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Old 07-10-2016   #1
Join Date: Mar 2015
Posts: 5
Yampa Canyon - how low is to low?


My friend has an august 9 launch out of deerlodge and looking at last years flow (about 250 - 300 CFS) I was wondering if any one had run the canyon at this low of water? I have a 12.5ft cat that I was originally planning on taking but at that flow it seems like maybe its a canoe trip? any information would be appreciated!!
float on

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Old 07-10-2016   #2
Canon City, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 426
I kayaked it with my brother at around those flows a few years ago. Before going, we'd thought that we'd have to drag some, paddle some. We planned for 6 days. By the end of day 1, we were already a whole day ahead. After that we had a full layover day, and a day where we decided only to go 2 or 3 miles.

At the time I estimated that a 12' raft wouldn't have any problems, so long as you didn't pack it too heavy- liquor instead of beer, etc. Might have to get unstuck a few times, but if you pay attention, I bet it goes.

River Runner's Transport out of Vernal can probably give you some good info if you call them.

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Old 07-13-2016   #3
Join Date: Mar 2015
Posts: 5
Good to know, I think the cats coming and we're going light, how were the rapids any thing notably bony or non-runnable? My big question is warm springs as the only picture I've seen at the lowest looks almost non navigable. Thanks for the info

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Old 07-13-2016   #4
Fort Collins, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1999
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 99
Not being a rafter - I didn't pay attention from this perspective.

However, we were talking to some NPS people in rafts who happen to say that with the new configuration of Big Joe - they were no longer sure what the low flow for rafts would be.
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Old 07-13-2016   #5
Canon City, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 426
Suz- I've also spoken with people with that comment about Big Joe. It's unknown what it will look like once the water comes down.

As far as my previous comment, I checked back, and couldn't pin down the exact dates of my trip, but I think the flows may have been a tad higher- 300-400 maybe? Not sure exactly.

As far as Warm Springs, we were there very shortly after the big rockfall- still had mud on the boulders on shore that was splattered across everything. It was tight, but should have been boatable. If I remember right, it was enter center, and slip right. So, a couple of goalposts in the middle, followed pretty quickly by a bfr in the middle. I think it was plenty wide enough for a raft. It was also close enough in to shore that lining would be possible. Keep in mind, this was probably 5 years ago.

Go light, mentally prepare for a little dragging, kicking and cussing, and I bet you'll have a good time. My favorite thing on that trip was how quiet it all was. We didn't see another person until Echo Park.
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Old 07-14-2016   #6
Join Date: Mar 2015
Posts: 5
Ha now your talking my language with the kicking and cussing to get it done. I also figure once we hit the confluence we will be good, bringing some extra long lines for what I kinda figure may be inevitable. Thanks

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Old 07-14-2016   #7
Boulder, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1999
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 7
Nice thread. We are launching Sunday July 17. Flows just dropped below 800cfs today. Taking a 16' raft and 12'raft. hoping for flows in the 600cfs. Anyone raft at the 500-600cfs range?
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Old 07-15-2016   #8
Fraser, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: Mar 2016
Posts: 3
too low

i just got off the yampa last week and was lucky to run it in april at 1000. I would not reccomend running rafts down below 800 unless you have good shoes and don't mind a portage or two. i would say ducky it or maybe canoe. Honestly i would'nt run my 14' down at current flows but i hope im wrong and someone can go pick up the killer hammock i left at laddie 1. I'll be glad to buy it back.
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Old 07-16-2016   #9
Join Date: Mar 2015
Posts: 5
skipigone, right now its looking like a 12ft cat and a super puma are on the list, we both kinda know that portages/lining/dragging are a possibility until the confluence, but you think the shorter boats will work (with obviously some work involved)? were also going with no camp kitchen, except for a stove and a pot, and doing all frozen meals, and otherwise going as light as possible. I do believe we have the laddie 1 camp the night of august 9, if its still there can certainly grab it.
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Old 07-18-2016   #10
Fort Collins, Colorado
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 12
Kayakers, IK, canoeists (non-raft watercraft users): anybody have a low/minimum flow as a mark by which they would/would not launch for Yampa as a self-support trip (i.e. no rafts)?
Thank you!

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