4-5 day canoe trip suggestions - Mountain Buzz

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Old 06-20-2007   #1
tuscaloosa, Alabama
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 3
4-5 day canoe trip suggestions

Hey, some friends and I are looking to go on a 4-5 day unguided canoe trip in late August. A rafting guide said this would be a good place to ask around, and I would appreciate any input you guys could offer.

Some want to do Santa Elena Canyon in Big Bend again, but I want to find a stretch out west none of us have floated before. Half the party will be intermediate paddlers, the rest having never paddled anything but a lake, if that.

So after reading through teh internets the past couple of weeks, old threads on this site included (looked at runs various canoe outfitters do, read southwest paddler and teton gravity’s boards as well), I’m thinking the Green or Lower Gunnison. I understand the Green to have steady flows through the summer, the Gunny to be steady past Gunnison Forks. So I’ve the following stretches in mind:

Green – Sandy Wash to Green River
Green – Green River to Mineral Bottom
Green – Ruby Ranch to Colorado Confluence
Gunnison – Gunnison Forks to Whitewater
Gunnison – Chukar put in, Gunny Gorge to Whitewater

Just a stretch long enough to last 4-5 days, be pretty scenic, able to get shuttle service, etc., nothing more than class III and the option to portage big water since I don’t want to be responsible for drowning any of my buds

Think Gunnison Forks to Whitewater would be long enough? Is it a pain to continue on through Grand Junction maybe to Loma? Should Gunny Gorge in late August still be at ~400-500cfs? How much of a handful is it at that flow? Which rapids would we not be able to portage? I was thinking use the BLM approved outfitters for a day or two in the gorge, then have them shuttle our vehicle w/ canoes, etc. to the Forks, then once there use the equipment we have in our car, and get another shuttle service for the rest of the way. And how much of a pain is it to get a BLM permit for the Green through Desolation Canyon after the lottery?

Sorry for the long post, and thanks for any tips, info., etc. you can share… I’ll probably get my first whitewater kayak next spring, and bug y’all with more noob business then…

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Old 06-20-2007   #2
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 2,085
The sections you have listed are pretty good. Be aware that the hike in to the Gunny Gorge is about 3 miles of rugged trail and would be insane to do without hiring burros to help carry gear. The burros are pretty expensive, but it's an option. The Gunny Gorge is probably 1 long day or two shorter days with scouts/portages. You should have enough water for it at that time but I'm not positive on that. There is some solid III whitewater in there that it sounds like you and your buddies will want to scout and may portage. Remember, this stretch of canyon is very remote. I believe everything is scoutable and walkable. Maybe a local can confirm this and give a better flow prediction. The stuff on the Green is pretty amazing territory and definitely worth doing. I believe some of the sections you listed need permits. There are some dams on the Colorado above Grand Junction that you would have to portage if you went that far but they are easily identifiable and walkable. Have Fun!

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Old 06-20-2007   #3
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 254
check out this dude's website - lots of good info:


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Old 06-20-2007   #4
Gnarnia, Colorado
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 659
If you want a really mellow but exceptionally beautiful trip, do Green River to Mineral Bottom - Labyrinth Canyon. It could be done in 5 days (6 days would better). It has incredible camping, huge beaches, amazing canyons and good side hiking.
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Old 06-20-2007   #5
rm&p's Avatar
East Jordan, Utah
Paddling Since: 1979
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 29
The Yampa Canyon at flows below 1000 is a pretty good option too. If you take out at Echo Park it's a lot easier to deal with the whole Dinosaur permit process too. I'm not sure what the maximum trip length is if you go this route, but it's great to see at "base flows" as the sandbars are huge and you'll probably have the canyon to yourself. You'll have to wait until the high-use season is over too. Here's the Dinosaur River Office ph. #: 970-374-2468.
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Old 06-20-2007   #6
lhowemt's Avatar
at my house, Montana
Paddling Since: 2020
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 4,605
You might also look at the Missouri River float in Central Montana. Put in at Virgelle (sp?) and float the wild and scenic section. Flat, flat, hot, hot, but in the middle of nowhere.
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Old 06-20-2007   #7
on your sister, ...
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 137
the trail for the Chukar putin for gunny is only a touch over a mile down...not 3. going light hiring pack horses probalby not needed for a canoe group but $85 a pop if needed and carry around 180lbs of gear each. not the end of the world split bewteen a group.

i put to together a video of our fly fishing trip down it this past april. shows us (i'm the tool rowing and squeezing the 16ft hyside down it)running boulder garden and squeeze at 460cfs. should give you a idea of what you are in for. cable is the biggest rapid and a portage would be possible river right though probably a bit of a pain in the ass. cliffs on river left.

i'd second JBL's suggestion too if you want to skip the whitewater aspect. cool float.

vid link:
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Old 06-21-2007   #8
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 2,085
Whoa, sorry about the bad beta. Meant to hit 1 but clearly didn't. Last person I talked to who hired a horse to haul gear claimed some exhorbitant number around $200 a pop. Apparently he was full of it or did not go with the right company. My apologies.

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Old 06-21-2007   #9
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Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 132
Great canoe trips

1- Green river, stillwater/ labyrinth canyons- take out at Colorado confluence, jetboat shuttle, $100/ canoe or kayak- Tex's riverways

2- Colorado river from Moab or Potash to Confluence, same jetboat shuttle as above. - great side hikes, ruins, beaches bring plenty of water and make your own shade.

3- Delores river near naturita?? never have done it but looks cool, and I don't know what the water is like down there in the south lands this spring.

4- Colorado river - Ruby/ horsetheif canyons- you might be able to stretch it out if you want to explore some hikes, fyi rattlesnake canyon is nearby, second highest concentration of arches in the world, awesome hike!

5- San Juan River- Bluff to Mexican hat or Mexican hat to Clay Hills crossing, 28 miles and 52 miles respectively. Outstanding desert canyons and ruins. Shuttle provided by the Navajo, Coyote shuttle?? in Mexican hat

6- Upper Missouri in MT,

7- Yellowstone River in MT- one of my local favorites- paradise valley to Livingston or Livingston to Billings/ Columbus You can go as long as you choose.

Hope you find a good one.
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Old 06-21-2007   #10
Join Date: Jul 2005
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Mexican Hat to Clay Hills requires a permit. You might be able to get a cancellation but I can't remember if they're one of ranger districts that requires you to have applied in the spring to get a cancellation or not. Anyone know how flows are down there?

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