What’s So Special About Gates of Lodore?

By Kim Cassels   •   July 11, 2019

What’s So Special About Gates of Lodore?


We love the Gates of Lodore—its vivid scenery and changing landscape leaves a lasting impact on our fondest rafting memories. When you put in at Lodore canyon, you’ll pass through a colossal-sized entrance of bright red stone. Rafting through this canyon is a unique experience apart from other river trips, and sometimes we just need to hear it from the experts to believe it. Here’s what some of our seasoned guides, who have thousands of river miles under their belts, love about the Gates of Lodore.  


Green River Rafting - Gates of Lodore - Mild to Wild Rafting

Emmet’s an awesome and charismatic river guide from New Jersey. While he doesn’t have a steep New England accent, he does command authority with his beloved pit viper sunglasses. He’s been river running for seven years, and loves to share rafting history with guests. Here’s one of the things he loves when getting to run Gates of Lodore.

“What I look forward to when I’m on a Gates of Lodore trip is the faces people make when we go scout Hell’s Half-Mile. They’re like ‘Oh man, are we really gonna do this?’ And then we do it! And it’s great, and people are super excited and want to do it again. It’s just kind of cool, and to think that just 80 years ago people weren’t even able to run that rapid and had to portage and line their boats. That fact that today we can just bring your average American family down the river through really exciting whitewater, and make it really enjoyable and fun… and safe,” he laughs. 


Gates of Lodore Rafting – Dinosaur National Monument – Mild to Wild Rafting

Joe has been with Mild to Wild Rafting and Jeep Tours for over a decade. He’s always cool, calm and collected, even when a raft suddenly tacos through a class IV in Hell’s Half-Mile. He earned a B.S in geology and will appease even the most repetitious question of “how the heck did that rock end up like that?” Here’s some of the geology Joe appreciates in Gates of Lodore. 

“The Mitten Park fold is really unique. And it’s really cool because you’re on one side of the wall, and you come around the other side of the wall that makes a full U turn, and you can see it again- just this huge regional fault that you can see coming off the Yampa too. So that’s really unique the way it curves back up through the river canyon three times. I think that’s probably my favorite geological feature right now. The canyon in Lodore itself, the quartzite walls are beautiful. And it’s so unique, because we come out into Island Park and two miles back we’re in this deep canyon, and then it’s just wide open. It’s beautiful out here.” 

Gates of Lodore Green River Rafting – Dinosaur National Monument – Mild to Wild Rafting

Unlike other rivers, the Gates of Lodore has a rich rafting history and geology you won’t see anywhere else. Rapids like Hell’s Half-Mile have awesome back stories to John Wesley Powell’s adventures that named these whitewater sections. The Mitten Park fault is an incredible geological sight you won’t find on other tributaries. Combining the history of rocks and rafting in Gates of Lodore makes it unlike any other river trip you’ll run. Our guides’ insight is always eye-opening, and it’s a true pleasure to join them on amazing rafting adventures like Lodore.  

More Reading: 

The Unexpected Keepsakes You’ll get from a Multi-day Raft Trip

What to Pack for Your Utah Rafting Adventures 

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