San Juan River in Mid-April - Mountain Buzz
 



Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
 
Old 02-02-2019   #1
 
campnfloat's Avatar
 
Big Sky, Montana
Paddling Since: 1999
Join Date: Sep 2017
Posts: 7
San Juan River in Mid-April

We are super stoked on our upcoming San Juan trip in mid April. Any information out there about this time frame as far as river level, rapids, camp sites, wind, etc., would be greatly appreciated. Also wondering about the Honnaker trail. My sister and her family went last year so I have lots of beta, but always looking for more! We're floating from Mexican Hat to Clay Hills but planning on six nights and enjoying the landscape. We'll be in a 15-foot Riken, with two kids and lots of smiles. Cheers!

campnfloat is offline   Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
Old 02-03-2019   #2
Misspellingintothefuture!
 
mattman's Avatar
 
Tabernash, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: Jan 2015
Posts: 1,901
Be prepared. It can be really nice, or it can snow on you, with anything in between, and the upstream winds can get bad during the spring time.
Most likely river levels will be towards the low side, but it is possible to get a little bump that time of year, but ya never know. Most of the rapids are pretty easy in my opinion, if you are a good boater. Government is the exception, especially at lower flows it can be tricky to get rafts through, with all the rocks, it is also possible to have the kids walk around it on the right. Honnaker is a worthy hike in my opinion, though it is strenuos, the view is awesome, and the trail is really good. That last section bellow Slick rock is very slow. Last year we had to carry our stuff a hundred yards or so to the take out, on account of the sand bar that had formed. If you can get two days bellow slickrock, it really helps with that last section, but Trimble camp is still really bad from the rock slide.

Have a great trip down there! Make sure you are prepared for weather, in case you get a cold spring time storm. I have still really enjoyed the Juan that time of year though, and glad to see ya getting your kids out on the river!
__________________
We can't always agree, but we can still be civil to each other.
mattman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-03-2019   #3
 
Norcalcoastie's Avatar
 
Eureka, California
Paddling Since: 2011
Join Date: Jan 2019
Posts: 5
I ran it myself last April. Same style - kids and a lot of gear in a single boat. Flows were less than ideal (less than 450). But we spent time picking good lines and only had to drag the boat a few times. Best thing I brought was warm clothes, jackets for the kids, and goretex waders! The waders were so nice in the last few miles when I had to get out of the boat to walk the raft. One night we had fierce winds! Really thought a lot about rockfall on my campsight at night...

Prepare well and you’ll all have a good time! We did get stuck briefly at Government. The kids walked around and my buddy threw a throw bag to me and easily pulled me off the rock we got stuck on. Despite coldish weather we all had a great time and still talk about it today! A classic
Norcalcoastie is offline   Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
Old 02-04-2019   #4
 
Riverwild's Avatar
 
Salt Lake City, Utah
Paddling Since: 1997
Join Date: Jun 2015
Posts: 208
I've done a spring trip a couple of times in early spring. Yes be prepared for all kinds of weather possible. One year we had a perfect 80 degrees and no Wind. The next time we did it, we lucked out on weather for the most part but the last day from Oljeto to the take out took us 8 hours. The wind started blowing at 9 in the am and didn't let up. It took quite a while to get around the corner by whirlwind canyon. One of our guys ended up just getting out of his boat and pulling it downstream with the aft line the winds were so bad. Later we found out it had been gusting to 50mph. Government isn't too bad when it's low just be prepared with ropes if needed, and you want to walk your kids around the rapid on the river left side. Another sticky spot is above John's Canyon it gets real shallow on cobblestones and is easy to get stuck.
Riverwild is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-04-2019   #5
 
Vanderwagen, New Mexico
Paddling Since: 12
Join Date: Feb 2016
Posts: 75
The San Juan in Spring is glorious. My favorite part that time of year is checking out the geese families that are herding little ones around.

Buy the guide. It's well worth it.

Keep an eye on flows. Anything below 500 cfs can get tricky especially at Govt. Rapid and the cobble field a couple miles above it. We watched 6 of 8 boats get hung up at Govt. last year at 480 cfs. They were readily pulled off with throw ropes but still took more time than we expected.

Weather can change on a dime so have plenty of layers.

7 days might be tight so maybe plan on another day. This will depend a lot on the camps you have reserved below Govt. Rapid. If you can, plan on 2 days below Govt. Rapid.

Honaker trail is worth the time, but may also require a layover day to do it right.

Only 3.2 beer available in that area so plan ahead.

Have a great time.
Mtnbuzzer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-04-2019   #6
 
Durango, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2011
Join Date: Apr 2015
Posts: 2
We have done the Lower (Mexican Hat to Clay Hills) a couple of times, June and July and have done the Upper (Sand Island to Mexican Hat) in April twice, early April and Late April, both were great, a bit chilly at night but not bad. I have heard the SW is supposed to have a weather then normal March - June so def be prepared for wet and chilly but I sure hope the weather is great for you. One of my all time favorite floats.

Are you camping the night before you put in or staying in Mexican Hat? Jim at 435.672.2455 is who we have used for our shuttle needs in the past if you choose to go that route, we always feel better having our vehicles in Mexican Hat for a few days, vs leaving them at Clay Hills for the entire time.

Depending on the river levels the camps will vary but with the size of your group you will be stoked. Just make sure you have your campsites in order for the lower part of the float, if you don't all ready. I made a huge mistake and booked our sites on the wrong nights, (rookie mistake) but luckily so many people had cancelled their permits it didn't matter. We loved camping at Slick Horn and Grand Gulch.
jess_830 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-04-2019   #7
 
Durango, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2012
Join Date: Oct 2018
Posts: 159
Quote:
Originally Posted by jess_830 View Post
We have done the Lower (Mexican Hat to Clay Hills) a couple of times, June and July and have done the Upper (Sand Island to Mexican Hat) in April twice, early April and Late April, both were great, a bit chilly at night but not bad. I have heard the SW is supposed to have a weather then normal March - June so def be prepared for wet and chilly but I sure hope the weather is great for you. One of my all time favorite floats.

Are you camping the night before you put in or staying in Mexican Hat? Jim at 435.672.2455 is who we have used for our shuttle needs in the past if you choose to go that route, we always feel better having our vehicles in Mexican Hat for a few days, vs leaving them at Clay Hills for the entire time.

Depending on the river levels the camps will vary but with the size of your group you will be stoked. Just make sure you have your campsites in order for the lower part of the float, if you don't all ready. I made a huge mistake and booked our sites on the wrong nights, (rookie mistake) but luckily so many people had cancelled their permits it didn't matter. We loved camping at Slick Horn and Grand Gulch.

This is all good info, it looks like this your first post, welcome to the site!
Fly By Night is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 02-05-2019   #8
 
Riverwild's Avatar
 
Salt Lake City, Utah
Paddling Since: 1997
Join Date: Jun 2015
Posts: 208
I would add that in my experience it's best to spend your last night at either Oljeto or Steer Gulch. If flows are around 500 cfs leaving from Grand Gulch or Slickhorn can make for quite a long haul.
Riverwild is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-06-2019   #9
 
campnfloat's Avatar
 
Big Sky, Montana
Paddling Since: 1999
Join Date: Sep 2017
Posts: 7
Thanks for all the info. I should clarify that we are part of a group of 18 (many kids), so we will be looking at the larger camp sites. And yes I have reserved sites at Slickhorn and Grand Gulch for the last two nights. I know it could be a long haul on the last day but the downstream camps seem too small. We will not be camping at Mexican Hat, we will be putting in late afternoon just to get on on the river. We are planning on one layover day around the Ross area. Can't wait!
campnfloat is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-06-2019   #10
Misspellingintothefuture!
 
mattman's Avatar
 
Tabernash, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: Jan 2015
Posts: 1,901
Though it is still a long haul from Grand Gulch, it is a really nice camp, and that will set you up for nice hiking opportunity's at Slick Rock and G.G. As always, mind the weather with hiking in those washes, in case of flash flooding, I have personally watched Slickrock flash twice, there is an up the hill hike at Slick Rock on the old Mining road, with nice views, if weather looks iffy.
Space boats out a little bit, floating into Grand Gulch, as it can be a little bit of a tricky catch for boats there, have somebody with good boat wrangling skills for the first boat in. Great spot, I really like that camp, have an early evening there, and an early start in the morning.
In general, "Sand Bar Alley" has more current and water towards the sides of the river, and tends to be shallower out in the middle, for the most part. Having a light boat or ducky out front to scout out a decent line, can be helpful, usually some dragging regardless, though.
__________________
We can't always agree, but we can still be civil to each other.
mattman is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Topic Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Mid-February Lower San Juan RetroRafter Rafting | Trip Planner 1 01-19-2019 10:28 AM
Mid/ Late October San Juan 2018 Pigpen Boaters Forum | General Boating Topics 0 09-15-2018 10:22 PM
San Juan in mid-June? Or plan B? catayak Rafting | Trip Planner 3 05-10-2018 08:04 PM
Family Friendly San Juan in early-mid June? BLott Kayaking | Trip Planner 1 04-16-2013 08:06 PM
Info on San Juan in Mid-August Robin Whitewater Kayaking 5 03-30-2011 12:57 PM

» Classified Ads
Powered by vBadvanced CMPS v3.2.3

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 06:05 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
vBulletin Security provided by vBSecurity v2.2.2 (Pro) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2019 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.