White River Beta- Rangely to Green River - Mountain Buzz

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Old 03-26-2015   #1
Manitou Springs, Colorado
Join Date: Jun 2013
Posts: 5
White River Beta- Rangely to Green River

Hey all, looking to send some friends down the White River from Rangely to Green River in mid-April. The BLM provides a decent pamphlet with some details, but not a ton of beta on the actual river stretch. A few questions I'm hoping to hear from you all:
  • What would you consider the min flow for rafters?
  • What camping spots would you recommend for doing 2 overnights on this section?
  • What side attractions/hikes would you recommend (mileage or other markers included please!).
  • Any beta on the put-in and TO areas that are best and the least "busy" or right in town?

Thanks for your help,


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Old 03-29-2015   #2
Mile 157
Fruita Boater's Avatar
Guess, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1998
Join Date: Jan 2015
Posts: 60
You'll want to print out a copy of Ken Parson's pdf river guide so you don't camp on private property on this one: org.coloradomesa.edu/~jerry/guide/white/WRG_2.PDF. This is the only guide I know of mile-by-mile for the White.

We did the upper stretch from Trujillo boat launch (mi 88.5, river L) to Bonanza bridge (59.2, also river L) a couple of years ago at flows just above 1,000 cfs which was a good, padded flow even for my 16' cat. I'd recommend launching at Trujillo boat launch which is nicer than launching in Rangely nearby and cuts out some boring meandering through russian olive. The shuttle down to Bonanza is quick and paved nearly the entire way from town. Look out for oil and gas big rigs on the shuttle in the middle of nowhere as they seem to literally appear out of the middle of nowhere. Again, camping on this upper stretch is limited to BLM sites only and there is a LOT of private land on this upper stretch so I'd definitely print and take along the pdf guide to make sure you camp on public land.

Can't say definitively about the lower stretch cause I haven't done it yet, but beta from a trusted group of river friends that did go to the confluence last summer is that the camping options improve with less private land overall. Rapids are of similar difficulty as the upper, read and run class II. Again look to the pdf for details for side hikes, camping.

The trade-offs for going to the Green river confluence via the lower section are: the reservation camping (not really that great per my buddies description) and camping on requires a Ute tribal lands permit too) and a possible portage of a dangerous dilapidated bridge a few miles above the confluence which is literally falling into the river. Based on my buddy's beta and his pictures, this bridge can only be passed under at low flows on the far river left side (which they did just fine around 1,000 cfs). At medium-high flows this bridge will almost certainly be a portage. It seems likely that some day this saggy excuse for a bridge will almost certainly fall into the river and will become a mandatory portage at all levels so heads up if you plan on going to the confluence with the Green.

Based on our collective experiences, I'd recommend taking out above the reservation and confluence at mi 24 for the best section.

Let me know if you need an extra rower; I'm local in Fruita, CO and would love to float the lower stretch sometime soon.

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Old 03-30-2015   #3
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 1,303
I've only paddled the Bonanza Bridge to Enron Takeout. The BLM map for this is fairly quality and adequate. http://www.blm.gov/style/medialib/bl...0for%20web.pdf

Pertaining to that section. Still some private land, however, limited mostly to ranching and grazing, and oil rigs on top of the canyon edges. Two days was good, and most wouldn't want less time. We had a full day on Saturday, and half day on Sunday. I think somewhere around 600cfs. If you are thinking rafts, you want more water, and small, lightly loaded boats. Self support kayak, canoe, and IK are much more appropriate at flows under 1000cfs. Whitewater is consistent II+ with some strainer and tree negotiating. We camped at the labeled camp sites for the Goblin City view area, which is in one of the best cottonwood groves (the bank up was ridiculously steep and muddy but once in the grove there were a few nice camps, enough space for 3-4 small groups to share). Bring the hammock. The hiking was nice, although, less spectacular than some desert areas. Random wildlife highlight was an Albino Blue Heron (didn't know they existed).

The Enron take-out road is better with high clearance vehicles, and I wouldn't want to drive it after a heavy rain storm. The takeout boat ramp wasn't very trailer friendly last spring.

I guess the real highlight of this stretch is the lack of other people. If you need something off the beaten path, as an alternative to the super busy sections of the Colorado, then the White River can make a great weekend trip.
Kyle McCutchen
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Old 04-06-2015   #4
Mile 157
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Guess, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1998
Join Date: Jan 2015
Posts: 60
So I embarrassed to say I was wrong about which side to pass the bridge on the White river at mm 6 above the Green confluence and want to make sure I correct that here: it's a river right run, NOT river left.

Guess this is why you should always verify second hand beta first hand, whenever possible.

Attached is a picture of the bridge in question, flow ~900 cfs.
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Old 04-18-2015   #5
Vernal, Utah
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: Mar 2015
Posts: 4
Ran it last weekend from bonanza bridge to Enron take. Put on at 650 cfs in a 16' raft plenty of water

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