Dolores River

Put-in: Gateway, CO
Take-Out: Dolores and Colorado confluence
Trip Length: 3-5 days
Mileage: 32 Miles
Class: up to IV

This is a perfect river trip for rafters looking for exciting water without a lot of other rafters.

One-day Trips
One-day trips are not offered on the Dolores River.

Multi-day Trips | dolores river guides |
The Dolores River rafting trek lasts around 32 miles. This typically takes 3 days to complete, but some companies offer longer trips. These trips offer the advantages of a lesser-known river: small group sizes, remote landscape, and no river congestion. Trips are only run in April and May (rarely in June). Rapids are challenging, ranging from classes 2 through 4. The hiking is also incredible; the land along the river's course ranges from the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, to the red rock canyons of southeastern Utah. You won't want to forget your hiking boots and camera on this trip! Meals and snacks are provided; camping equipment is necessary. Bring your own, or plan to rent from the outfitter company. Inquire for details.

View of towering sandstone walls from Dolores River Family Trips | dolores river guides |
This is a good family trip. Group sizes are limited, which can make for an intimate family vacation. Children 10 and older are generally invited to participate.

Groups/Corporate Trips
Unless your group is very small, rafting the Dolores River is not generally recommended for groups. There are restrictions on group sizes, and the window for rafting is only two months long. Check with Dolores rafting outfitters about whether or not it might be a good trip for your group.

Dolores [ Planning & Packing ]

History

In the heart of Utah's 'Canyon Country' runs the Dolores River. This is one of the area's best kept secrets since being discovered by Spanish explorers in 1765. Since then, only a handful of people have come to experience this great river. It is a remote place known only to a few adventurers.

The river running season is limited to spring run-off - late April through early June. McPhee Dam releases water during that time to allow for snowmelt to be stored in the reservoir. This time of year guarantees spectacular wildflowers!

White Water Rafting on the Dolores River The high San Juan Peaks of Southern Colorado are the birthplace of the Dolores River. Flowing northward past the eastern edge of Utah's La Sal Mountains, the river merges with the Colorado thirty miles upstream from Moab. It flows through five western life zones from Alpine to Upper Sonoran. 173 miles long, the Dolores is second only to the Grand Canyon in terms of distance in the lower 48 states. River trips are available to run the entire length which takes 12 days, or trips of shorter duration on various segments of the river.

Rapids range from mild to wild, generally Class II to IV. Options for river runners include paddle or oar rafts and inflatable kayaks. Side hikes offer opportunities for exploration.

Information courtesy of Utah Guides & Outfitters Association.

Back to top Print this page E-mail this page