3 Day Ponderosa Gorge

Dolores River, Ponderosa Gorge

Raft fantastic early season whitewater on the Dolores River – a true gem in the southwest. Immerse yourself in the beauty of the red rock cliff gorge while you navigate exciting class III-IV rapids on a river surrounded by towering pine trees. Departing near Durango and Cortez, CO, raft during late May-early June on this trip suitable for all skill levels and ages 10+.

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Trip Details

Adults: $549 Youth: $466.65

  • 9:00 AM Departure
  • May and Early June, water permitting
  • 50 miles on the river
  • Beginner/Intermediate, Class III-IV rapids
  • Ages 10 years and up*
  • Experienced guide on each raft
  • Meals included, from lunch on day 1 through lunch on day 3
  • Located near Cortez, Colorado near Durango and four corners region

About the Dolores River 3 Day Ponderosa Gorge Trip

The beginning of the more navigable portion of the river lies below the town of Dolores where the Dolores River enters Ponderosa Gorge. Sloping canyon walls covered with oak brush and other shrubs characterize the first few miles of river below Bradfield Bridge. Then the canyon deepens and begins its transition from a mountain to a desert river. Sandstone walls appear and groves of ponderosa pine and Douglas fir cover the benches along the river, offering some of the West’s most beautiful campsites.

On the second day, you will stop to visit an ancient Anasazi Indian ruin high on a cliff face where you can imagine the life-style of a native culture long since vanished.

With a gradient of 19 feet per mile, you’ll be moving swiftly downstream to an encounter with “Old Snaggletooth”, the most formidable rapid on the entire river. Before the invention of the self-bailing raft, some river runners maintained that Snaggletooth had been portaged more times than it had been successfully run! The miles-long House Rock Rapid is a great finale to this stunning river.

Additional Information
  • *Youth price is valid for those 10-16 years old. Youth must weigh at least 60 lbs. Minimum age and weight are subject to increase due to high water.
  • Group rates are available for groups of 10 or more.
  • Please arrive at least 1 hour prior to departure time.
  • Price listed includes your lifejacket, helmet, guide, boat, overnight bag, potable chemical toilet, transportation to and from the river and all meals from lunch on day 1 through lunch on day 6. The prices listed do not include 9% land and water access fees, cold weather rentals, camping rentals or guide tip.

Map & Directions to Cortez, Colorado

Our Dolores River trips meet at the Cozy Inn in Cortez, Colorado. The Cozy Inn is located in the southwest part of the town of Cortez, about 46 miles west of Durango, Colorado.


  • Packing List and Pre-Trip Information: a complete list of what to bring, what we provide, rental costs and directions.
  • Liability Release: required for each rafter. Please feel free to complete this form prior to arrival. Each person under 18 years of age requires a parent/guardian to co-sign.
  • Dolores River Description: information about the Dolores River, including a complete list of all trips we offer.
  • Itinerary: read our sample itinerary.
  • Gallery: look through photos of the Dolores River, our other rivers, staff, wildlife and more.
  • River Map: check out our detailed river maps including rapids and other features.
  • FAQ’s: Take a look through our most frequently asked questions and answers.