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Old 10-16-2012   #1
Vail, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2007
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 5
Class II-III trip Colorado, New Mexico, Utah 4-5 Days


I am looking at putting together a rafting trip with some friends in the next year and am looking for suggestions. I am an avid boater and my friends are novices(flatlanders)... I'd like something mellow with a bit of adventure but not to much. I'd be bringing my 10 yr old daughter as well... She's been through Shoshone class III and handles it well though.

I have a 14ft paddle raft, so we'd like some rapids with great beaches to camp at.

The Rio grande looks interesting, anything else? I've dome Labryth Canyon in a canoe, it just doesn't have any rapids


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Old 10-16-2012   #2
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BZN, Montana
Paddling Since: 2008
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 1,489
Try to get a rio chama permit. It's a 2 night affair with easy whitewater and a beautiful canyon. Probably a perfect trip. The racecourse/pilar section on the rio grand is quite a bit more technical than shoshone but not necessarily that much harder.

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Old 10-16-2012   #3
Durango South, 4CRS
Paddling Since: 07
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 173
If the Dolores is running next year that would be my choice. There is one IV but other than that it's all beautiful II-III with several takeout options to make it as long or short of a trip as you want it.
Life is either a daring adventure or nothing. - Helen Keller
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Old 10-17-2012   #4
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Westminster, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1980
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 219
Deso Gray (Green River) might of interest. Three Fords, Joe Hutch Creek and Coal Creek are worth a scout.

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Old 10-17-2012   #5
Rojo's Avatar
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Paddling Since: 1985
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 184
With 4-5 days you could do the Chama for two nights, then camp north of Pilar for day runs on the Rio Grand Race Course section, or even the Lower Box pending weather and flows.
Chama can be difficult to get a permit but the camp sites are great.
Not much for rapids see attached for a shot of Aragon rapid at 1000cfs taken 9/22/12.
Rio Grand camping is in established roadside camp grounds but pending flow the race course rapids are fun and roadside if any problems.
The Lower box is very isolated and the water can be very cold so that may be a stretch for your group.

If the Dolores runs they usually turn it on around Memorial Day and you could extend trip by doing both upper sections.
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Old 10-17-2012   #6
cataraftgirl's Avatar
Sandy, Utah
Paddling Since: 1997
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 3,121
Deso or San Juan. Deso has more rapids, San Juan is more mellow with a few rapids. Both have great canyon scenery and good camps. Is the on Deso a done deal? It sure will be an improvement over the old system....goofy & frustrating.
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Old 10-17-2012   #7
2tomcat2's Avatar
Westminster, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1980
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 219
BLM Price Field Office is providing a 30 day public input period to the proposed changes; language in the message says "if the proposal is approved"...Amy at the river office might have some other info.
"Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans"
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Old 10-30-2012   #8
mtriverrat's Avatar
Lewistown, middle of MT
Paddling Since: 1982
Join Date: Jan 2012
Posts: 222
We did Deso (Green River) with a bunch of kids last year. They had a blast. Even with the hurricane wind day. Enough rapids to have fun, but not enough to scare them.
If you lean over to watch the river slipping slowly away beneath you, you will suddenly know everything there is to be known. Winnie the Pooh
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Old 10-31-2012   #9
lmyers's Avatar
Buena Vista, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2005
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 4,208
I second the San Juan and the Chama recommendations. They do both, however, require permits during peak season.

Another option would be the White Rock Canyon of the Rio Grande near Santa Fe. Here is a trip report I put together from floating it this season:

White Rock Canyon low water TR

I would certainly look for as much water as possible though since the last few miles are a flatwater paddle out.
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Old 10-31-2012   #10
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Silverthorne, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2001
Join Date: Oct 2011
Posts: 577
You can also overnight the Middle into Lower Taos Box on the Rio Grande, that will give you a good 3 days on the river with plenty of time to scout the bigger rapids in the Lower Box and enjoy the hot springs in the canyon.

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