Deso Canyon canoe trip with kids - possible? - Mountain Buzz
 

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Old 12-08-2008   #1
 
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Deso Canyon canoe trip with kids - possible?

I am trying to come up with a good 5-day canoe trip to take a friend and his kids along on. His kiddos are 4 and 6 years, so flatwater is a must. Wilderness is good. Some rapids are okay, as long as we can portage around them. I've never been down Desolation Canyon, and I'm wondering if it's possible to easily portage the drops, especially the class III drops.

Any other suggestions for cool stretches of river are also welcome!

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Old 12-08-2008   #2
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If you're looking for flatwater canoeing, Labyrinth and/or Stillwater Canyons on the Green would be much better choices. No rapids to worry about, beautiful scenery, nice camps esp. at lower water levels. It's a great kid trip in rafts, but not so much for canoes with kids that young - lots of rocks to dodge at low water and lots of waves & currents at higher levels that can dump you. Not difficult rapids, but quite a few, and I sure wouldn't want to portage that much.
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Old 12-08-2008   #3
 
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Yeah, portaging the rapids on Deso would take forever since there are just so many. I think that must be what the end of the post above is saying since there are no rapids at all on Labyrinth/Stillwater(and its a lovely trip).
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Old 12-08-2008   #4
 
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I think at low water it would be easy enough to have the kids walk around the bigger rapids. There are what, maybe 10, that I wouldn't want to take my friend's kids through. Some of them would have a long walk. Then you could paddle the boat through and pick up the kids and 1 parent down below. For sure you wouldn't want to take them through all of it.

Not to mention 5 days down Deso at low water is long days on the water. 4-6 years olds want to play with sticks and mud on the beach, not sit in a canoe all day.

So I'd second Labyrinth-Stillwater. Heck, we've taken 4 days to go through Ruby-Horsethief a couple of times, and my kids are older and definitely river-savvy. We just move camp and go on a hike every day.

good luck
ab
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Old 12-08-2008   #5
 
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I agree that you should do Labyrinth. It is a great flat water trip with fun hikes and good camping. I did it a few years back and was the only raft, but i saw a lot of canoe's.
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Old 12-08-2008   #6
 
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Stillwater canyon
Check out Texs Riverways if you need any help with the shuttle and/or gear. (They'll jet boat you back up the colorado to your car in moab) Weve used the twice. They do a fantastic job at a reasonable rate.

http://www.texsriverways.com/stillwater.cfm

http://www.texsriverways.com/pdfs/rivermap.pdf

To clarify what atg200 said:

"It's a great kid trip in rafts, but not so much for canoes with kids that young - lots of rocks to dodge at low water and lots of waves & currents at higher levels that can dump you. Not difficult rapids, but quite a few, and I sure wouldn't want to portage that much"

I believe previous poster is talking about deso. Labyrinth/stillwater is the ideal canoe trip.
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Old 12-09-2008   #7
 
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Thanks for all the feedback! My forte is whitewater kayaking, so I don't have much experience with non-technical multiday floats hereabouts. Labyrinth/stillwater looks ideal. Any suggestions for good times of the year? I've been on lots of class III flatwater during May - June runoff, so any thoughts on bugs, bands of naked rafters, or other factors later in the summer?
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Old 12-09-2008   #8
 
Westminster, Colorado
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Both the bugs and the beaches improve as the water drops. Most people spend more time in the water than in their boat in July - and the kids will have a blast with the mud flats. Downstream of Mineral Bottom crowds are somewhat controlled by jet-boat service, so it's usually not too bad. That said, you never know when you're going to see a whole lot more of someone than you would really prefer...
Have a great trip, it's a beautiful canyon.
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Old 12-09-2008   #9
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Do deso for sure. It was a blast last year in July. 8 days with 2 6yr olds. Borrow or rent a Raft for the kids to ride if necessary. here is the video of our trip.
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Old 12-09-2008   #10
 
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Ive been on it twice in mid-march from crystal geyser to spanish bottom. The weather was really nice both times. The water was warm enough for quick, refreshing dips, and people were very scarce. I can't remember seeing more than 3 or 4 other groups of people over the course of both 10 day trips. The scenery and hiking from mineral bottom down is amazing. There are lots of petroglyph sites and the camping is plentiful.
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