Through The Gates Of Lodore In Dinosaur National Monument

Kurt Repanshek's picture

Editor's note: This is a somewhat large file, so please give it time to load. Grab a cup of coffee or perhaps a soda while it's loading.

If you ever sat down to list the units of the National Park System that are misunderstood and under-appreciated, Dinosaur National Monument would be near the top. That realization can't be ignored if you've floated either the Yampa or Green rivers that cleave into and expose the underbelly of Dinosaur.

That thought first came to me when I drifted down the Yampa with friends back in 2009, and was reinforced in late July during a four-day trip down the Green with Holiday River Expeditions. Floating through the Canyon of Lodore, past Echo Park and massive Steamboat Rock, and then into Whirlpool Canyon and on through Split Mountain, dinosaurs were the last thing on my mind.

Currents thread through rock gardens and roar through channels that spew wave trains, pulling you constantly downstream through ever-changing patterns of light, from shadows cast by the cliffs to full sun reflecting off the leaping waters.

Mountains soar up about you, revealing geologic twists and faults. Promontories of rock jut into the river corridor, while canyons cut deep behind them. Landslides and boulders that time sent down into the river created, and occasionally continue to alter, the rapids that Major Powell and his band of men struggled to conquer. Disaster Falls in particular rightly earned its name from the major.

Take a few moments to ride down the Green River through the Gates of Lodore.


Thanks for sharing your park visit. On our parks journey a few tears back, we went from Estes on the way to Yellowstone and ultimately, Glacier. Along the way, we stopped at Dinosaur. From the banks of the river you floated, we saw many rafts and crafts.

Later, at the visitor center filled with the bones of dinosaurs, we ventured out to the nearby trails. On these paths we found many petroglyphs, The artists that put them there were telling stories.

These stories from our ancestors, struck chords that went deep. My son contemplated the meaning of these. I saw one aspect, he saw another. My daughter was also witness. We saw what they saw, about the mystery and beauty of being here.

I have a picture hanging in my kitchen of one of these. It brings me back to that visit on a daily basis. So yes, by all means, put this park on the to do list. The reward for us was and still is, magical.