Yampa - 05. Deerlodge Park to Echo Park

Yampa, Colorado, US


05. Deerlodge Park to Echo Park (Dinosaur)

Usual Difficulty II-III(IV) (for normal flows)
Length 46 Miles
Avg. Gradient 12 fpm

Hula at the Grand Overhang

Hula at the Grand Overhang
Photo of Steve, Penny and Claire Durbin by Bruce Hicks taken 07/01/08 @ 5000 cfs

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
usgs-09260050 1300 - 25000 cfs II-III(IV) 64d04h29m 222 cfs (too low)

River Description

The Yampa is a classic multi-day whitewater river. Most boaters spend 3 to 5 days floating the Yampa and Green Rivers that comprise this run. For most in-season runs a permit must be acquired from the Dinosaur National Monument Ranger Station. These permits are highly competitive and the possibility of winning a permit varies year to year. The permit generally specifies the camping beaches for each float trip.

This page describes the Yampa to the confluence of the Green at Echo Park.  Boaters almost alway continue another 26 miles down the Green Echo Park to Split Mountain section. The total distance of the two sections is about 72 miles.

As a high desert run the weather pattern of the Yampa River can range from freezing to over 100 degrees in less than a day during the early float season. Later runs in July or August are generally hotter and more predictable but can suffer from low water and mosquitoes.

Almost every big rapid on the Yampa can be scouted on river right. The Yampa at Deerlodge starts as a wide meandering river in an open desert. Within a mile or so it enters a box canyon and some easy but continuous rapids begin. There are several notable rapids on the Yampa and the gradient is fairly constant for most of the first day. On the second or third day of paddling the Yampa becomes tranquil as it approaches its largest rapid, Warm Springs.
Scout Warm Springs from river right. A huge flood that temporarily dammed the river formed this rapid. The rapid itself would not be much more than an easy class IV drop were it not on a multi day river excursion. Flipping a raft in Warm Springs almost always results in an unpleasant night with wet or lost gear.

Below Warm Springs the river continues to present complex rapids and wave trains, but never approaches the difficulty of Warm Springs until after the confluence with the Green in Split Mountain Canyon.

Any whitewater boat (C-1, OC-1, OC-2, Raft, K-1, K-2, etc can float the Yampa.)

Permit Information


Permits required year around. Lottery for high-use season second weeked in May to second weekend in July with applications due Jan 31.

StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2017-12-28 23:17:14


Stream team editor

Rapid Summary

Mile Rapid Name Class Features (Legend)
0.0Deerlodge ParkPutin Photo
1.2Anderson HoleII+Hazard Playspot Photo
1.5Yampa CanyonPhoto
10.0Tepee RapidII+Hazard Photo
22.5Big JoeII+Hazard
37.0Tiger Wall
42.0Warm SpringsIVHazard Photo
42.0Warm Springs/MaytagIVHazard Photo
46.0Echo ParkAccess

Rapid Descriptions

Deerlodge Park


Photo of trip by Will Reeves

The best river access for the put-in.

Anderson Hole (Class II+, Mile 1.2)

Anderson hole

Anderson hole
Photo of Will Reeves by William Reeves taken 1997 @ 3000

The first notable rapid is Anderson Hole. This drop is easy but makes a river wide horizon line after the box canyon opens up. Some play waves exist here.

Yampa Canyon

Yampa Canyon

Yampa Canyon
Photo of Leaving the first canyon on the Yampa by William Reeves

After a 1.5 mile float you will enter the Yampa box canyon.

Tepee Rapid (Class II+, Mile 10.0)

Tepee rapid

Tepee rapid
Photo of Will Reeves by William Reeves

A wave-train with large holes at high water.

Big Joe (Class II+, Mile 22.5)
The Yampa is squeezed down at this point and the rocky debris in the river creates a wave and hole filled rapid.

Tiger Wall
A tiger striped wall on river left. Boatsmen kiss the wall for good luck.

Warm Springs (Class IV, Mile 42.0)

Warm Springs rapid

Warm Springs rapid
Photo of Will Reeves by William Reeves

The largest rapid on the Yampa. A 1965 Debris/Flash flood event formed this rapid rated among the 10 biggest drops in the country. Scout from the right.




Swimmin Hole

Swimmin Hole
Photo of Kim Nearpass frolics in a tributary to the Yampa by Julie Keller (www.juliekeller.com)

Numerous hot and cold springs flow into the Yampa and Green River. However, the springs at Warm Springs are not warm at all.

Warm Springs/Maytag (Class IV, Mile 42.0)

Warm Springs Rapid

Warm Springs Rapid
Photo of Brian Postlewaite by William Reeves

The last hole in Warm Springs is named Maytag and can flip rafts or work over boaters.

Echo Park
The confluence with the Green river

User Comments

Users can submit comments.
July 20 2017 (551 days ago)
danamycottam (158939)
Just ran this at 1400 with my 17 foot cat and other 18 foot boats and barely made it through big
joe. The hole at warm spring at this level was nothing and we all took turn running right through
it with our duckies. Great beaches. Great camping. Its a shame they don't give out more permits
since there are so many camping spots. It took me 10 years to get this permit
September 26 2016 (848 days ago)
Justlive (157352)
Cross Mountain Gorge is my favorite kayak run in Colorado. But I only know it at low flows around
1500 cfs. Filled with eddies and the rapids have great twists, sneaks, and surprises. Everyone on
the river is always pumped up! IV+...significantly harder than the Numbers on the Arkansas but not
nearly as hard as Gore Canyon. This makes a great first IV+ run.
June 13 2014 (1684 days ago)
boatinjo (156619)
We misplaced a bow line on June 6th possibly in the Yampa River. We noticed it missing at Harding
Hole and know we had one at Anderson. It is about 20' in length of about 3/8" rope. We are unsure
if a guest may have taken it to use for something else or if it was poorly tied to the boat and
fell off. Just want to inform the boaters of this potential hazard.

Associated Projects

  • Basin Non-Consumptive Needs Assesments (CO)
    AW is working to define stream-flows that meet recreational boating needs across Colorado. In both the Colorado and Yampa River Basin's, AW has helped develop baseline data for whitewater recreation
  • Colorado River Basin Supply Study
    American Whitewater's staff and contractors are working to develop quantitative metrics that help the US Bureau of Reclamation evaluate impacts to recreational stream-flows across the Colorado basin.
  • Yampa River (CO)
    AW is working to preserve the free-flowing character of the Yampa River, while multiple interests set their sights on the Yampa as a new source for clean, high quality water supplies for Oil and Gas d