Lake kayak in the Upper Arkansas River Valley - Mountain Buzz
 



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Old 06-06-2015   #1
 
Iowa City, Iowa
Paddling Since: 1975
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Lake kayak in the Upper Arkansas River Valley

I will be visiting the Upper Arkansas River valley the end of August and know I could kayak around the many lakes. But after running the same tandem down the gunnison a few years ago solo, wonder if there is a stretch of the Arkansas river tame enough to enjoy it with a lake kayak.

My latitude 40 map shows the white water area's of the Arkansas, so I could use it and try and plan a day float around those. But it cant hurt to ask..

Can I get some recommendations on the longest section of the Arkansas with no more than class II please? Or a section with portages around the rapids?

Thanks!

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Old 06-07-2015   #2
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Denver via GJ, Colorado
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You might want to repost this in the kayak or general forum. You may get more of a response.


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Old 06-20-2015   #3
 
Iowa City, Iowa
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Originally Posted by -k- View Post
You might want to repost this in the kayak or general forum. You may get more of a response.
Thanks

I forgot I asked the same question years ago.
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Old 06-21-2015   #4
 
Buena Vista, Colorado
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Normal end of August the Ark is very low. The easy stretches become very boney. This year may different and flows may be o.k. Standard easy stretch is the Milk Run - Johnson's Village to Ruby Mountain. Put-in at JV uses Wilderness Aware Raftings ramp @ $3 per kayak.

There are also some easy runs down by Cotopaxi, like Trading Post to Lone Pine.
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Old 06-21-2015   #5
 
Iowa City, Iowa
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Originally Posted by Kentm View Post
There are also some easy runs down by Cotopaxi, like Trading Post to Lone Pine.
Thanks.

Between milk run, and Trading post to lone pine. Which float would be the easiest? Because my GF's not sure she wants to try the milk run after watching a few video's.
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Old 06-22-2015   #6
 
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Buena Vista, Colorado
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My first season I took an REI Otter Sport down Salida to Rincon a few times in late summer. Flows SHOULD be appropriate after August 15th...

My personal opinion is that Big Bend to Salida, Salida to Rincon and Trading Post to Texas Creek are the 3 easiest stretches of the upper Ark and are all appropriate for what your looking for. Milk Run has a little more gradient and more rocks, plus thick vegetation on the banks.
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Old 06-22-2015   #7
 
Buena Vista, Colorado
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I forgot about Big Bend to Salida. This is by far the easiest. JUST MISS THE LOWHEAD DAM! It is well marked and you can use the boat chute river left, or just portage. Second easiest on my list would be Trading Post to Lone Pine. The owner of the land at the normal takeout above the Texas Creek bridge has posted no trespassing and put a chain across the access, which makes going to Texas Creek more complicated. I still think the Milk Run is easy also. Both BB to Salida and the Milk Run are in the upper valley above Salida. Trading Post to Lone Pine is on the lower canyon, about half way to Canon City from Salida.

As far as flows, I myself would prefer above 600 cfs on any of these runs to avoid to much scraping. If you have seen videos of Milk Run lately, it has been running in the 4000+ cfs range, which a beginner river runner should not be on. As mentioned, in a normal year, they stop releasing from Twin Lakes and the river drops to 200-400 cfs after ~August 15. This year I don't know what to expect, but I would optimistically guess we will have good flows into the fall.
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Old 06-22-2015   #8
 
Iowa City, Iowa
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Originally Posted by lmyers View Post
My first season I took an REI Otter Sport down Salida to Rincon a few times in late summer. Flows SHOULD be appropriate after August 15th...

My personal opinion is that Big Bend to Salida, Salida to Rincon and Trading Post to Texas Creek are the 3 easiest stretches of the upper Ark and are all appropriate for what your looking for. Milk Run has a little more gradient and more rocks, plus thick vegetation on the banks.
Thanks.

Absolutely no class III, so Salida to Rincon is out. Even though I did the gunnison in my 16' loon 160 T a few years back, I have a inexperienced guest with me.

Big Bend to Salida sounds perfect, and Trading Post to Texas Creek (Lone Pine) also sound good.

If I can do only one.. Which one is the most scenic? And I would need a place to park my car and motorcycle. Or hire a shuttle which might be safer for my motorcycle.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kentm View Post
As far as flows, I myself would prefer above 600 cfs on any of these runs to avoid to much scraping. As mentioned, in a normal year, they stop releasing from Twin Lakes and the river drops to 200-400 cfs after ~August 15. This year I don't know what to expect, but I would optimistically guess we will have good flows into the fall.
Im not worried about scaping, but getting stuck and dragging my boat would be a bummer.

Whats the minimum flow for minimal walking/dragging?
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Old 06-22-2015   #9
 
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Honestly, if Salida to Rincon is out just because of Bear Creek Rapid perhaps you should rethink the Ark. It's really a long class 2 at flows below 800... Maybe something more like Deckers on the South Platte or Wagon Wheel Gap on the Rio Grande is more appropriate? Don't get in the Ark unless your ok with dumping once or twice.
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Old 06-22-2015   #10
 
Iowa City, Iowa
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Originally Posted by lmyers View Post
Honestly, if Salida to Rincon is out just because of Bear Creek Rapid perhaps you should rethink the Ark. It's really a long class 2 at flows below 800... Maybe something more like Deckers on the South Platte or Wagon Wheel Gap on the Rio Grande is more appropriate? Don't get in the Ark unless your ok with dumping once or twice.
I'm using guides like this when searching around and saw class III. My GF is not as adventurous as I am and I definitely don't want to dump her. Its been over a decade since Iv tipped over, but we are both good swimmer if need be.

I agree, maybe the Ark isn't the best choice.

Maybe I should bring her to a easy float on the Colorado?
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