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Old 08-27-2011   #1
Klamath Falls, Oregon
Paddling Since: 1991
Join Date: Aug 2011
Posts: 13
2 month rafting trip Idaho Montana Colo

A group of retired guys who are white water boaters from here in Klamath Falls Oregon are wanting to spend a couple of months rafting Idaho, Montana and Colorado next summer.

Looking for a logical fun route to follow from river to river" Or section of river to section of river" thru Idaho into Montana and then Colorado. III IV V, not so much V as we are in our late 40's early 50's and pretty banged up from our past professions.

Looking for ideas/loctions which ideally we could tow our boats and tent trailers cross country and row at least every other day on a new section or new river, meet the local boaters, drink the local bars dry nightly while developing new friendships and partners to boat with.

Anybody got an idea of where to start and finish this adventure. Must do sections of rivers and Must do rivers not requiring permits.

Thanks in advance.
Dirk Williams

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Old 08-27-2011   #2
raftus's Avatar
Boulder, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 1,128
I'd start buying guide books and making a bit of a initial timeline. Then you might search this site and others (like the Idaho whitewater yahoo group) for advice on the best raft runs. I doubt your gonna find anyone to map out a path for you across three states. The rivers in all three states peak near the same time - so pray for a big snow year and a slow melt. Also know that if you're willing to go early season (potentially at high water) that some permits get easy to acquire - especially if you're already packed and ready to go.

Here are some of my favorite runs:
Lochsa - Both upper and Lower
South Fork Payette - Staircase
Middle Fork Salmon - yes it's permitted, but apply for one and you might get lucky, otherwise if you are willing to do Marsh Creek you may be able to pick up a permit last minute. Also there are a lot of non-permitted roadside parts of the Main Salmon that you could add into a larger itinerary.
Madison River - Beartrap Canyon
Gallatin River - House rock and Mad Mile
Boulder River - Above Natural Bridge - super continuous and infrequently run, but tons of fun in a cat, access is a bit tricky
Wyoming - It's a fairly easy side trip to raft some of the classic sections on the Snake near Jackson on your way to Colorado.
The Numbers (add Pine creek for class V), Browns Canyon, Royal gorge - Arkansas river
Cache La Poudre - Stevens Gulch to Bridges take out
Slaughterhouse - Roaring Fork river near Aspen
Eagle River - Down chute and the upper eagle
Utah - Westwater Canyon - Colorado river - just a few hours from central Colorado

Good luck and happy boating!

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Old 08-27-2011   #3
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 1,132
Too many rivers in those three states for only two months. Sounds like agreat trip.
Hard to guess flows and snow packs a year in advance. I get frustrated every year trying to make plans in based on Janurary snowpack when the spring snow changes it all. This year I blew off a late May Idaho trip because we (Colorado) had record snowpack, so why drive for high water? Unfortunetly we didn't get good run off till early June because of a late spring. Usually its all over here by mid July but this year was boating into August. Lots of potential for cancellations in Idaho for late May/early June if you like high water.

In Colorado plan on a week on the Arkansas, late June is typically high water.
Same mid/late June for the Poudre, little earlier for the Eagle.
SW Colorado starts earlier but ends earlier to, early June.

Always fun to boat and drink with the locals, post here as your schedule comes together.
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Old 08-27-2011   #4
Costa Mesa, California
Paddling Since: 1985
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 138
I do a trip to Montana every year.

California Whitewater - 2010 Summer Road Trip. Tuolumne-Lochsa-Flathead-Clark Fork-Rogue-Tuolumne

There are other trip on that site too.

I can email you my personal opinions, logistics, favorite campgrounds etc.
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Old 08-30-2011   #5
Klamath Falls, Oregon
Paddling Since: 1991
Join Date: Aug 2011
Posts: 13
Road/boat trip.

Thank you Gents, We have mostly been boating Oregon some Wa and Ca. If anybody is interested in southern Oregon water feel free to contact me at willing can put you up and show you the local water.

Nothing huge but fun. Been spending lots of time on the Umquia? about 1 1/2 hours north of Klamath Falls class III with a small IV at the end, drop and pool great fun and a really great way to spend my retirement days.

Regarding next summer we have blocked out April May June. for tentitive months and max water flow.

Thank you all for the input, Im sure we will hit as many of those rivers as possible if the waters running tall next season.

Dirk Williams
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Old 08-30-2011   #6
Boise, Idaho
Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 505
Perhaps the Colorado buzzards can correct me on this, but I get the sense that late season runs are better in Idaho than in Colorado or Montana?

For rafters, the Murtaugh definitely has a earlier window for rafters. This year has been unusual... it's been running high for much longer than typical, and even now has been around 4k sustained, which is probably a bit low for rafts.

I'd also recommend the Canyon run of the South Fork of the Payette (need to run June-July for peak), the Cabarton run of the North Fork (for a fun, easy day float), the South Fork of the Snake River, and to consider late season (non permit) MFSR, Main Salmon, or Hells Canyon floats, if possible.
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Old 08-30-2011   #7
Buena Vista, Colorado
Paddling Since: 94
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 47
Couple of idea's off the cuff... I think I'd head south to north during those months. You could start off with either the Owyhee (OR) or head down to the Salt (AZ). Then maybe spend some time on the desert rivers in UT before it gets too hot, westwater, cat, etc. By then you should be able to catch early season runs in southern CO or Northern NM and work your way north.
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Old 09-12-2011   #8
Othello, Washington
Paddling Since: 1975
Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 30
Think Canada after 4 July. Similkameen from Manning to Princeton, White, Elk, Kicking Horse, and beau coupe more rivers where you never see anyone else. Work your way into Montana & points south.

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