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Old 11-21-2011   #1
DoubleYouEss's Avatar
Silverthorne, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2001
Join Date: Oct 2011
Posts: 577
Zion Narrows, Virgin River

Ok, so I know that the last time this came up here in forums, there was a lot of arguing. If you want to be that guy, go home and rant to someone who cares.

I am looking to plan a trip out to Zion NP this coming spring with some folks to potentially paddle the Zion Narrows in addition to just exploring the area. What I am looking for is information regarding current access to the stretch of river, best water levels/which gauges to watch for an optimal run through, and anything else that should be of note for this trip.

All the members of this group are solid paddlers, (mostly class V boaters with 2 that are pretty comfortable on the occasional IV). As a whole we are a very cohesive paddling team and are pretty capable of handling what might could happen (based on the previous thread)

Any input you have would be great. Thanks again

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Old 11-21-2011   #2
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Seattle, Washington
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The Colorado Kayak Chronicle: Kayaking the Zion Narrows with the Arrogantly Challenged

Please don't bring anyone in there who has any chance of causing an epic. The park service might try to go the way of Yellowstone and ban access entirely. And I really want to get there in the next year for my first trip.

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Old 11-21-2011   #3
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Mountains on the river!!!, Idaho
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Be solid, check the flows when you go in, don't cause issues. Prepare for it as a technical gorged in run, take the gear needed, with plenty of repair equ.

Let me know when your going Joe. I need my 1st time too.
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Old 11-21-2011   #4
no tengo
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Baytopia, Colorado
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I have only run it once at 900 and it was very easy class III to III+ but you cannot screw up for obvious reasons. one guy in our party was in a ducky no problem whatsoever. this bullshit 600 is bullshit.

you asked for advice not a rant so the main advice is get your permit the day before if possible and start as early as possible. we got our permit the same day and started well after dawn and still made it out just fine, however, ideally you would have a cushion.

you and your party sound like you will be just fine UNLIKE SOME OTHERS. have fun.
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Old 11-21-2011   #5
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Denver, Colorado
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I second getting your permit the day before. That way you can get started early. It's a long shuttle and a long run. Have stuff for an emergency bivy if you have to and crap to repair your boat. Your best bet is the middle two weeks of April.
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Old 11-21-2011   #6
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Silverthorne, Colorado
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Thanks, for everything thus far.

As of right now, I am budgeting 2 1/2 days for this mission to allow us to get our logistics in order in the park and obtain our permit. I am planning on making the run over 2 short days, (in the event of some sweet river assisted hiking).

With the permit, are there "key phrases" to be used to make the process easier or should we just lay it all out with the NPS? is there a particular ranger that you folks have come in contact with that is "boater friendly" or knows more about kayaking than you sit in them and have a double sided oar?
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Old 11-21-2011   #7
Pugetopolis, Washington
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Re: exploring

For me,a trip to zion wouldn't be complete without a trip to the 'Subway' or Mystery Canyon. Makes for some long day hikes but will blow your mind,and way more solitude compared to the bucket-list free for all in the Narrows Canyon. The final 120ft rappel in Mystery is through a small waterfall and into the Virgin River Narrows. All the recreationalists will be craning their heads up in amazement,with the biggest 'adventure' hard-ons their zip-off pants have ever seen. Theyll be so jealous,prepare to be vibed harshly. Seriously,the final perch looking down into the narrows is one of the coolest views these sexy eyes have gazed upon.
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Old 11-21-2011   #8
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Eben, I've yet to get in there (came damn close) but it seems like spending a night in there would be the shit... and it would help address the timing issues. "2 short days" sounds smart. When I was getting turned away at the back country desk, the day after the epic weekend, the two rangers I talked to were pretty reasonable and knowledgeable, one was a kayaker, they were just acting on orders from the park super as they were trying to establish a park policy after the shit show. They know what's up and I don't think there is anything to be gained by being anything but up front with them. If you do overnight in there you need a permit for that... Good luck on getting it done, I'm jealous already...
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Old 11-22-2011   #9
Join Date: Feb 2006
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The no permit if the river hit 600 within 24 hours is indeed BS. We told them that at a meeting they had but I'm not sure they changed it. Definitely spend the night in there, camp 7 is the best, and paddle all the way out to the ranger station the next day. That makes it a great overnighter and worth the drive. And as always on the Narrows, bring the necessary mind alterants for the first 6 hours of 14cfs strangeness.

Hikes are of course epic but crowded and patrolled by Nazi NPS rangers. San Rafael Swell is similarly epic hikes/canyoneering and no people or rangers.
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Old 11-23-2011   #10
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Silverthorne, Colorado
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Are there any other must hit paddling runs in that area that I could possibly link into this trip? I like the idea of hiking around in the canyons, but if I have my boat with me I'd rather paddle.

Also where are the locations of these camps in the Narrows? Is there a topo that someone has put them on or is it based on features in the canyon walls?

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