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Old 03-06-2006   #1
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 82
Suggestions for overnighters in northern CO?

I'm heading to CO for 10 days around the end of June/first part of July. I hear the snowpack up north is good, so that's where I'm thinking of heading. I'm looking for class IV-easy V overnightable runs. The Encampment seems to be a good one. Any other ideas? What can be put together in the Poudre drainage? From what I know, most are roadside and we're wanting to get some good wilderness camping in if possible. I don't think we're going south this summer. So, the Animas is not on list and I did the Black Canyon last year (looking for a little less hiking). If anyone can provide suggestions that would be awesome. I'd lean towards a class III-IV run too if it had good wilderness and was maybe three days long. Thanks.

As a sidebar, I've read about Grape Creek of the Ark for a while. I hear the Ark has good snowpack this year. What time of year would be the best to give it a shot? Anyone think it'll go this summer?

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Old 03-06-2006   #2
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 177
Don't know about much for true overnighters in the north. Could do some things on the yampa - juniper canyon or some combination of things before cross mountain - not permitted. Encampment is a possibility but is usually done as a 1 day run - 15 or so miles, not sure about good camping when actually in the canyon part but could be done i guess. Other option would be North platte - III through six mile gap - could be two -three day trip and if you caught it at high flows could be fun but fair amount of flat water - canyon would be more like III+ if at high flows.

Whiskey's for drinkin' and waters for fightin'
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Old 03-06-2006   #3
Seattle, Washington
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 207
Sounds like you should find your way onto a permit for something in Idaho. Not much in the way of true overnighters in Colorado unless you stop to scout everything class II and above.

While the Encampment is super fun at higher levels, you could probably get that done in 3-5 hours. Plenty of great car camping spots close to the put-in with very few people around.
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Old 03-06-2006   #4
Mad Scientist/Creeker
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 803
Big South from RMNP is a good one. Class V but everything is scout/portageable. Two days with excellent fishing/wilderness camping. If the gate at long draw isn't open yet then you will essentially be by yourself. First day may involve easy downhill hiking along the creek while it picks up steam. Should be perfect timing for your dates. Here is a link to an articlele about this run.
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Old 03-06-2006   #5
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 42
The Beverly Hillbillies theme song said it best when the twanged
"California is the place you outta be"
Numerous options out here for a trip like that.
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Old 03-06-2006   #6
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 80
Consider the South Salmon in Idaho -- no-permit class IV/V-, fly back to the putin for a reasonable fee(or paddle out in a day on the main) , and a nice 2-3 day trip. Also, with the pack up there, you could spend a few days on the other runs in the area -- east fork south fork, the goat creek section of the south fork, and the Sesche... Ohh -yeah, and excellent uncrowded camping with hotsprings.... (golf at yellowpine if your so inclined as well.)
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Old 03-06-2006   #7
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Golden, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1984
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 1,879
Re: Suggestions for overnighters in northern CO?

Originally Posted by Curtis_Elwood
As a sidebar, I've read about Grape Creek of the Ark for a while. I hear the Ark has good snowpack this year. What time of year would be the best to give it a shot? Anyone think it'll go this summer?
It might go this summer, but I gotta say- there are better options that than Grape Creek. After wanting to try it since CCR1 came out, I caught it last year at about the lowest flow anyone could possibly boat. In the opinion of the 7 or so boaters that went that day, it's a whole lot of work for about 300 yards of manky V. More water MIGHT make it more palatable, but I would say 300 out of the res is the minimum; even then, there would have to be nothing else going off anywhere on the Front Range to choose Grape as a weekend destination. Pretty canyon, though.

There are a few shots on Alex' website if you want to check it out- including Gary E's finesse of the big falls above a seive. Cool shot, but boofing 8 feet onto rocks didn't look promising to the rest of us. Also- some of the best-looking features have bad consequences in the landings.
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Old 03-06-2006   #8
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 82
Thanks for the suggestions thus far. Keep 'em coming if there's any left. Big South looks good. Might have to check it out. I'm coming from Missouri, so I'd rather not spend two and a half days driving to Idaho only to boat 4 days and drive back home. If I can somehow swing it, I'd like to stay out there longer. My friend did the S. Salmon a year or two ago and raved about it. Sounds exactly like what I'm looking for. There's so much good stuff in CO, it would be a shame to drive past it all. So, we'll see.

And, thanks for the info on Grape Creek.
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Old 03-06-2006   #9
Seattle, Washington
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 207
Hmm, more. Ok, put in above Georgetown Hill. Some good 5+ hair to start it off- might be tuff with your boats fully loaded. Stop off in G-town for some supplys if you need 'em. You've got about 7 or so miles of tame water till you hit Lawson. Lots of good ledge drops to finish out the day somewhere around the BK in Dumont. Camp anywhere that looks discrete, just not in the yards with trailers in them.
Day 2: No need to set an alarm clock, I-70 will take care of that. Pack up and continue hitting up fun class IV mank that takes you into the secluded town of Idaho Springs. If your missing human contact, feel free to get out here and have a few cold ones at the Tommyknocker Brewery- just make sure to lock your boat up on the side of the creek. Continue on past Kermit's into the true wilderness area of this stunning canyon. You'll hit up some intermittent class IV rapids that are lots of fun. When you see a nice large flat dirt area, you have arrived at the reknowned "tortilla flats". Nice flat spot here to pitch the tent.
Day 3: You'll have several fun class V rapids coming up today. Be careful not to get hurt here, because those casino buses are unlikely to stop for your soggy ass. About 5 or so miles into it, you'll come across the hairiest rapid yet, just ignore the fact that there is a highway bridge directly after it. From now on, just 5 more miles of easy IV till you hit gaperville. Tell all you encounter about the amazing wilderness journey you just had. Let me know if you need anymore beta.

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