Yampa compared to Lodore - Mountain Buzz

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Old 03-01-2011   #1
nicho's Avatar
North Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2007
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 442
Yampa compared to Lodore

Have the opportunity to do both this year just curious how they compare. I have done Lodore and loved it. Others in the group have not done either section so would like to know before we choose one. Thanks.

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Old 03-01-2011   #2
Jenks, Oklahoma
Join Date: Oct 2004
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A lot depends on water levels. Yampa can be epic, big water or low water as it is natural flow - I have seen it at 6k, 12k and 17k all in the same time frame but different years. Lodore is basically dam controlled and if you get 2000 cfs my opinion, that is big water for that run. Lodore is fun at any level as far as the rapids go.

Both come together at Steamboat Rock so you get two days on the same river regardless of the permit. Last day thru Split Mountain (again depending on water level) is a bang up ending to the trip with big western river rapids giving a great ride.

Yampa has a couple of bigger rapids which on low water is not much. Warm Springs at hi water is short but powerful. Camping just below the Warm Springs rapid up on the hill is about as good as it gets any where on any western river as far as scenery and there is a nice little creek there for shower water. My opinion, Yampa has the best red rock canyon scenery with a couple days of bend your head back and stare at the steep multi colored formations. Great camping along the way with Harding Hole being a great layover camps with a hike and steep cliffs.

Lodore to me is more creek like. Lot more smaller but requires maneuvering to get down drops. For rapids I enjoy Lodore more. Scenery tho is very nice but nothing like the towering cliff faces you see on Yampa. Camps are ok, but again my opinion, a step below Yampa.

Last day of both runs, has a few miles of slow water just before Split Mountain gets it on.

Also camping below the last nice camp at Jones Hole can be exciting bug wise until you hit Split Mountain.

Check out

Whitewater Rafting Campsites | Resources for Planning Rafting Trips

For a good idea of both runs, rapids, camp sites and scenery.

Bottom line, you cannot go wrong on either trip. Just a different beginning to the same ending.
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Old 03-01-2011   #3
Oakland, California
Paddling Since: 1999
Join Date: Apr 2010
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You are a lucky guy if you have the opportunity to do both. My suggestion is to do both. If that's not an option, than you have to do the Yampa. It's one of the tougher permits to pull and as you probably know, people wait for years to get lucky enough to pull a permit. I've done them both many times and can say they are both awesome, but the Yampa is really something special. Go Yampa.
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Old 03-02-2011   #4
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I think they have the same deal where you can only do one Dino trip per year (or per high use season) like the Grand.

Okie had a great explanation. Yampa is definitely the harder permit with the shorter season and it's a longer trip. My Lodore trip was low water so I would have given the nod to the Yampa rapids. Both have some cool stuff to see but if I had to pick I would take Yampa.
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Old 03-02-2011   #5
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North Denver, Colorado
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Posts: 442
Thanks for the replies, one trip is a low use and the other is a high use we were going to pick one but may be able to do both.
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Old 03-02-2011   #6
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Summit, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2005
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 288
Okieboater, which campsite are you talking about? Is it the actual warmsprings campsite or boxelder 1 2 or 3? We are trying to pick our sites now for our summer trip.
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Old 03-02-2011   #7
SLC, Utah
Paddling Since: 1999
Join Date: Aug 2010
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This map shows camps, rapids and access points for the yampa and the green. It should be able to help you determine which camps you want to ask for.

Interactive Map - River Brain
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Old 03-02-2011   #8
Join Date: Mar 2006
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Avoid the cluster campsites if you can. Boy Scout troop leaders like to rat you out to the ranger if you fart after 10pm.
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Old 03-02-2011   #9
Jenks, Oklahoma
Join Date: Oct 2004
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Actual Warm Springs Campsite is on river right just below the drop. You got to be setup and pull hard river right to hit the eddy at higher flows. Takes a bit of effort to get the kitchen setup but folks can camp up and down the hill and the views are awesome.
Also great to watch groups run the Warm Springs drop.

Box Elder is next one down, has several camps and has some good ones but some of the banks there are pretty steep. Both are good camps.
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