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Old 05-25-2004   #1
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 254
Mellow Durango overnighter beta request!

Does anyone have any beta for a good overnighter near durango (or between denver and durango). Looking to get out for a kayak/canoe trip. Prefer no roadside, non technical run (III), minimal crowds, and good camping. Thinking of the Dolores or San Miguel. Any beta for these rivers or any others coming to mind?

Any advice appreciated. Thanks - S

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Old 06-01-2004   #2
Fruita, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1995
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 90
I haven't found it for sure but I live in Durango and am looking. Kinda waiting to see if the Dolores will flow at all. Contact me at if you're interested. Mark

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Old 06-02-2004   #3
Dave Frank's Avatar
Boulder, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1995
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 2,727
The gateway stretch of the Delores may fit your needs. It is too low for a raft, but would probably float a canoe just fine. It does have one class IV, but the rest is very mellow.
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Old 06-02-2004   #4
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 49
upper San Juan

Might check out the upper san juan starting at Sand Creek on E. Fork to below confluence with w. fork (I think below Pagosa spgs.)

Try a search on google for canoeman and upper San Juan river for details.

or look at upper Dolores, may be a bit more technical.
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Old 06-03-2004   #5
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 5
No way on the Upper San Juan!

That is not a run for a canoe! We saw a guy with a ducky sitting beside the road on that run last week. Looked like he ran into trouble with some rapids and hiked out to the highway (trespassing). There were a bunch of rancher types swarming around him when we drove by and a State Patrol sniffing all around the take-out. Anybody know the story there?
In any event, it is not a run for a canoe. Especially if you put in at Sand Creek, there is a nasty rapid below there.
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Old 06-03-2004   #6
cosurfgod's Avatar
Durango, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2001
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 384
Wow! It is amazing how people will post bad beta and just try to guess. The East Fork is about 15 miles north of Pagosa Springs. It is a class III but not for an open boat. Where the West and the East Fork come together there is a class IV.

Below Pagosa Springs there is Mesa Canyon. I don't care what CRC says this is a long class II (~13.7 miles). This strech is covered with private land and pissed off ranchers. There is one break spot and it has alot of restrictions.

The lower Delores will not be having releases out of the McPhee again this year. I am not familiar with the lower Delores because they have not released in the past 3 or four years. The Upper Delores is fun and is at fun level right now (1100cfs). It is all private land but you might be able to camp at the take out. Not very good camping though.

PS-Double-a-ron, you talked me into it, I think I will try the Lake Fork.
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Old 06-03-2004   #7
Dave Frank's Avatar
Boulder, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1995
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 2,727
The lowest stretch of the Dlores (below Gateway) gets all or at least much of the San Miguel's water. It's not alot, but It should float a canoe.
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Old 06-03-2004   #8
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 49
wow! it's amazing how "people" don't read carefull

FYI: I said check the website for details on the San Juan. I hadn't for quite awhile. But there the guy explains some of the more difficult nature of this run. I didn't say it was my experience-just something to check out as it was something I was interested in running some day. My memory I think was of the lower mostly class II stretch but certainly had no knowledge of access problems, like you are up for on the Lake Fork.

As an aside. Although the initial request was about a mellow run, the assumptions being made about what is capable--or not in this case--in an open canoe is nonsense. Basically the sky is the limit for those capable of it. Class III and IV is run of the mill for good open boaters.

As John Stossel would say "Give me a break".
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Old 06-03-2004   #9
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 11
Rio Grande above Creede

The upper Rio Grande below the Rio Grande resevoir is only about 6 miles but very remote. It runs when the valley needs irrigation water or when the res is really full. It is a beautiful remote run through wilderness. It is relatively easy, as I remember, since it's been a few years and I was a beginner when I first ran it. We always talked about self supporting and bringing fishing poles, but never did. It would make a great overnighter.

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