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Old 05-14-2012   #1
Bailey, Colorado
Join Date: Aug 2011
Posts: 56
San Juan Reserved Camping

The lowest camp we have on an upcoming trip is one of the Slickhorns, not relishing the long day to the takeout. Any options to camp lower w/o a permit? Do the regs apply on river left as well? Is it a total bust to camp somewhere other than where your permit specifies?

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Old 05-14-2012   #2
TakemetotheRiver's Avatar
Durango, Colorado
Paddling Since: 05
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 1,477
Oljeto and Steer Gulch are both available for reservation below Slickhorn. Oljeto is about 5 miles from the takeout and Steer Gulch is about 3. Oljeto is on the left, but it does not require a tribal permit. There are really no other places to camp, so looking for somewhere you haven't reserved probably wouldn't work out.

"There is NOTHING--absolute nothing--half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats. Look here! If you've really nothing else on hand this morning, supposing we drop down the river together, and have a long day of it?" -Wind in the Willows
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Old 05-14-2012   #3
Kayenta, Arizona
Paddling Since: 2006
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 95
It isnt too bad


Unfortunately, there are only permitted camps below the Slickhorn sections. It is only 11 miles from there to take-out, and is totally do-able in a long day regardless of flows. We have done this multiple times, and once went all the way from John's Canyoyn to Clay Hills (about 25 miles) at 350 CFS in overloaded duckies in only one it is not a big problem.

I would advise you not to attempt to camp below the Slickhorn area without a permit. you risk not only a fine, but losing the ability to gain a permit for a year on multiple rivers. The left side is Navajo Nation side, but is controlled by the BLM. and you should certainly respect this and not attempt to poach a site.

Honestly, there are not really any camps to be had other than the permitted sites anyhow, and it is not worth it. If I were you, I would plan to just get on the water early, drink heavily and get to Clay Hilles in the evening in time to camp there before de-rigging and getting on home the following day.

At the end of it all, the call is yours, but I would recomend you just stick with your permits and have a great trip.

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Old 05-14-2012   #4
Bailey, Colorado
Join Date: Aug 2011
Posts: 56
Thanks guys. Tried for a lower camp but they were all taken. We'll go for the long day from Slickhorn.
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Old 05-14-2012   #5
Summit County, Colorado
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 153
We will be doing a long day from Slickhorn to the take-out as well the week after Memorial Day weekend. Three years ago when we did this stretch, we had reserved the Oljeto campsite. That was the week that it rained exponential amounts (literally, everyday and night) and Oljeto was washed away in an instant - the group that was camped there only had minutes to get out of the way. It ruined their camp and severed lines to their boats. When we floated by, we saw on our GPS where it was supposed to be, but because of the debris it did not look like a campsite at all. We missed the camp and just kept going to the takeout, and camped there and waited for our cars to arrive the next morning. It all worked out and it's totally doable in a long day, which is why we plan to do it again for this trip.
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Old 05-14-2012   #6
Pugetopolis, Washington
Paddling Since: 96
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 767
It's not that bad. And slickhorn D is how you access the famous Grand Gulch,sorta. It tops out,up the canyon,and you can't access the goods w/o climbing gear....
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Old 05-15-2012   #7
stuntsheriff's Avatar
jackson, Wyoming
Paddling Since: 1976
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 164
oh no ,an eleven mile day!
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Old 05-15-2012   #8
jackson, Wyoming
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 1
we had about 1,100 cfs on take out day, and made it from slickhorn to clay hills by 2pm with very little effort, there was some sandbar dodging, but at current flows its no big deal. I could see lower water sucking, but never done it that low. . . It was about 650 when we put on, but came up first couple of days.

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