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Old 06-07-2010   #1
edwardsville, Illinois
Paddling Since: 1993
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 13
Upper Colorado river from Pumphouse to Catamount, please help

I'm looking to canoe the Upper Colorado from Pumphouse to Catamount. How many days will this stretch take? I have been canoeing for about 20 years now and only have experience on Missouri rivers (class I and II). Is this a tough stretch for a canoe? Or would you suggest a raft? Any suggestions for a reasonably priced raft rental? I'm looking to go with a buddy the last weekend in June.

Thanks in advance!

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Old 06-07-2010   #2
Evergreen, Colorado
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 127
Upper Colorado in a Canoe requires a lot of ability, you rarely see Canoes on this stretch. I'd do it in a raft/cat. That said, you can do this run in two days with one camp on the river, or 3 days with two nights on the river, depending on how many hours per day you want to float. BLM has a nice river guide for the whole stretch...Rancho Del Rio rents boats. good luck...

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Old 06-08-2010   #3
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Tucson, Arizona
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 4
I'll be up in Colorado through Fourth of July week, paddling as much of the Colorado river as I can. My bucket list goal is to complete the entire Colorado river. Would like to get together to run from Pumphouse to Hanging Lake (65 miles), but would paddle less if that's too long of a trip for you. I'm paddling solo in a inflatable kayak and have class II & III experience. Need to hook up with other paddlers for shuttle purposes.
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Old 06-08-2010   #4
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Tucson, Arizona
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 4
FYI the following website has detailed information and pictures of the Colorado river.

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Old 06-08-2010   #5
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Longmont, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1986
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 227
Pumphouse in canoe

I've run that stretch for many years in a whitewater canoe. I've seen a few try it in a flatwater canoe. Which ever way you try it, be sure you have adequate flotation. If you are carrying a lot of gear, that could be a problem if you lack much freeboard. I filled a flatwater canoe and it became a submarine with the gunwales right at the water level. The canoe had complete flotation and it still went under. This was at the bottom of Yarmony (a.k.a. Red Gore) rapids - below Radium.

I'm supposed to take students through there on a raft trip this coming weekend , but with the levels continuing to climb (now around 6k), I'll wait to see the effect of the forecasted colder weather.

BTW - I've canoed Jack's Fork, Current and Buffalo in MO and AR, and the rapids here are bigger.
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Old 06-08-2010   #6
Breckenridge, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1990
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 40
If you are skilled in a canoe and have plenty of floatation and a boat that handles WW fairly well, the sections you are talking about are fine. Even in high water it's not that big of a deal as long as you know how to find the driest line. There are a few Class II+ rapids that can bump up to III- at higher flows but it's all pretty strait forward. As to how long it will take, a lot of that depends on flows and winds. There are lake sections that can be a bitch with a headwind which this section is notorious for. Plan on two nights for sure and maybe three.
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Old 06-08-2010   #7
Avon, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1997
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 471
i grew up back east...you will get worked at anything near the flows thru june in an open "river canoe" like a 11' old town.

In august you will be able to run this (with that craft) but before then it is pretty much still a whitewater style run (albeit fairly mellow).
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Old 06-08-2010   #8
Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1980
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 39
I've guided that stretch commercially, and privately in rafts, run it privately in ww canoes, and in flatwater canoes with no flotation. Without the flotation I sank to the gunwales in Yarmony. So, it's certainly runnable in a canoe, and you can do it in two days (probably easiest to camp at Rancho, though not typically the quietest) or take a little extra time and do it in 3 (camp just after yarmony, and just after state bridge).
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Old 06-09-2010   #9
granby, Colorado
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 5
I was there on Monday and Yarmony was big! The trip from pumphouse to Rancho only took about 2 hours. And we stopped for lunch. Flows should be down some by the end of June, though. Plan on 3 days to Catamount I'd guess.

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catamount, colorado river, pumphouse, upper colorado

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