Dolores River II-IV
The Dolores River flows 230 miles north from the Bear Mountains in Colorado lying deep within the San Juan National Forest. Hosting Arches National Park and petroglyphs and ruins of the Anasazi peoples, the Dolores River also has a rich history of gold, silver and carnotite (used to produce uranium) mining.
A raft trip on the Dolores River offers more unbroken miles of wilderness river scenery and white water rafting thrills than any river trip in the lower forty eight states, one of America’s best rafting runs and ranking only behind the “Grand Canyon” of the Colorado and Middle Fork of the Salmon as a classic paddling experience. The Dolores River is at its most runnable state in early spring run (mid-April thru mid-June) for white water rafting trips. Low water requires the use of canoes for fishing trips which can sometimes be run summer and fall as well. Minimum age of 10.
47 miles | Class III-IV | 1, 2 or 3 days
Here the river flows down through the high country, clear green and cold, teeming with trout. Camping under the branches of ancient 100' Ponderosa pines, you can listen to the roar of the legendary Class IV Snaggletooth Rapid, the beginning of one of the most challenging stretches of whitewater in the West, culminating in the fury of the Narrows ten miles downstream.
50 miles | Class II-III | 2-3 days
Slowing its flow as it enters the grottos and side canyons of Slickrock, float past towering walls streaked with desert varnish and forming the most enchanting and beautiful desert canyon in the American Southwest. Hidden in the mysterious corners of the canyons are prehistoric Anasazi pictographs and ruins. More moderate rapids in this section of the river provide a good stretch for instructional kayak, canoe or inflatable kayaking. Camp beneath overhangs where the “Ancient Ones” camped thousands of years ago.
Hanging Flume Canyon
45 miles | Class II-III | 2-3 days
After leaving Slickrock Canyon, the Dolores River meanders across Paradox Valley beneath giant cottonwoods where rookeries of Great Blue Heron and other bird life thrive. Below Paradox Canyon the river reaches its confluence with the San Miguel River (doubling its volume) and enters Hanging Flume Canyon. The tattered remains of the flume built in the 1800’s to transport water to the “high bar” of Lone Tree Placer Mine can still be seen suspended hundreds of feet above the river.
Lower Gateway Canyon
38 miles | Class III-IV | 2-3 days
The last section of the Dolores River before its confluence with the Colorado River brings you Gateway Canyon and offers again the challenge of technical whitewater thrills. Abundant birds and wildlife surround you along with Indian rock art, both petroglyphs and pictographs, found on the canyon walls. We float beyond the “Rio Nuestra Senora de los Dolores” and mingle with the Colorado River under the historic Deway Bridge in Castle Valley.
Each of these trips run consectively, starting at the put-in of Ponderosa Gorge, followed by Slickrock Canyon, then Hanging Flume Canyon, with the last canyon being Gateway Canyon.
|Dolores River||Adults||Youths 10-12|
|Ponderosa Gorge 1 day||$122.00*||$111.00*|
|Ponderosa Gorge 2 day||$352.00*||$318.00*|
|Ponderosa Gorge 3 day||$539.00*||$476.00*|
|Ponderosa Gorge & Slickrock Canyons 4 day||$688.00*||$631.00*|
|Ponderosa Gorge & Slickrock Canyons 5 day||$855.00*||$751.00*|
|Ponderosa to Hanging Flume 8 day||$1455.00*||$1266.00*|
|Ponderosa to Gateway 10 day||$1864.00*||$1633.00*|
*Colorado Govt. Use Fees of 3% and $2.00 per person per trip admin fee are additional. Our website will show you the total price of this raft trip before you make any commitments.
To see dates for any of these trips, choose a trip from the option box and press the submit button above. Once you are registered, you will get a confirmation email from Dvorak Expeditions for your trip.
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Alternate launch dates available for groups of 10+ April 4-June 15, water level permitting. Water levels and the number of people on a trip may effect the trips being offered. San Miguel raft trips may be offered as a back up plan to rafting the Dolores River.
We do not assume responsibility for injury to trip members, damage or loss of belongings or for time or expense incurred as the result of this trip. We require you to read and sign a liability release form prior to your trip as well as a health questionnaire.
Because of the risk associated with river trips, including possible personal injury, property loss and financial loss in the event of cancellation, we strongly urge all trip participants to obtain vacation insurance.
What to Bring
Please see our packing list.
Meeting Place & Time:
Put-in Map and Take-out Maps.
There are several airlines with flights into Walker Field, Grand Junction, CO. airport from a variety of connecting cities. Cortez is serviced by Continental Express from Denver with three flights daily Sun. - Fri. and two flights Saturday. It is best to book your air round trip from your home city rather than booking from Denver. Arrive in Cortez the day prior to the trip. (Note: Please try to book your aire fare 30 days prior to your trip for a lower costing ticket or rent a car out of Grand Junction.) Dvorak Expeditions will pick you up at the TURQUOISE MOTOR INN at 7:30 a.m. on the morning of the first day of your trip and transport you to the river put-in point near Cahone.
All trips over 5 days will leave out of Grand Junction: At trip's end we will take you to your lodging in Grand Junction, Co., the afternoon of the last day of your trip. You can fly out of Grand Junction the following morning.
Meet at Bradford Bridge by 8:30 a.m. on the first day of your trip. Dvorak Expeditions will rendezvous with you at the river put-in parking lot or you will see their van & trailer, etc. Shuttle of your vehicle will need to be arranged prior to the trip. Call for cost and details. You will have your vehicle at the Bedrock take-out around 3:00 p.m. on the last day of your trip. NOTE SHUTTLES: On trips longer than 5 days, you will need to arrange to have your vehicle shuttled to the appropriate take-out point. Cost will vary according to length of shuttle ($50 - $125 estimate).
TRANSFER COST (Pick Up / Drop off) : 3 to 12 day trips, pick up and drop off by Dvoraks $25 per person.
TRAVEL ARRANGEMENTS AT TRIPS END
After derigging and loading equipment late afternoon on the last day of your trip, Dvorak Expeditions will either:
• Shuttle you back to either Cortez or Grand Junction. .
• Arrange to have your car shuttled to the take-out at an extra cost. (See your confirmation letter) .
Although you can usually make a connecting flight home after 7:00 p.m. on the last day of the trip, we recommend you fly out the following morning in case inclement weather or other circumstances delays our arrival in Grand Junction.
Remember, "River Time" is unpredictable.
It is sometimes necessary for us to cancel or modify a trip because of unusual circumstances. We reserve the right to cancel or modify any trip due to weather or water conditions or other circumstances beyond our control. In such cases, we cannot be responsible for paying any expenses you may have incurred other than to refund monies due to you for trip costs per the policies below.
We recommend that you obtain trip vacation insurance in order to protect yourself from any losses you might incur if you suddenly need to cancel your reservation. If you have to cancel your trip and have not obtained trip insurance, we recommend you try to find someone to take your place.
Please read carefully our cancellation policy, below, as it applies in every instance:
When cancellation is made 2 days or more prior to departure, all monies are refunded less a 50% (of total trip price) cancellation fee, or the total deposit if it is less than 50% of the trip price.
With less than 2 days notice, no monies are refunded (this includes credit card charges).
When cancellation is made 30 days or more prior to departure, all monies are refunded less a 15% (of total trip price) cancellation fee.
With less than 30 days notice, but more than 14 days notice, a 25% (of total trip price) cancellation fee is non refundable.
With 14 days or less notice, no monies are refunded ( this includes credit card charges).
We recommend that you purchase trip cancellation insurance through Travelex Insurance (please reference locator account # 06-0520 – product # A0105102) in the event you need to cancel your trip with us.
Product No. TR01 05/00
Location No. 06-0520