Newbies totally stoked to do overnighters, but where in Colorado or Utah? - Mountain Buzz

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Old 03-21-2012   #1
colorado, Carbondale, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2012
Join Date: Mar 2012
Posts: 84
Newbies totally stoked to do overnighters, but where in Colorado or Utah?

My avid crazy AND STRONG outdoors oriented wife and I (a bit less obessive and less strong) have finally got a boat which is a 14 foot raft just today. We are a little taken back on the maze of permits/logistics of setting up a trip. I have been on quite a few one day commerical trips with 4 plus whitewater and also done a few 3-4 day sea kayaking trips. However doing it by ourself I am not up for that class of whitewater. I have also rowed a ducky in a long and fairly very ontinous class 2 to 3 creek which proved a little tough and tiring in a one day trip. I would feel comfortable doing up to a easy CL III river with a loaded oar raft if the rapids were not back to back all day. We live in Glenwood Springs and with new jobs and don't have a TON of time off available for this summer/fall. We maybe have two to three weeks total we could spare total for the season (( , at least this year but not in one stretch at once. So I am looking for 2-4 trips to do total.

It being this late in the "permitting" year, which multi-day trips would our fellow boaters recommend? We would like stopping to check out the sights along the way, hiking some trails as well as just floating along. We have a labrador retreiver, but seems taking her is not going to work which bums me out for most rivers.

My mildly arthritic sholders may not allow for hard days of non-stop hard rowing on total flat water, but I am considering the Ruby Ranch to Mineral bottom or maybe even the confluence on the Green in Canyonlands. Maybe thats to much rowing flat water? dunno if its high water maybe not that bad?

What other multi-day trips would someone suggest. I am open to as little as a 2 day trip up to 7 days. The first trip I want to do would be the first week in May. And then a few more latter in the year. Sorry for the length guys and gals!!!! Oh and I LOVE FLY FISHING as well for what its worth thou any real float trip that I have found will not lend itself to that. Any feedback is very welcome!!!!!!!!!! thanks

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Old 03-21-2012   #2
lmyers's Avatar
Buena Vista, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2005
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 4,780
A little late, but if you call the ranger stations there is still a good chance you could pick up a cancellation or weekday permit.

Look into the Chama, the San Juan, Ruby/Hosethief through Westwater, Cisco to Moab, Labyrinth, Escalante to Whitewater on the Gunnison, and Northgate Canyon on the North Platte.
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Old 03-21-2012   #3
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BZN, Montana
Paddling Since: 2008
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 1,493
The Arkansas is long enough you to string together multiple day runs and camp. Others would know better what the situation is for undeveloped camping on the river, but there are plenty of spots for car camping, or you can leave the car at put-in/take out and camp alongside car campers out of your raft. The Ark requires day use permits at most put-ins and take-outs but you can purchase one for the whole season.

Pumphouse on the upper Colorado also offers overnighting options. Again others would have better details but I think you can max out at 2-3 nights. A modest fee is required at the put-in.

Another option although somewhat more complicated is the Gunny Gorge. I'm fairly certain you can camp in the gorge but not 100%. You will probably want to pay for shuttle and for some pack horses to carry your raft to put in. I believe there is a small fee wilderness permit for this as well.

All three of these have fees but you will have boatable flows and you don't need to win a lottery to acquire the permits (issued on site, virtually unlimited).
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Old 03-21-2012   #4
RFV, Colorado
Paddling Since: 94
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 234
If you live in G-Wood then your surrounded by water. The roaring fork is a good place to develop your skills. Then you have Shoshone to Newcastle. When your comfortable, You can always get a Westwater permit. If you can't get a permit then you can go Cisco to Moab. "Welcome home" SYOTR
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Old 03-21-2012   #5
Salida, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1997
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 136
I have not floated it but you might look at the White river up by Meeker. Its class II and has an upper and lower section each about 30 miles long so it could be a weekend trip or week long trip and there are no permits.
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Old 03-21-2012   #6
snakester's Avatar
Mesa, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2010
Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 161
Congrats on your boat.

The Upper C. from Pumphouse to Catamount bridge is awesome fun, just what you're looking for and excellent fishing and really close to GWS. Oh by the way did you get the Incept or something else?
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Old 03-21-2012   #7
lchastai's Avatar
Golden, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1975
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 42
If you go to and look for the group Western Slope Adventurers (our of Grand Junction) they already have several raft trips scheduled (and they need raft owners). They would probably be a good group to go with to get experience. I have never rowed with them personally (I live in Denver), but everything I read on their group page looks like they are a serious group adamant about safety and preparation. Might be a good place to start!
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Old 03-21-2012   #8
Eagle, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 88
a couple sites to look at...

The Lower White from Bonanza to Enron is flat with only the occasional snag or dead cottonwood to worry about, I guess there might be some strainer potential for a really drunk duckier, but that is about it. At higher flows, it actually moves right along. The camping is actually pretty sweet with no tammy's and cottonwoods on benches above the meanders. After Atchee wash, the camping gets a bit uglier with a lot of sheep, sheep shit, and guard dogs hanging around. We actually opted to camp at the take-out the second night, which does have a primitive campground, rather than deal with the river. I believe the right side is free of sheep, but I can't be positive. Here is a free guide:

A map of the Upper C can be found here:

That's one hell of a string. Anyways, there is a ton of info on the upper C on the buzz, so fish around. At higher water, the upper C is no joke for a newbie, so be careful. probably won't see high water this year, but be aware.

Escalante - Whitewater and Ruby/Horsethief are all quality trips that are not as far as the White. Ruby/Horsethief is actually quite beautiful, easy to get to, easy water, and a short shuttle. And that is exactly why it has been abused to the point of being permitted. So grab a permit or get a weekday launch, have fun, and take care of the river.
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Old 03-22-2012   #9
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steamboat springs, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1997
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 23
there are a lot of good stuff already listed. i wuld say that pump house to catamount bridge is great place u can even continue all the way to dot sero bridge. only one real rapid after catamount, rodeo. easy road scout. if u like fly fishing i would say gunny gorge in midddle june for the caddis hatch, great fishing. little harder than some to get into, but worth it. below flaming gorge dam on the green down to browns park.
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Old 03-22-2012   #10
Salt Lake City, Utah
Paddling Since: 2006
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 209
Westwater and low water Cataract would be good options if you go with people who know the lines and after you get some trips in first.

The Green below Flaming Gorge and Pumphouse are your best bets to get started, have no permit requirements, and have great fishing(especially the Green). Labyrinth is nice but really flat - and you really don't want to go down to the confluence with a raft unless you are also running Cataract. Desolation Canyon permits aren't hard to come across and it is a wonderful beginner trip - plan on 7 days at low water.
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