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Old 06-27-2006   #1
Dave Frank's Avatar
Boulder, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1995
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 2,727
Camping on the ark below browns?

Looking for a spot ( may have to pay the man) to camp somewhere below browns, preferably above Salida.

Would like to be able to take out a raft at camp as well as launch to tkae kids below. I've not floated that stretch but I believe it is pretty tame. Is there anything to look out for?

Any other riverside camps that might facilitate family boating as well as some slightly more exciting stuff?


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Old 06-27-2006   #2
Join Date: Aug 2005
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It's going to be hard or impossible to find camping below browns besides Salida east free camping below Salida. But above browns put in are some private lands I believe you can go camp on, just follow to dirt road after Fisherman's bridge. Pass the entrance to fisherman's, take your first right on the dirt road headed towards Ruby Mountain put in(another brows put in), where the road curves is a possible free camping area. you will see the old campers/ tents/ cars to the left of the road. Watch for bears.

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Old 06-28-2006   #3
rivermanryan's Avatar
Durango, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1999
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 580
I am also looking for camping areas this weekend on the Ark. Can you still camp up on the dirt road that runs east of the Frog Rock run and the Numbers area? Any other not-so-popular, but nice sites in the area I am forgetting about?

Also, off topic, what are the best hiking options for young kids? While I am going to take a day to kayak the Numbers or the Gorge, the young ones want to go hiking. I have only been on the rivers and 14ers in the area.
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Old 06-28-2006   #4
Highlands Ranch, CO Paddling Since: 1993
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 482

You are kind of out of luck as far as camping on that stretch dur to the private lands. I beleive your only option would be to camp at Big Bend. I have seen some commercials camping below salida but I am not sure as too where and who's land.


One of my favorite hikes is up Browns creek to some cascades. I don't remeber the directions but if you look at a topo map between Mt. Antero and Mt White I think you should be able to follow Browns creek up. If I remember correctly it is about 3 miles up to the cascades, not sure if that is too much for your youngsters. If so head up cottonwood pass to cottonwood lake and cruise around the lake. There is cmaping up there that will be cooler. At the lake there is pay spot but drive past the lake a little bit and you will see free spots.

Note if you are heading that way over the fourth, good luck on finding a spot to camp. Places that you didn't even know you could camp will be full.
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Old 06-28-2006   #5
Vail, Colorado
Join Date: May 2006
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I would suggest camping out at Big Bend or Stone Bridge take out. You can run the river the rest of the way to Salida the next day, very chill. Just watch out for the dam, signs on the right and channel runs left. There is a good size eddy before, get out and scout it. Remember, bring plenty cans-o-beer...... not lone star as posted by the Tex Timmay earlier.

"That pregnant slut is playing us like a cheap fiddle!" - Steve Zissou
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Old 06-28-2006   #6
Dave Frank's Avatar
Boulder, Colorado
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are the big bend and stone bridge actual spots that you pay for or is it more of a free for all?

Can you get a heavy boat out at big bend?
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Old 06-28-2006   #7
Andy H.'s Avatar
Wheat Ridge, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1995
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If you try to take out at Big Bend Recreation Area (standard State Parks fee), there's not a boat ramp there - the way is blocked by 2' high posts all the way across so you have to carry your boat about 50 or 75 ft to the trailer.

I don't know why they did this because its right at the end of the rapids and is a natural dividing line between the flatwater and busy stuff.All they'd have to do would be to pull a couple of the posts and it'd be a great boat ramp.

Independent Whitewater's shop is right next door upstream and they've got a boat ramp that they may let you use for a fee. However its going to be really lousy, if at all possible, for getting your raft onto a trailer - steep and with no eddy to speak of. I once made arrangements to pull out there but didn't even see it from the river before getting to Big Bend where I had to derig and haul gear over the posts.

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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Old 06-29-2006   #8
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Salida, Colorado
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 516

Bunch of new pay spots at Hecla stayed there last month and liked them.
No amount of money is worth your free time!
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Old 06-29-2006   #9
Vail, Colorado
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 334
Hecla is a good spot as well. You can hit up the suckhole and twin falls right off the bat so your entire second day isn't too much of a float trip. Aslo, you can hike the trail and watch all the boats from boyscouts of america flip in the suckhole. Those turds never know how to run that section without fliping 9 out of 10 times. Enjoy!
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Old 06-29-2006   #10
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 40
If you're planning on heading here over the 4th you probably won't be able to get a camping spot at Helca. That place usually fills with reservations. Make reservations if you do want to stay on the weekend in the future.
Salida East is okay. NOt super kid friendly. It's only a couple miles downstream from Salida. There is a boat ramp and free BLM camping.
I wouldn't camp at Stone Bridge or Big Bend, they are day use areas and the rangers do patrol them. Potential tickets for camping at those two spots. can camp for free off of CR301...Cogans property. The road leading into AHRAs Ruby Mt site. Theres a great trail that heads up into Ruby Mt. You can still find garnets up there.
There's also free camping along CR371. Basically between #5 and #7. Beautiful spots right on the river. Or Elephant-rock (below frog rock) off of CR371 is another spot.

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