River Writers

(women's trip)


JULY 14th – JULY 19th

Open to all students entering 9th - 12th Grade

(scholarships are available)


Download the One Page Overview Here

In July of 2022, Open Roads is curating a six-day river rafting adventure for high school-age young women that is focused on providing time in nature when they can unplug and reflect on the lives they want to create, while giving them access to the stories of college-age mentors who have been exactly where they are. In addition to the growth that comes from group travel in nature, participants will get an introduction to documentary-style journal writing to record their journey. Our belief is that this combination of experiences will leave us with an increased confidence in our ability to navigate a healthy and grounded path through high school, to college, and beyond.


The heart of the trip is a four-day river rafting trip through the majestic Gates of Lodore Canyon, on the Green River in Utah -- one of our country’s most awe-inspiring wilderness areas. The focus of this trip is to use the unique opportunity that river travel offers as a time to decompress, reflect on our values, and share stories of how to make the most of this pivotal time in life with others who have traveled a similar path.


Too often, the high school years are marked by stress and anxiety about the transition to college and beyond. Our belief is that by bringing together college students and high school students in an immersive and inspiring environment, we can bring a sense of calm about the road ahead, and maybe even bring back some of the magic of this wonderful rite of passage. The trip will also be a thrilling and fun journey with a combination of exhilarating rapids, peaceful flatwater, hikes to waterfalls and native rock art, camping under the stars, ample time for play, and so much more.


We are partnering with Holiday River Expeditions, who we have worked with for over 20 years. Holiday handles all river logistics, food prep, and will provide a wonderful introduction to the one-of-a-kind geology that will inspire us at every turn. Learn more about the river portion of the trip on the Holiday website here: GATES OF LODORE TRIP OVERVIEW





Thursday, July 14th

·  Arrive at the Salt Lake City Airport before Noon MT

·  Begin travel as a group to Vernal, Utah

·  Meet Holiday River Guides for basic introduction to river travel and to pick up gear

·  Camp nearby and pack for the adventure ahead

·  Begin discussions about values framework, photography, and writing


Day 2

·  Watch for raptors and pronghorns on the three-hour drive from Vernal to the put in at Browns Park National Wildlife Refuge

·  Enter the canyon through the impressive Gates of Lodore and imagine you’re entering the great unknown

·  This day bring the first major rapids we’ll navigate

·  Spend the night sleeping under a new moon with an epic chance to see the night sky as never before


Day 3

·  The “Gates” mark the beginning of high desert country (the Colorado Plateau) in what is deemed an ecological transition-zone: a landscape teeming with wildlife

·  As the canyon narrows, more rapids emerge and we will have the opportunity to discover a secluded waterfall


Day 4

·  At the confluence of the Green and Yampa rivers at Echo Park, the canyon widens and the river circles Steamboat Rock

·  Beyond this, the river cuts through the dramatic Mitten Park Fault and enters Whirlpool Canyon

·  The afternoon may be spent at Jones Hole Creek, a blue-ribbon trout stream with side canyon petroglyphs and a waterfall


Day 5

·  Enjoy a peaceful morning in Island and Rainbow parks before entering another massive gorge

·  The Green’s powerful forces cut laterally through Split Mountain’s uplifted and colorful core

·  Slide into the take out at approximately 2:00 p.m. Our expected time of arrival back at our headquarters is 4:00 p.m.

·  Drive to Salt Lake City for a final banquet and prepare for return home


Day 6

·  All participants fly home from SLC, departing before Noon on Tuesday July 19th


·  All camping and other gear will be provided by Open Roads and Holiday River Expeditions. Participants only need to bring the clothing on the recommended packing list, which is also accompanied by a useful FAQ

·  Participants are responsible for booking their own travel to and from Salt Lake City, arriving before noon on Thursday, July 14th, and departing before Noon on Tuesday, July 19th. Please contact Open Roads if you need assistance.

·  Every other element of travel from arrival to departure will be handled by Open Roads.

·  Leading up to the trip Open Roads will be in close consultation with our medical advisors and will release our COVID protocols at that time, based on the national situation at that moment. We do expect that a negative pre-trip COVID test will be required.


Participant Forms

Please complete all forms and upload them in our portal below. Holiday River Expedition Forms are to be completed via the links below then downloaded when complete and uploaded to our portal. If you have any questions please email sam@openroads.org.