Multiday may Colorado options - Mountain Buzz
 



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Old 1 Day Ago   #1
 
winter park, Colorado
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Multiday may Colorado options

So I'm taking some friends out with not a lot of whitewater experience this May. Wondering what options there are that have a high probability of being warmer. I live in grand county and know the upper Colorado is always an option but also can be pretty cold mid may.

I have a 12 ft raft and a RMR phat cat, I'm thinking having 2 people paddle the cat and then the rest of us and gear on the raft.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. It seems like the san miguel into the dolores is an option? Havent done gunny gorge yet but wondering if that would be too much in may. Trying to not be on just flat water and don't want to risk it with bigger water and not much experience among the group other than myself. 2-3 days would be ideal.

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Old 1 Day Ago   #2
 
lmyers's Avatar
 
Buena Vista, Colorado
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I would suggest Escalante to Whitewater on the lower Gunnison. If the snowpack is there Slickrock might be in on the Dolores. You could do an overnight in Browns Canyon or other stretches of the Ark. North Platte might also be an option. You could also go to New Mexico. May is a great time for the Rio Grande and the Middle Box has some overnight options.
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Old 1 Day Ago   #3
 
winter park, Colorado
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thanks, yeah I've looked at Escalante but it seems a little mellow. I know I sound like goldy locks here but something II-III would be ideal. The phat cat is super easy to maneuver so as long as its not long technical rapids I think these guys would be fine with a little scouting. I haven't looked at the North Platte yet, but I bet that would be just as warm as the south west part of the state
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Old 21 Hours Ago   #4
 
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Lakewood, Colorado
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If you could extend it to 4 days Gates of Lodore is an option. Pretty sure you could do that in 2-3 nights if you wanted to....but I prefer a 4-5 day trip. Might be juicyin may this year...but that is dependent on snow pack. Its definitely a class II-III to me unless its high water.

Upper C is an option. Kind of a shitshow people wise since its sort of roadside...but it offers a choice in central Colorado.

Ruby Horsethief is an option. Pretty (very) mellow...but you could extend it into Westwater for the more adventurous.

If the Dolores runs that is the clear choice. Amazing River and if you get the chance go hit it. I ran it last year, and even Snaggletooth felt like a Class III+ to me. We didn't even scout it... just stay center and hold on for the hole towards bottom and stay away from Snag rock on the right. It looks way worse from the scout then it is to actually run. The rest is class II-III boogey water. If you want a mellower run put on at Slickrock or Gypsum Valley and go down to Bedrock. Even mellower still (lots of flatwater but pretty) is Bedrock To Gateway. Each section you could do in 2-3 days. That is all assuming its actually running...which is a total crapshoot considering previous years and dealing with the DWCD.
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Old 7 Hours Ago   #5
 
winter park, Colorado
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Yeah I would love to do lodore. I've got a permit application in with a few other people but I heard it was pretty hard to get.

Upper C is my local river but I never go out during the weekends to avoid the kooks.

Fingers crossed for the Dolores. I was out of the country all last summer so I missed it all
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Old 7 Hours Ago   #6
 
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Lakewood, Colorado
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If you are willing to go a bit further and another day or two... Cataract is an option too. Westwater takeout to Moab is also an option for a shorter trip.

You might have a little more success with an early May trip on Lodore since its still low use till the 11th. Definitely a hard permit to get... I think it might be THE hardest to get statistically...definitely top three in the country.

Dolores is pretty much down to how soon McPhee reservoir fills. They only release if they know its gonna overfill and are super greedy about keeping as much water as possible in the lake. They have been better the last few years about announcing releases in advance but they don't always follow through...or sometimes they'll do a release with very little notice.

I'm sure there are other places that you could link runs together to make a multi-day. I know its possible on the Arkansas. You could probably figure something out on the Eagle River or Yampa from Steamboat to Craig or even to the Cross Mountain put in.
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Old 6 Hours Ago   #7
 
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Buena Vista, Colorado
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Based on your weather and whitewater requirements I would now suggest setting up camp on Orilla Verde recreation area near Pilar in New Mexico and running the Lower Box in a day and the Racecourse on day 2. Either that or put them in duckies and go to Escalante to Whitewater on the Gunnison.

If you could go the last weekend in April I would suggest the Chama, but after May 1st you need a permit.

You can't really plan on the Dolores running. It's kind of a "it's running now, let's go!" sort of thing unless it's a huge water year like 2019.
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Old 2 Hours Ago   #8
 
Ridgway, Colorado
Join Date: Mar 2009
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I think you're on the right track with the San Miguel/Dolores confluence run.
Norwood canyon on the Mig. can be done as an overnight, next night, car camp at the take-out near ledges. The following day drive to the ballpark put-in below Naturita and do a day trip on the Hanging Flume/confluence run.
Class 2+/3 with a class 4 swim.
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