Lookin for ZION TR for trip this weekend - Mountain Buzz

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Old 04-21-2008   #1
rg5hole's Avatar
Durango, Colorado
Paddling Since: 06
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 450
Lookin for ZION TR for trip this weekend

If any of you have any beta please feel free to post it here...I am looking for info on current wood, how are the falls in the narrows (I know you can portage, I plan to run so beta on that please), how many hours paddle from Chamberlan to Sinawava???? I am told there is no camping in the narrows after flows reach 150cfs, can you confirm?

How about Satan's Staircase...Are ALL the rapids in Satan's staircase scoutable, how about portageable? Does a group of class 4 boaters belong in the staircase at 6-700 CFS?

or would like to join in on this Saturday to get some first hand beta of your own...here is the trip link


Thanks in advance!


I've never boated before, but I have posted a lot on Mountain Buzz!
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Old 04-22-2008   #2
rg5hole's Avatar
Durango, Colorado
Paddling Since: 06
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 450
facts per the backcountry desk at Zion:
nobody has registered yet this year for a narrows kayak trip.
Camping is permitted.
North fork road is not ideal and barely open and could be impassible
Flows from NRCS forcasts show less than half the water needed for this trip will be flowing this weekend.

Postponing the trip at this point unless the flows are over 300 on Friday.

Still looking for beta on the staircase and the waterfall, as well as how many hours the float will take!

Thanks! -rg
I've never boated before, but I have posted a lot on Mountain Buzz!
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Old 04-22-2008   #3
Join Date: Apr 2008
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Zion Narrows Regs.

I was told in person at the Zion Backcountry desk last week, that the Narrows must be paddled in a day, no camping permits will be issued. A local shuttle driver also told me that the road into Chamberlain Ranch is pretty much impassable at the moment. Looks like things still need to thaw out a bit down there before there will be good paddling.
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Old 04-23-2008   #4
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Cedar City, Utah
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Join Date: Mar 2008
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Beta from a paddler living in Rockville is that the flows at Chamberlain Ranch are too low to do much but bump and grind, that the snowpack up there is pretty much gone, so not much flow until you get to Deep Creek, 7 miles downstream.

Satan's Staicase is right next to the road, but you need a "red" permit to drive up the main canyon, available from the backcountry desk for free for boaters for transport to the put-in only. You can also ride the bus and walk down from the Court of the Patriarchs busstop. Lots of new rocks in the Stairs and Screaming Left-Hand. Corral Falls washed out last winter, now there is a boulder in the middle of the slot. Flows should come up with warmer weather this weekend.

Conditions in the Narrows are unknown.
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Old 04-23-2008   #5
Denver via GJ, Colorado
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My wife and I were just in Zion this weekend, not to boat, but as tourons. Afternoon flows looked decent and overheard a boater comment on the gage being over 1.8' below the narrows (which he deemed high for the time of year).

By the looks of what I could tell wood is likely always a concern due to debris pushed around by flash floods. It also looks like it is almost always a scraper except for the big flood events. Most of the candy ass routes I would have opted for were wood choked, but the hero lines looked clear, also noting that most of the wood looked small enough that you could clean out your line if needed.

FYI on camping. If you arrive after 8:30 on Friday expect the park campgrounds to be full (in the morning spaces coming avialable in the south campround will have the camping tags pulled). I am sure there are other places, but not being familur with the area from what we found, if you are coming in late your best bet is to stop at the Zions Canyon Campground between Rockville and Springdale. It is an informal camping area with no signs and no fee (it has the random feel of one campers campsite being another campers restroom). After dark the turnout is difficult to see but you will notice the camp fires on the south side of the roadway.
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Old 04-23-2008   #6
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 15
zion narrows

So, if the snowpack is almost gone at Chaimberlain, you must be able to drive in there right? Are you inplying that there won't be much of an opportunity to boat the Narrows this year? I was told that you can put-in somewhere along Deep Creek if your willing to hike a mile or two. I just don't know where? That sounds better than hiking or dragging 7 miles from Chaimberlain.
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Old 04-27-2008   #7
Fort Collins, CO
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 36
A group of about 10 of us ran the Zion Narrows on Thursday. The road to Chamberlin Ranch is fine. The high water gauge for that day was about 274 cfs at 2am on Thur and dropped steadily throughout the day. Drainage ditches have more water in them than the "river" at the putin. Since the guidebook recommends 350 cfs as a minimum, did this deter us? Of course not. Believe the guidebook.

We put on at 8:30 am and the last of us (me) did not reach the confluence with Deep Creek until 5:25 pm and we pretty much were always on the move, if slowly. This 6 mile length of river felt like 60 miles to me. This was a drag, push, pull, knuckle dragging, rock bashing adventure. Once reaching the confluence with Deep Creek, the next 9 miles took about 2 - 2.5 hours. We made it back around 7:45 - 8 pm. I recommend bringing a bivy sack, extra cloths, etc. just in case you have to spend the night.

There are numerous strainers that require you to portage, all of which are easy to see and stop - with enough daylight to see. The water was too low to run the falls, although one member did run it. At this river level you get stuck on the lip of the falls and would have to seal launch off it - making a boof near impossible. Penciling in is not advised. We launched our boats off the falls and walked around to the left. One of our boats penciled in, hit the river bottom, and bounced back up with a newly manufactured dent. This is a potential ankle breaker at these low flows.

FYI - It seems that the 2 guys with play boats faired much better in the very shallow water (like 6 inches) than those of us in creek boats and IKs.
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Old 04-28-2008   #8
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Golden, Colorado
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Join Date: Aug 2006
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Thanks for TR Ken. Other than the low water how was run? Was there any good WW after Deep Creek? Overall was the run enjoyable? Did the scenery make the trip worth it?
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Old 04-28-2008   #9
Join Date: Apr 2008
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Thanks for the TR. How much water was in Deep Creek? More than the first 6 miles of NF Virgin? Im thinking a start in Deep Creek would be better than a start at Chaimberlain Ranch.
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Old 04-28-2008   #10
Durango, CO
Paddling Since: 1990
Join Date: Apr 2005
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From Deep Creek down the whitewater was great. Quality class 3 to IV- drops fairly continuous, read and run. We covered 9 miles in 2-2.5 hrs Definitely made the day. The scenery is awesome. If you go into the N. Fork knowing you're gonna grind down (9 hours for our group) it would make it a little more tolerable. I figured we had about 80 to 100 cfs in the N. Fork and 600 to 700 below Deep Creek. I don't think the gauges correspond very well. I think there was a decent amount of watered being diverted off the river above Springdale from the diversions in the park. I could be wrong but it seemed like there was alot less water in the river by our campsite than in the Narrows. Worth researching a little bit more. With twice the the flow in the N. Fork I would do it again. It did look like most of the snow was gone from up high in the N. Fork drainage. Definitely an adventure. like Ken mentioned, be prepared for anything including spending the night. The waterfall is bigger than 15ft and it has a shallow landing if you miss your boof. Zion is a cool place. We found plenty to do, great food in Springdale. I'll definitely go back. Mid week is best.
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