The Yampa River is among the most coveted permitted river trips in Colorado. It boasts 72 miles of beautiful canyon, with everything from flat water to class 4. Most boaters spend about 5 days floating down the Yampa, which converges with the Green (downriver of Gates of Lodore) and continues through Split Mountain to the takeout in Green River, Utah.
This section of the Yampa takes boaters through the spectacular Dinosaur National Monument, meandering along through the “high desert.” With side hikes galore, boaters can pick and choose where to eddy out and explore. You can even hike to the canyon rim, look at petroglyphs, and explore a cave.
As far as rapids go, this trip includes the notable “Warm Springs” rapid. At the base of this rapid, there is a large hole called “Maytag,” which is known for its washing machine-like qualities as well as its tendency to flip rafts. Warm Springs is a class 4 rapid. There are a few other class 3 rapids along interspersed between a lot of flat water and class 2 riffles. After the confluence of the Yampa and the Green Rivers, there is a section called Split Mountain. This contains several bouncy, fun class 3 rapids.
Arguably the most desired time to do this trip is May and June, when spring runoff is occurring. Late season trips into July and August tend to be hotter and have lower water. The Yampa always requires a permit, and these can be difficult to obtain. To apply for a lottery permit for high use season (second weekend in May to second weekend in July), applications are due January 31.
For more details or to apply for a permit, go to https://www.nps.gov/dino/planyourvisit/boating-and-rafting.htm