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Old 03-16-2015   #1
Castle Rock, Colorado
Join Date: Mar 2015
Posts: 10
Need help planning a trip.

Hi, Im new to the forum, but I am glad to have found you guys. I need a little of your vast experience about the Colorado and Utah rivers. Me and a buddy of mine want to plan a three or four day boat trip on a river. The tricky part is the fact that we're using single man pontoon boats that are rated for class II rapids. We used these to do the Delta to Whitewater, Colorado run last September with no problems. If anything, we would like more and a little bigger rapids. We would also like a longer run. The last one was about 45 miles. We want to camp along the river and would like some nice hikes along the way. The of the things to consider is that these boats dont turn so fast so a wider river helps. The State Bridge to Dotsero run was suggested to me but I don't know much about it yet. Any help or suggestions would be appreciated.

After looking at some of the classifieds, I thought I should say that these pontoon boats have only 8 ft pontoons with about a 400lb. capacity and a steel frame.
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Old 03-16-2015   #2
shredder-scott's Avatar
Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1980
Join Date: May 2013
Posts: 257

Look, this is a dangerous sport.

The boats you have in my view would be extremely un-safe on rapids bigger than class II.

You have been bitten by the river bug ! Thats great ...welcome !

But unfortunately, if you want to start running more challenging sections, you really need a different boat.

The investment in purchasing a overnight oar rig substantial even used.

There are places that rent real white water river rafts, with frames and oars.

I suggest you guys rent some boats, see what you like..... learn more !

I am pretty sure you can rent oar rigs at Rancho del rio, and do the pumphouse run on the colorado,

Be careful ! Your inexperience can get you or another killed very quickly in this sport.

I suggest you consider taking a Swiftwater Rescue Class you will learn a lot about river saftey. Or else you could go through guide school as a private boater....that is also a great way learn.

Have fun on the river, but engage in risk mitigation stragies when out there

paddle on


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Old 03-16-2015   #3
Castle Rock, Colorado
Join Date: Mar 2015
Posts: 10

Thanks for the input. We're not looking to do anything crazy. That's why I came here. I want the advice of the people who know this sport. I guess what my question is, is there anything comparable with the run we already did? We don't want to make the same run but I understand it's hard to find a run that long where we wont run into anything nasty.
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Old 03-16-2015   #4
shredder-scott's Avatar
Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1980
Join Date: May 2013
Posts: 257

There are a number river runs that I am sure you would enjoy if you were to use a more capable boat.

Browns Canyon on the Arkansas river, at lower water levels is very newbe frendly run.


The boats you have, in my view, would be unnecessarily dangerous even on this newbe frendly run.

Let me put it this way, the boats you have are great for fisherman on a lake or calm river ......but they lack stregth in their frames, oar, and raft fabric to be a safe boat on many colorado overnight runs...

At least rent a white water capabale raft for day, see the difference for your self,

I do not mean to offend you, but personally I would stay on shore, rather that use your boat on any water other than a lake.

Good luck

Paddle on

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Old 03-16-2015   #5
Castle Rock, Colorado
Join Date: Mar 2015
Posts: 10
Thanks again Scott,

I took a look at Browns Canyon pictures and I can tell you straight up... there ain't no way my boat is going anywhere like that. Even when we were on the Gunnison, we pulled off to the side to see what we were getting into anytime we came up on something that looked even a little sketchy. The small rapids we encountered were no problem. The hardest part with these boats is making them turn when coming out of the rapid. They tend to want to drift into the river side. It was kind of like driving a NASCAR. We would go into the apex of the turn as tight as possible and then shoot out towards the wall. Lol. The top speed we reached on that trip was about 12 mph. And that was few and far between.
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Old 03-16-2015   #6
Lake City, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1990
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 128
Looks like fun to me. Most dangerous part of a float is the drive there. Have you looked into Ruby horsethief or Deso or the green Abc sections?
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Old 03-16-2015   #7
Castle Rock, Colorado
Join Date: Mar 2015
Posts: 10
The Green A B C and Ruby Horse thief look promising. I watched a video showing all the main rapids on section A which are supposed to be the most pronounced of the three sections and they would be no problem. I just started looking today but those will be on the list for consideration. Thanks!!
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Old 03-16-2015   #8
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 332
If you just want a float trip. Put in at green river and go to mineral bottom on the confluence and jet back to moan. Great scenery, good camping and hiking. There is no whitewater buys it's still a great trip.
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Old 03-16-2015   #9
East of the Pine beatle, Colorado
Join Date: Jan 2012
Posts: 1,362
A,B,C on the Green is a great next trip for you. Lots of folks float that in similar craft to yours. The biggest, most technical rapid is actually in the B section- Red Creek Rapid. It can easily be portaged.

The section from State Bridge to Dotsero is another good option- you want to AVOID rodeo rapid in those boats.

Another option is further up on the Gunny- above Blue Mesa- though that is really only suited to day trips.

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Old 03-16-2015   #10
Andy H.'s Avatar
Wheat Ridge, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1995
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 2,909
Ret, Welcome to the Buzz.

Sounds like you know what you're after and I can respect that you're willing to take it slow learning. If you forget camping and hiking,there's also the Colorado between Grizzly Creek and Debeque. For your fishing cats there's plenty of mellow Class II floating. If you do it right you can pull ashore at the riverside motel in Silt, have the continental breakfast, fill up yer coffee mug and keep right on floating to Rifle!

The Upper C at lower water would probably be the best bet locally, below Rancho, possibly with a portage at Rodeo, and some good scouting at Pinball. Check in with one of the Buzz's newest sponsors, Colorado River Rentals for a full oar rig, or y'all could probably have a great time R-2ing a paddle boat with your gear down the Upper Colorado. Take earplugs for camping on the Upper C, though.

Scott - I respectfully disagree, but Ret's aren't ready for Brown's with those rigs or a rented raft, and I'm glad to see him say so right up front. The Milk Run from Johnson Village to Ruby Mt., maybe, not Brown's. Another stretch on the Ark would be Big Bend to Salida, or down by Cotapaxi there's a pretty "uneventful" stretch that would be a good float and where they could snag a fish or two. Tough to find camping down there, and you won't be able to string together the mileage you want without some Class III rapids.

That said, I did get to see big ol' Jesse (K2andCannoli) run Westwater on his little cat before he upgraded to a real whitewater rig. I thought for sure he'd need a snorkle and we'd wind up carrying him and the shreds of that cat out but he did just fine.

I don't recommend any of the above stretches at high water in those boats.

Have fun and be safe!


Nothing in the world is more yielding and gentle than water. Yet it has no equal for conquering the resistant and tough. The flexible can overcome the unbending; the soft can overcome the hard. - Lao Tse
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