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Old 09-30-2015   #1
Riverwild's Avatar
Salt Lake City, Utah
Paddling Since: 1997
Join Date: Jun 2015
Posts: 44
Cat Canyon: Potash OR Mineral Bottom?

Looking at doing a trip down Cataract canyon next spring or next fall, probably fall 2016. Searching around I found some threads with folks saying they preferred one launch to the other but they didn't really say why. Assuming a 7-8 day trip, which launch would you use and why? Is there better camps, hiking, scenery on one vs. the other?

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Old 09-30-2015   #2
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 748
They are both worth doing. The Green side is a wider canyon and more open. The Colorado side is more boxed in. Both are completely flat. There are more large beach camps on the Colorado side. You can find great hiking and exploring on either side.

The main difference is the road down to Mineral Bottom is legitimately terrifying. Whereas the road to Potash is just a road.

You should do one side this time, and do the other side the next time.

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Old 09-30-2015   #3
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AlanS's Avatar
Boise, Idaho
Paddling Since: 1989
Join Date: Jun 2015
Posts: 62
Originally Posted by BrianK View Post
You should do one side this time, and do the other side the next time.
This. They both have their charms (and detractions).

If I knew I were only going to run Cataract once, I'd choose Potash.
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Old 09-30-2015   #4
cedar city, Utah
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 1,928
I prefer the camps and hikes on the Mineral Bottom side, assuming you can get the limited good ones. More solitude, no or few motorized boats, great archaeology and a stunning canyon the last few miles above the confluence. Its especially great for small groups and on solos I have camped with a hammock on ledges right over the river.

Potash is an easier launch (ramp and access), does have some nicer sand island camps and a a few unique hiking opportunities. If doing your own shuttle it is way easier to use Potash.

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Old 09-30-2015   #5
Randaddy's Avatar
Eastern Slope, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1980
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 2,403
A better question is "Loma or Flaming Gorge?"
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Old 09-30-2015   #6
Durango, Colorado
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 390
Originally Posted by AlanS View Post
If I knew I were only going to run Cataract once, I'd choose Potash.
Ditto. After doing Stillwater once, I probably won't again for a LONG time. The camping was marginal at best, the drive in is much harder (but you can fly the shuttle very easily), and I personally liked the scenery and hiking on the Colorado a lot more.
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Old 09-30-2015   #7
Salida, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1986
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 727
Potash side you will see more jet boats, but I find the stretch more interesting from that side. Mineral has no jet boats, and the air shuttle not only saves you a day, it is also a truly great experience. Good to go either way.
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Old 10-01-2015   #8
Boulder, Colorado
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 178
Been down from Mineral Bottom several times. Love it.
The road was rebuilt a few years ago after the washout and is casual now.
Their can be competition for the primo camps, but the side hike opportunities are awesome. Water Canyon up to the Dollhouse, maybe loop up from Powell Canyon and across to Water Canyon, anywhere up around Turk's Head, Stove Canyon up to 'the beds' are all not to be missed. We did 9 days from Mineral to Hite (yeah, some years back) doing the awesome air shuttle to Mineral Bottom.
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Old 10-02-2015   #9
Castle Rock, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1995
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 321
Done both, both have their charms. jet boats weren't as bad as I expected on the C, but anyone in Moab can rent a canoe and put in, so you can get a complete freak show. Mineral trips seem to draw people that have it together better. Mineral Bottom road is now much better than the long past, but if it is raining shuttle ops like Tag and Tex will still refuse to go down it until it is dry, which can mean a multi-day wait. Also, they will refuse to refund if you made a deposit, and they won't go down. Tag gave a choice of a Potash launch or losing my deposit the last time I tried to launch from Mineral. Planning on Pot will give you a firm launch date regardless, and it's a much shorter drive to town if you find you forgot something.

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