell’s Half Mile: Class III / IV. Considered to be the biggest rapid on the trip, Hell’s Half Mile can be scouted from river left. Enter left of center and pick your way through the rock garden, all the while keeping your eye out for Lucifer’s Rock, about halfway through the ride. Go left or right of it, just not over it.
Mile 13.00 – Rippling Brook Camp #1: River Right. There are two camps here. This is a shady camp with a waterfall hike from camp.
Mile 13.15 – Rippling Brook Camp #2: River Right. The second camp is located on the downstream side of the alluvial fan.
Mile 14.1 – Wild Mountain Camp: River Right. The camp is on a large alluvial fan coming from the drainage behind it. The camp features a large eddy and some shade. Learn more about Wild Mountain Camp.
Mile 15.42 – Limestone Camp: River Left. Hike upstream to the cliff overlook.
Mile 18.00 – Steamboat Rock: This famous feature comes into view here. As you round the corner it only becomes more impressive. Learn more about Steamboat Rock.
Mile 18.40 – Confluence of Green River and Yampa River: River Left. Hike up the Yampa, explore the slick rock between the two rivers
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. Hike to whispering caves, water refill, hike to petroglyphs, car campsites available. 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. Incredible geology in action here. Dramatic uplifting.
Mile 22.04 – Seacliff Camp: River Left. Big sandy beach. Not much shade.
Mile 23.48 – Stateline Camp: River Right. Named after the stateline, which is just downstream of here about half a mile. This camp has a beach.
Mile 23.99 – Actual Stateline: You cross over from Colorado into Utah at this point.
Mile 24.58 – 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 24.92 – Jones Hole Camp: River Right. There are four camps here. Be on the lookout for skunks. Easy access to Jones Hole Creek. This is a great place to see Bighorn Sheep.
Mile 25.43 – Compromise Camp: River Left. Pull in and park, set up kitchen right by the boats, beach.
Mile 25.96 – Sage Creek: River Right.
Mile 26.88 – Greasy Pliers: Class II. Read and run rapid. Learn more about Greasy Pliers Rapid.
Mile 28.96 – The Cove Camp: River Left. Beach, shade in part of the camp.
Mile 29.65 – Big Island Camp: River Right on the main channel on the river left side of Big Island. camps on both sides of the island, the biggest camp is on river right of the left channel of the island. There are lots of bugs here in the spring.
Mile 31.00 – Island Park Camp: Island Park is known to be buggy and offers very little shade. Not the greatest campground but it sets you up nicely for the last day on the river.
***Headsup! Your trip doesn’t end here, it continues into the day trip section called Split Mountain. Click here for that guidebook or read the abbreviated version below.***
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 guidebook.
Mile 34.95 – Rainbow Park Put in: River Right. Pit toilet, no water. If you are on a multi-day, you are not allowed to camp here.
Mile 36.49 – Moonshine: Class III. There’s a hole located river right near the top of the rapid. Besides that it’s a fun, classic, splashy wave train. Enjoy.
Mile 37.46 – SOB: Class II/III. Wave train as the river bends.
Mile 38.01 – School Boy: Class II. Read and run wave train.
Mile 41.35 – Inglesby: Class II. Read and run wave train
Mile 43.3 – Split Mountain Take Out: River Right. Toilets, campground.
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