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Old 01-16-2014   #1
Eagle Mountian, Utah
Paddling Since: 2007
Join Date: Dec 2013
Posts: 25
Good first trips with little ones

Hey everyone, I am in the process of building and kitting out my wife and I's new 15 foot raft. We decided to do this as a way to get into the back country with our kids. We are planning our first multi-day trip for the early summer and I am looking for advice on kid friendly runs in or near Utah. I have a four year old I have taken through class II+ and she does fine. IT is my 2 year old I want to be careful with. We were looking at the San Juan from Mexican Hat to Clay Hills but I am also considering a shorter trip to start with. My kids have been on long camping trips and they have done great. Anyone out their have advice on rafting with little ones?

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Old 01-17-2014   #2
cataraftgirl's Avatar
Sandy, Utah
Paddling Since: 1997
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 3,121
Moab daily, Green River daily (Nefertiti to Swaseys), Deso would be the next step up from San Juan. A bit farther away in Idaho, but the South Fork Snake (Conant to Byington) is a good weekend trip with class I moving water & with nice camping.

"We are all visitors to this time, this place. We are just passing through. Our purpose here is to observe, to learn, to grow, to love....and then we return home."
Australian Aboriginal Proverb
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Old 01-17-2014   #3
k2andcannoli's Avatar
Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2002
Join Date: Feb 2012
Posts: 657
Loma, CO to Westwater, UT: Colorado River, Ruby and Horsetheif Canyons

Bonanza, UT to near Ouray, UT: White River, Cowboy Canyon (Ute permit for hikes)

Craig, CO to near Maybell, CO: Yampa River, Duffy and Iles Canyons

All are class two and easier and permit free save ruby-horsetheif which is easily obtained.

Have fun!
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Old 01-17-2014   #4
Dave Frank's Avatar
Boulder, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1995
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 2,727
Good suggestions. you'll find the beaches and camps to be where you'll need to be the most diligent. having two to watch will up the ante for a bit. The closest calls we ever had involved the little one playing near the boat. Only takes a few seconds...

(seven two 0)-298-2242
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Old 01-17-2014   #5
caverdan's Avatar
C. Springs, Colorado
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 1,443
If your wanting to do the San Juan, consider doing the upper stretch from Sand Island to Mexican Hat. Shorter trip without the flat water at the end and lots of indian ruins and petrogliph panels to look at.
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Old 01-17-2014   #6
rivervibe's Avatar
Salida, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1996
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 379
You mentioned Mexican Hat down, but I might recommend Sand Island down to Mexican Hat. While I've never run the lower section, I know the shuttle is way more difficult and time consuming and I have heard that the water is a little less mellow. The shuttle for the upper section only takes less than than an hour and is super easy. I've done 2 three night trips on this section with kids of all ages and felt it was very appropriate for them and we all had a great time.

Whatever you do, props for getting the kids out there! Have a great time!
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Old 01-21-2014   #7's Avatar
lafayette, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1961
Join Date: May 2010
Posts: 498
The "A","B" and "C" sections of the green river starting below
Flaming Gorge dam are great family friendly floats. No permit needed, camp sites on section "B" must be reserved. Section "A" 7 miles of fun water and great fishing, no camping and a little crowded with day floaters. "B" section a few floaters/fishermen, not crowded. Section "C" usually you will be almost alone. I have had my grand kids on this trip starting as young as 3. Section "A" has Mtn. goats on the cliffs (some times) and lots of otters. Look for buzzards, eagles, elk and moose on "B" and "C". I do not recommend doing the "C" section if flows go under 1250 cfs, it gets a little shallow for a loaded (heavy) boat. All the camp sites in the "B" section have tent sites, fire pits groover blinds and tables, just need a groover of some sort, like a paint bucket and a gamma lid. is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-21-2014   #8
mtriverrat's Avatar
Lewistown, middle of MT
Paddling Since: 1982
Join Date: Jan 2012
Posts: 222
A bit far from Utah, but the Smith in MT was where I took my kids at that age. They loved it. Rubber rain boots. The best advise I ever got for kids that age for keeping their feet warm in the boat and keeping them dry for getting in and out and keeping them from getting cut and scratched.

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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