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Old 03-22-2011   #1
Live Oak, Florida
Paddling Since: 2004
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 12
Deso in July

Hello all!

I have read so many posts on this forum in the past. Many of you have made my annual river trip better each year. Thanks to everyone for their insight and knowledge.

On that note, I'm seeking more specifics on the Green through Deso and Gray canyons. I have rafted it twice before, both private trips with small groups that I set up. Both times, we just stuck on the river and enjoyed the float. (Except for one side hike at no place in particular. We found an old camp stove with a notebook full of signatures and a cavern with an intact bull carcas. Awesome.) This year, we would love to explore some of the side trips I have read so much about.

Any advice on the best side hikes, or the best place for a one-night layover would be great. We would love a place close to some great hikes, that also has a rapid nearby that we could run in the duckies or on the blue floaties (pacos). If there's a gorgeous beach and perhaps a swimming hole or jumping rock, well all the better.

Thanks for any info you can give.


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Old 03-22-2011   #2
The Russian
kazak4x4's Avatar
SLC, Utah
Paddling Since: 2005
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 1,380
Joe Hatch is a great camp for running the rapid over and over with a duckie, also it has a nice canyon to hike up, but I am not sure if there is anything to see like petroglyphs or caves.

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Old 03-22-2011   #3
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 123
Three Canyon has great hiking and petroglyphs as well. You can also check out or for lots of good info. Search this site as well. Have fun it is one of my favorite trips.
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Old 03-23-2011   #4
Carbondale, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1990
Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 14
Get the River Maps "Guide to the Green River in Desolation and Gray Canyons". Wire Fence is a very popular layover, with a good rapid and pretty good hiking, plus you can run Three Fjords and walk back up river left and ferry back to camp.
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Old 03-23-2011   #5
Dwave's Avatar
Durango, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1990
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 211
If you really want to do a side-hike trip, bring a small motor. You can buzz through the flat water, row when you want, and use it to swiftly move downstream so that time can be set aside to hike. I've done Deso/Gray quite a few times and last season used the "silver oar" for the first time. It blew me away. We quickly moved through the flat water and were able to get in 1-2 sweet side hikes everyday. Hikes I'd never done before...hikes that wouldn't be possible all in one trip. Think about it
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Old 03-23-2011   #6
Salt Lake City, Utah
Paddling Since: 2006
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 150
When I did Deso in July it was so hot that I never even considered side canyon hikes. Blast furnace hot. Get up really early if you like to hike.
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Old 03-23-2011   #7
Summit County, Colorado
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 153
Rock Creek Ranch is excellent. You can check out the ranch that is right on the river, the creek itself, then take a 2 mile or so (I think, could be slightly longer) hike up to some pretty cool petros. You can now camp right below the ranch. In previous years you couldn't, but that changed last season. Look for signs of bears, though. My husband and dog were approached on a solo trip two years ago. Made it out just fine, but other groups had problems as well and the bear did end up being shot by another group a week later. When we went last year we didn't see any signs of bears, but just be on the look-out. Moonshiner's cabin is another great hike with a small spring above the ruin. Chandler Creek is nice - again a creek with an old fireplace ruin up the creek a few hundred yards. Chandler Creek was a great camp for us last August. It had a nice, big beach for swimming, the rapid to play in above, and trees for shade higher up on the beach, not to mention the creek was running crystal clear and super cold. It was great for filtering water and cooling off in, versus the chocolate milk river. There is a nice trail from the camp back up to the creek and above the rapid so you can play. Go to Amazon and look for Thomas G. Rampton's Deso/Grays guide - all of this I mentioned will be in there with great detail on how to find everything. The River Maps guide is great too. Use both together and you shouldn't miss anything worth checking out. There are petros scattered all throughout the trip that are definitely worth seeing, as well as the ruins. I second DWave's suggestion to bring an engine - we've had ours every time except the first time we did the trip and it's AWESOME. Makes everyday a little more stress free (like it should be), especially when those nasty headwinds hit. We've even just used a trolling motor with a solar panel to re-charge the battery and it was perfect. Deso is great - enjoy your trip!!
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Old 03-24-2011   #8
Live Oak, Florida
Paddling Since: 2004
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 12
Thanks everyone for the suggestions. We had a bear encounter on our last trip down Deso. It was the first week in August, 2008. In fact, we hit Joe Hutch the morning after the flash flood that changed the rapid. The bear was playful. Fortunately we were on the river, and he was on the bank. He (or she I suppose) watched up playing for a while, then came down to the edge of the water and splashed about a bit. We were about 15 to 20 feet off shore, just paddling enough to stay in one place and watch. The bear then got all the way in and rolled around for a bit.

The whole experience was awesome, but we were definitely on the look out from there on out. We camped on the Ute side that night, to be on the opposite side of the river.

I'll check out the books you guys mentioned. And, I'm considering the motor idea. We're having the whole trip outfitted since we all have to fly in, but I'm going to see if out outfitter can make it happen.

Thanks again!

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Old 03-31-2011   #9
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jackson, Wyoming
Paddling Since: 1976
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 164
bears can swim good. they love that ute side,too.don't hate deso.
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Old 04-04-2011   #10
Live Oak, Florida
Paddling Since: 2004
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 12

Originally Posted by stuntsheriff View Post
bears can swim good. they love that ute side,too.don't hate deso.
I don't hate Deso? I LOVE it! This is my third time making the trip. The bear was a highlight of the trip, not a bad thing.

I see you only have one post, did you really sign up just to post that misguided comment on my thread?

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