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Old 07-01-2015   #1
Livingston, Montana
Paddling Since: 1995
Join Date: Feb 2014
Posts: 6
Yampa DNM Drinking Water & Flow

Gang--We launch in a few days on the Yampa. 5 July. Is it safe to assume there
will be some clear tributary water along the route to filter and purify, or do these private trips really carry water for 25 people for the whole float???

Also, below 1,000 CFS, are the low water challenges basically dragging rafts over sand bars and dodging rocks, or is it more challenging than that? we will have bout 10 kids and 8 adults mostly in 14' self bailers…

Thank you for your wisdom…

Last--what is the lowest flow on the Yampa where it is still "fun" to be in a raft…if you've got the full 5 days? NPS recommends 1,000… some run it rafts lower…?

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Old 07-01-2015   #2
aurora, Colorado
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 107
Low water challenges include pinning in rapids, wrapping rafts, hauling rafts upstream in braided shoals and channels, and long days on the water. Ran it at ~950 in a 17' bucket boat. Was very doable. I had a kayaker scout to help with channels. Water may be available at echo park, usually is after freeze is off. Yes, we hauled all water. I would get some duckys and offload the rafts some. Lighter is better.

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Old 07-01-2015   #3
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 130
Maybe water at Echo (Call), definitely water at Jones Hole to Filter. 18 people/ 5 days - I'd be taking 100 gallons of water. It's summer in the desert. My priorities would be water, ice, beer, shade and easy to prepare/eat food. Everything else in the gear pile is secondary.
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Old 07-01-2015   #4
The Russian
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SLC, Utah
Paddling Since: 2005
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 1,380
There is water at Echo park (and it's drinkable). 1,000 cfs on Yampa leave your rafts at home and take IKs. It will be a long slow drag on rafts and just what see_hag said, pinning on rocks will be an hourly occurrence.
-ALEX [ youtube ][ my boat ][ ]
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Old 07-01-2015   #5
morrison, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1991
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At low water, the put-in is steep with loose gravel so beware. (Eddie S. almost lost his rig to the river). We put on at 950 cfs last year, two 14' rafts and a big cat, 7 adults and 5 kids. We carried ~ 15 gallons of water per raft with about 3 gallons of that frozen in 1 gallon jugs in coolers. This is a wonderful kids trip when the river is slower and warmer. Most of the kids kayaked or were in duckies. I kayaked up front to look for shallow areas and camp access. Warm springs was bony and we hugged the R. bank. One raft was heavily loaded but none had problems other than pulling into camp. Jones 1 is more accessible than 2 or 3 (buttjam falls is great fun so go early). Jones had lots of skunks in our kitchen and boarding rafts. We did not need water at Jones but that water is clear and cold. We filled at Echo. This is a great trip even at low flows.
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Old 07-01-2015   #6
Livingston, Montana
Paddling Since: 1995
Join Date: Feb 2014
Posts: 6
thanks…and upward spike on Yampa CFS today

Thanks--appreciate the insights you all-- there was a spike today up to 1900 CFS and now back down to 1350… assume that was a dam release up in the mountains…anyone know if that will become regular or if it was some anomaly related to CA or something else...
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Old 07-01-2015   #7
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Wheat Ridge, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1995
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 2,909
There are no major dams on the Yampa. likely a flash flood or gage malfunction from the looks of that spike.

Fit a straight line (ignoring the spike) to the semi-log graph on the USGS site here and it'll tell you what the flow will be for the next few days. Mother Nature likes logarithms.

Also, bear in mind if you get water at Echo Park, it'll only be for the last night as you'll only have one night to camp below Echo.

Have a great trip!

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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Old 07-01-2015   #8
Caw! Caw!
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Boise, Idaho
Paddling Since: 1989
Join Date: Jun 2015
Posts: 62
Originally Posted by kazak4x4 View Post
...leave your rafts at home and take IKs. It will be a long slow drag on rafts and just what see_hag said, pinning on rocks will be an hourly occurrence.

I did a very late season trip one year where we launched canoes at Echo, and went upstream, mostly dragging. Stayed one night, and paddled back to Echo again. It was fun, but only because we were in canoes packed light.
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Old 07-02-2015   #9
Wondervu, CO, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2001
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 390
Please note that 'drinkable' does not mean 'tastes good'. On our Smith trip this year we stopped to refill water jugs at potable water spring that was mentioned on the map and recommended by the ranger. It had a strong aftertaste that was bad enough to cause us to dump most of it later. I don't have any personal experience tasting the water in tributaries on the Yampa but most of the tap water in that region tastes a little off to me. Jones hole might be worth the effort but I wouldn't want to bet the trip on it. I usually carry all my water and get it from a trusted source.
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Old 07-02-2015   #10
Livingston, Montana
Paddling Since: 1995
Join Date: Feb 2014
Posts: 6
Upper Yampa Reservoirs Yamcolo and Stagecoach


I was disappointed to learn that there are 2 reservoirs on the Upper Yampa---
The Stagecoach and the Yamcolo--see link above. Not necessarily bad…but ruined my perception of the Yampa as a wild river… at least there are no dams on the Yampa in the Monument…

Thanks all for the advice--we plan to run if it's around 1,000 CFS or greater. We have the 5 day option for 10-12 miles a day. I think slow is OK with kids. I do appreciate all the thoughts. Keep them coming…

We are trying to pack light but hauling water is going to undermine that effort...

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