Whitewater rafting is a popular way to experience the remote canyons of Dinosaur National Monument. Self-guided raft trips, also known as private or noncommercial river trips, are permitted on both the Green and Yampa Rivers. There are also options for both multiday and single-day trips.
Each river has its own characteristics.The Green and Yampa Rivers should never be mistaken for placid rivers. When John Wesley Powell floated the Green River in 1869, the scenery enthralled his group, but the rapids caused him great anguish as boats overturned, men were hurt, and supplies were lost. Even today, many boats end up pinned on rocks, their boatmen bruised and battered. For that reason, permit holders, boatmen, and trip leaders must have previous experience on comparable rivers. Depending on the water level, some rapids are rated as high as Class IV.
Permits are required for all rivers within Dinosaur National Monument. Boating permits are limited to protect the natural and cultural resources and leave the river canyons unimpaired for future boaters. Rules and regulations have been put in place to assure that all travelers on the river will have a safe, peaceful, and memorable trip. Permits for multiday and single-day trips are made available to the public through a lottery.