West Fork San Juan below WF campground - Mountain Buzz
 



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Old 3 Days Ago   #1
 
Fort Collins, Colorado
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West Fork San Juan below WF campground

Hello -

I was wondering if anyone has any information about the West Fork of the San Juan between the WF campground and the confluence with the East Fork.

Google earth scouting makes it look like II-III, but wondering if anyone has run it?

Thanks!

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Old 2 Days Ago   #2
 
Colorado, Colorado
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Quote:
Originally Posted by suzpollon View Post
Hello -

I was wondering if anyone has any information about the West Fork of the San Juan between the WF campground and the confluence with the East Fork.

Google earth scouting makes it look like II-III, but wondering if anyone has run it?

Thanks!


Google earth never really gives you an idea of how rowdy the water is!
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Old 2 Days Ago   #3
 
Fort Collins, Colorado
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Yep!
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Old 2 Days Ago   #4
Abron Cabron
 
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Santa Fe, Nuevo Mexico
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I was going to recommend the WWSR guide book, but the description is on the AW website. sounds like its definitely not as well known below the class V section. I would love to hear if there is good class II/III creekyness in SoCo...it is hard to come by.. lol. LMeyers and I did EFSJ at low flow several years ago and it was really neat, not too stressful, have to scout for wood. Also if the Conejos is running, or upper upper Rio grande those are other good III+ options.

This must be the section you are interested in:
https://pagosaoutside.com/rafting/west-fork/

Might have to call the rafting company and hit them up for beta..!

EFSJ :
https://www.americanwhitewater.org/c...detail/id/419/



WFSJ Class V descriptions:
http://www.riverbrain.com/run/show/249
https://www.americanwhitewater.org/c...etail/id/4549/
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Old 1 Day Ago   #5
 
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Buena Vista, Colorado
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I don't think there are any rapids between the campground and the confluence. Commercials use a private access point a short distance above the confluence. The highlight of the run are the handful of class III rapids right after the two creeks merge into the San Juan proper.
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Old 1 Day Ago   #6
 
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Durango, Colorado
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You can put in a little higher up than the West Fork Campground at the bridge just before the road goes uphill & ends at the Rainbow trailhead. It's a really fun creeky, fairly continuous stretch of class III for a bit (kayak or small craft only up there). It gets flat through Bootjack ranch & then picks up again with more fun rapids above & below the confluence with East Fork. The problem is river access for taking out. The place private boaters used to take out is no longer available, which means a long float (though not as long at current high flows) all the way into town, which is a pretty stretch, but only Cl I-II. Watch out for wood in the upper stretches! If the river access was better I'm sure this run would be really popular because it's fun & scenic.
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Old 1 Day Ago   #7
 
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Buena Vista, Colorado
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Originally Posted by ranamafana View Post
You can put in a little higher up than the West Fork Campground at the bridge just before the road goes uphill & ends at the Rainbow trailhead. It's a really fun creeky, fairly continuous stretch of class III for a bit (kayak or small craft only up there). It gets flat through Bootjack ranch & then picks up again with more fun rapids above & below the confluence with East Fork. The problem is river access for taking out. The place private boaters used to take out is no longer available, which means a long float (though not as long at current high flows) all the way into town, which is a pretty stretch, but only Cl I-II. Watch out for wood in the upper stretches! If the river access was better I'm sure this run would be really popular because it's fun & scenic.
What happened with the first bridge where 160 crosses the river? I've been told by locals not to use it, but it is a highway right of way. I even asked a county sheriff once and he agreed and said he would not be issuing tickets to boaters who access the river there.... however, this was probably 8 years ago.
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Old 1 Day Ago   #8
 
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Durango, Colorado
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"What happened with the first bridge where 160 crosses the river? I've been told by locals not to use it, but it is a highway right of way. I even asked a county sheriff once and he agreed and said he would not be issuing tickets to boaters who access the river there.... however, this was probably 8 years ago."


I'm assuming you mean the bridge across 160 right at the turnoff to East Fork Road? I've heard the same thing, from a friend who asked a state trooper who said that it's a highway right of way that allows access to the river, as long as you stay on the highway side of the fence. My friends & I used that a couple weeks ago to put in to run the section of West Fork from there down to the confluence with East Fork & beyond. I wouldn't recommend that access for rafts, but for kayaks/small boats it's fine.

Putting in at the bridge above West Fork campground just adds another section of Class III creeky fun to the run, (as well as a flat section through Bootjack Ranch). There is still the issue of access to a legal takeout that doesn't involve the long mostly flat paddle all the way into town. We used to take out at San Juan River Village, which was great, but a couple of home owners in the subdivision are vehemently opposed to anyone but residents using that to take out, even if you're friends with someone who lives there & have written permission to access the river, which is a bummer. I used to paddle the East Fork run all the time, but because of take out issues, it's made it a lot less accessible, & paddling the long flat section all the way into town adds several hours to what used to be a 1-2 hour run.
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Old 14 Hours Ago   #9
 
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Buena Vista, Colorado
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Nope. I'm referring to the first bridge where highway 160 crosses the river like 5(?) miles downstream from the confluence. The one immediately downstream from San Juan River Village. We usually put in on the East Fork just downstream of the landslide and would paddle down to this bridge. I think it made the whole run like 8-10 miles. It wouldn't really be viable for a raft, but has worked fine for small craft before.
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Old 1 Hour Ago   #10
 
Fort Collins, Colorado
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Awesome info!
Thanks everyone.
We have kayaks so it’s great hearing about the additional potential takeouts.
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