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Old 08-01-2006   #1
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 646
Which is better, Gates of Lodore, Yampa Canyon, or Cataract?

OK, after years of not getting a permit, I think next year I'll splurge for a commercial trip with the family.

Which is a better dessert raft trip, Gates of Lodore, Yampa Canyon, or Cataract?

I'm mainly interested in beauty, interesting scenery, good side hikes, but I also want an interesting river that is moving along with some reasonable rapids.

I'm not too excited about Cataract because it's a short trip and the float down from Moab seems kind of dull, as does the float at the end.


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Old 08-01-2006   #2
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 405
Hi Basil. I did the Gates of Ladore this year, and was pleasently suprised with how gorgeous the canyon was. One of the most beautiful floats I've done! We did 2 good hikes, and could have done another, but we were too busy drinking on the first night. There is a bit of flat water, but also some nice class 2-3 rapids each day. Should be plently exciting for the kids (if that's the family). Also, we had some GREAT campsights (the rangers pick them, so we may have just lucked out).

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Old 08-01-2006   #3
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 498
The Blonde no the Red head ok the Brunete. Oh I mean door number 2. I should not post after a blender drink. I would pick the Yampa. I like Cat the best BUT the lake part kinda stinks anyway but is worse with the water downand may not the best intro trip. You won't be a bit dissapointed with any of the 3 how ever. sj
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Old 08-01-2006   #4
no tengo
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Baytopia, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1876
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 1,768
pick the yampa cause you could arrive one day early and run cross mountain then meet the fam at the put-in
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Old 08-02-2006   #5
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Seattle, Washington
Paddling Since: 1999
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It's easy to get a private Cat permit around now if you're interested. I'd still call the rapids III+ even at low water. There are a few great hikes (the Dolls House at spanish bottom is awesome and there is a good horseshoe loop where you can hike over the ridge and beat the rafts) and good beach campsites. I'm not sure about short - the trip has always taken me a week. The commercials may be motoring you in through the flatwater, which would significantly shorten the trip. I think the scenery is top notch and the flat water gives you time to hang out and relax in the sun (or in my case, drink etc). Definite downside is that all 30 rapids could easily be done in a day, but I've always taken two because there are great beaches and surf waves. I haven't done gates or yampa. It's also easy to get an early Cat permit - I've done it in march a couple times. Gets a bit cold at night....
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Old 08-02-2006   #6
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Summit, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1996
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 2,085
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I'd consider Deso and the San Juan, too. All have excellent scenery, good hikes, and enjoyable rapids. Cat is probably the easiest to get a private permit on but also has by far the most flatwater. Probably doesn't matter which you pick. You'll have a great time regardless.

"The world would be a better place if everyone kayaked."-Brad Ludden (Valhalla)
"You only get one chance to run a drop blind."-DD
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Old 08-02-2006   #7
Golden, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1999
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 321
I'd say definately go for Yampa. Its a sweet run that the family would love. It also the hardest permit to get of the runs listed above, so it's a good trip to splurge on. The only other trips I would consider going commercial on due to difficulty acquiring permits would be the Middle Fork, the Selway and the Grand. The Selway might not make a good family trip though as it can get pretty gnarly in there, especially at high water. Some outfitters book up well in advance of the trip, so you might want to shop around now, and figure out when you can make reservations.
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Old 08-02-2006   #8
Gnarnia, Colorado
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 651
Lodore for sure. It's a great river trip. Incredible scenery, great camping, very nice side hikes, great fishing (Jones Hole and the confluence), fun rapids (II-III), Split Mtn. is very cool, lots and lots of wildlife and perfect for the family. PM me if you want to see pictures from my last Lodore trip.
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Old 08-02-2006   #9
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Unincorporated Douglas County, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2005
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 961
Never done Cat, but having run Yampa this spring and Lodore a year ago, I would say Yampa, but you can't go wrong with either. The hike to Butt Crack Falls at Jones Hole is always a favorite, especially for kids.
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Old 08-02-2006   #10
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Knife Fork of the Spoon Paddling Since: 1984
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 365
They all kick ass. Commercial.... i'd go Yampa if commercial you get one more day then low-dor. I think most if not all motor the flats of Cat.

Cat is my personal fav b/c i like 4-5 days of rig-to-drink two days in the rapids which are way better then low-dor and yampa and one all night winefest row out (private trip of course). Then get a house boat on Powell for a few days. The doll house is the coolest place i have been.

Kids.... go for the yampa better mud pits :P

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