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Old 06-20-2011   #1
Denver, Colorado
Join Date: Jun 2011
Posts: 2
Brown's Canyon in July -- Boring?

Hey Guys,

I was referred here by a friend in hopes you guys could give me the scoop. I apologize if it's off-topic, this seemed like the best fit.

My husband and I have done a few Class IV-V runs in other states, but recently moved to CO and would like to take a commercial family trip. Family being my parents and siblings while they're in town, and although they're all in decent physical condition, none of them are super active outside of the typical. Youngest is 19. My mom is an okay swimmer, nothing great. Everyone else is pretty good. Only a couple have gone rafting before and it was years ago on some Class II-III rapids.

With that said, I have been looking into some trips. It seems like the only somewhat local and logical trip options would be the Royal Gorge or Brown's Canyon, but with the levels being high right now, I'm not sure the Royal Gorge would be that safe for them. However, I worry that Brown's Canyon will be boring...and it would suck to spend all that dough on a lazy river.

To boot, it won't be until the 2nd week of July, so no early season fun. Probably an afternoon 1/2 day trip.

Any opinions? I'd very much appreciate it. Can't think of a better place to get some honesty in regards to the fun level of Brown's in July.

Thank you!

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Old 06-20-2011   #2
dtown, Colorado
Paddling Since: 07
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 10
I am biased, but I like Browns at any level... in all seriousness.

The rapids will be different, level depending, but I have yet to consider it a boring run any time I've made it up there.

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Old 06-20-2011   #3
pnw, Washington
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 3,404
Isnt 3200 the cutoff for commercials for the gorge? If it is then that one is out of contention at current levels.
"Yesterday I was clever and tried to change the world. Today I am wise and try to change myself." -Rumi
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Old 06-20-2011   #4
DanOrion's Avatar
Indian Hills, Colorado
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 1,448
Browns will still be in the "fun zone" during the second week of July. It's a beautiful pool-droppy-splashy Class III stretch of river. Don't expect to get scared, but expect to get wet!
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Old 06-20-2011   #5
Jenks, Oklahoma
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 1,408
I have kayaked Browns over the years from 3000 cfs down to 400 cfs. Been making trips out there since the early 80's or so. I don't think there is a bad CFS level for Browns, just different.

Might just be me, but I have never been bored in Browns Canyon or any where on the ARK from the Numbers down thru Royal Gorge.

Royal Gorge is a extremely fun run but day in day out no matter what the CFS - Browns Canyon gets my vote for fun.
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Old 06-20-2011   #6
xena13's Avatar
Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1996
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 244
Also, this year the flows look like they'll stay higher longer than most years. Brown's will be fun, not boring.
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Old 06-20-2011   #7
Thronton, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2008
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 665
Originally Posted by dtownboater View Post
...The rapids will be different, level depending, but I have yet to consider it a boring run any time I've made it up there.
I second that.

It should be fun well into July for the people you have described.
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Old 06-21-2011   #8
kclowe's Avatar
Aurora, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 453
I've never had a boring day on Browns. Do it!
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Old 06-21-2011   #9
lmyers's Avatar
Buena Vista, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2005
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 4,207
They will probably enjoy Browns more in July than the reasoning being that the flatwater is at the beginning of Browns, then you have relatively continuous rapids all the way down to the takeout. The Royal Gorge has a little bit of flatwater at the beginning, but a lot at the end....

Depending on how the water holds out it might still be 2000+ in Browns...and that makes for good commercial trips.
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Old 06-21-2011   #10
Andy H.'s Avatar
Wheat Ridge, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1995
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 2,909
Sometimes I think only people who've never swam a rapid or never seen a situation go from routine to completely out of hand in a matter of seconds could be bored on Class III whitewater.

Brown's will be a kick for a lot of the summer this season!


Nothing in the world is more yielding and gentle than water. Yet it has no equal for conquering the resistant and tough. The flexible can overcome the unbending; the soft can overcome the hard. - Lao Tse
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