Deso-Grey camps, hikes, layover advice - Mountain Buzz

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Old 06-07-2012   #1
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 13
Deso-Grey camps, hikes, layover advice

Hey all. Headed to Deso next week for the first time and looking for advice on nice camps, hikes and a good layover day spot. Were a small group so camp size is not an issue. Let me know your favorites and thanks in advance for the info.
PS: At this point we are river right camping only. No permits for river left stuff.

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Old 06-07-2012   #2
cedar city, Utah
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 2,261
I would highly recommend getting the river left permit. Without it it is technically illegal o hike to half the classic spots, like firewater cabin and Chandler. As well, some of the best small camps are on the left.

The water is low so I would plan on camping one day before reaching Jack Ck. Many of the camps listed on the are accurate in that stretch. Anything from Alcove to Turtle would likely be great that time of year. Ones much above there are not as high quality and have greater sun exposure.

With a small group I would recommend:

Mushroom Rock as a second day. Great tree for shade and several nice campsites. Has easy access to the rock art. Also allows you to avoid the chaos of the Jack Creek craze. That said, if they are available the shade is better at Jack.

WireFence has several nice camps.

The last day can be a nightmare of competition and low quality camps (all the camps from Coal onward have tons of sun throughout the afternoon). Not many people use the ones adjacent to the road though, which can be nice on a weekday. They provide good shade and quicker access to the boat ramp.
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Old 06-08-2012   #3
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Salt Lake City, Utah
Paddling Since: 1998
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 104
Keep your camp clean because of bears. We got off the river a week or two ago and had a bear in camp at Mushroom Rock and Chandler. They didn't bother us much but tracks where everywhere. Also we saw a bear drinking at the river just above Joe Hutch Creek.
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Old 06-08-2012   #4
Montrose, Colorado
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 200
Good camps are kind of what you make them. We just got off yesterday after camping at 82.1, Jacks Creek 1, Steer Ridge, Three Canyon, and Above Rabbit Valley. All camps were nice for different reasons.

82.1 is a neat, worn cove. Nice views, and well protected. The only downside is it is a short, steep climb up to the campsite frome the river.

Jacks Creek is a good beach. Rocky shoreline with the low water. Much sand and mature trees. Another party was at Jacks Creek 2 and we never saw them.

Steer Ridge is good in most weather. Sandy shore, nice campsites, but we had strong winds at night and all the sand coated EVERYTHING. Love the site, but would have preferred something with less sand on a night like that.

We were forced to stop at Three Canyon due to insanely strong winds. We were all blown ashore by the winds, and could not go down. We attempted to wait it out and were sand and water blasted in the process. While waiting, an outfitters boat came down and they were unable to proceed even with the motor. We heard somewhere an outfitters boat was lifted off the water and broke some trees. I found it almost impossible to walk in some of the winds while on shore. We were able to rope ferry over to Three Canyon side and camped the night in the relative shelter there. This is a very good camp, especially in bad weather.

Rabbitt Valley was taken when we arrived and since we were weary from having gone quite a ways we setup camp above it. The campsite was very nice, lots of soft sand, and clean. The only issue was a rocky shore to get to the campsite.

We did not see any bears, but did see tracks.

I agree with others who say to get the Ute permit. Divide $30 among the group and it is cheap insurance.
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Old 06-08-2012   #5
eagle, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 43
We are launching next Wed I just talked to Price BLM and there is are fire restrictions beginning today. You can get specifics from site, the restrictions applies to the river. Camp stoves and charcoal in a fire pan is permitted; wood fires in a fire pan are not. Have fun, maybe we'll see you out there.
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Old 06-08-2012   #6
DeeGardiner's Avatar
Sandy, Utah
Paddling Since: 1975
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 89
We were the other party at Jack's Creek #2, which is a nice camp. In fact, the only 'nice' camp we had on this trip due to weather throwing us off schedule.

We were the 6th of 6 groups to launch. A thunderstorm hit while we were rigging our boats, so we didn't launch until about 3:30. The ranger suggested we camp at the first camp we find since the other 5 groups would be in the area we were hoping to reach. So, we camped on a sand/gravel bar about 5 miles from Sand Wash. No shelter, but we had good weather that night. We spotted a bear across the river that evening, and a coyote in the morning.

2nd camp was Jack's Creek #2. Great camp.

Our 3rd camp was between mile 52 and 53. It was fair.

June 5th was the big wind day. We got stuck in Upper Snap Canyon rapid. We rowed down the rapid but couldn't make it out the tail of the rapid. Even with two on the oars we couldn't make headway. We finally got tired and gave up. The wind blew us up the rapid faster than we came down. We soon had 4 rafts and 3 catarafts stuck in the same rapid with no room to row. We pulled to shore and held on to the rocks and waited for a break in the wind. I punctured the floor in my raft due to the wind beating us against the rocks.

We finally got past that rapid only to get stuck at Belknap Falls. Half of our group was on one side of the river, the other half on the other side. We sat it out for 4.5 hours getting sand blasted and water blasted all afternoon. We were hoping to make it to Lion Hollow camp, just 1/2 mile down stream, but we couldn't make any headway.

At about 6:30 PM the commercial outfitter came by with his motor. At about 6:45 the wind died down enough we could move on, only to find the outfitter at Lion Hollow. We had to go about two more miles before we found an available spot.

Our 4th camp was just below mile 46. A group was at the main site at 46, but there is a swampy camp just below the main camp. Not great, but at the end of a long windy day, it had to do.

Our final camp was Range Creek #2. We wanted to get further down stream, but the wind really bunched up the groups, so we figured it would be tough to find something further down. Range Creek is okay, but not great. Probably our second best camp of the trip.

Some other camps that looked good as we floated by include:
Range Creek #1
Rabbit Valley #2
Lion Hollow
Wire Fence

Some camps from prior trips look overgrown or washed away.

The good news - no mosquitoes. Some gnats and a few deer fly, but no mosquitoes at all.
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