Originally Posted by restrac2000
Anderson (wanted a short day as some people have long drives to put-in)
Sounds like a few could be interesting if the river flows as predicted
. It dropped noticeably the last week and there is still alot of SWE up in the mountains.
Hoping it rises faster than forecasted so we are further into the taper. It will be what it will be though, which is a phenomenal trip in a stunning place.
If you get to the put-in quick and have time, you can pull off on the right just as the Weber starts to rise up, head off through the sagebrush ~100 yards from the river, and then hike up the sandstone incline to get some great views down onto the river at the start of the canyon. No good landing spots there unless it's low water though. There's an old corral behind Anderson, but just pinyon/juniper rambling rather than a destination hike as far as I know. It's a huge beach at low water, but lots of good tent sites in the trees if the beach is covered.
Someone already said pull into the Teepee camp to scout the rapid. It stays continuous for a good mile downstream, so it takes a long time to pick up swimmers or otherwise correct mistakes. Not a complicated line, there just isn't a pool for a long time after. You can hike up the Big Joe wash for as long as you have the energy & inclination. The camp is back behind the willows, it's kind of disheartening to pull in at first. You're already stopped, so scout...
The hike up from Harding is pretty cool. Get up to the bench road and keep walking on out to wagon wheel point. Camps 1-3 are all landed on large rocks with waves that will eat through hypalon if left for very long. If you're just stopping to hike, sometimes you can go left above the island just upstream and scramble up the bank from above the first camp to catch the trail. Signature cave is both a cool feature plus good river history. Look for Jens Jensen's old mining cabin on the flood plain. There's a hike from Mather back up to the cliff overlooking one bend back upstream that is my favorite hike in the canyon. Bemoan the fact that you didn't have $3 million to buy Mantle Ranch as you float by. Mantle cave is a cool Fremont history stop. Laddie Park is beautiful, but the camps are backed by a cliff, so no hiking that I know of. Laddie 1 can be pretty soggy and you end up moving downstream into 2's lap to stay dry at high flows. We stopped there to wait out a 2 hour 6" snow storm one spring (pic).
It's a small eddy to stop and scout Warm Springs, be careful if you're a big group and / or there's already someone there. Watch out for the hole/wave river right after the river turns left below the bulk of the rapid. You can land on the right before the confluence and hike up the sandstone, or at the Echo Park "ramp" and either wander around looking at petros or hike up the road to whispering cave and further to another big petro panel, or along the trail towards Mitten Park and see other petros. At high water Whirlpool canyon can get some serious swirlies, but the actual waves are all just bob & point. I've never explored behind Sea Cliff, but it doesn't look promising for hiking.
The Jones Hole Day Use tie-up is below the third camp and after the box elder trees have started to thin out. Petroglyphs & pictographs, a fun waterfall, trout fishing... The Cove is exposed to the afternoon sun with a rock wall rising up to the east of you like a big reflector and the Island Park bugs in full force. I wouldn't advise planning on getting to camp early to have a big last-night party.
Split at high water is a blast. Don't get lulled into the hole at the end of the flat water before Moonshine. Moonshine is a monster wave train and DeSpain's rock can turn into a surprise hole towards the bottom. I watched a loaded cataraft do a cartwheel flip off the top of one wave in Moonshine somewhere in the mid or high 20's. SOB can be a crunchy mess on the right, fill your boat kind of waves, but it hasn't ever felt flippy to me. The left side is cleaner. Schoolboy just turns into a "don't flush into the wall". Inglesby evolves into a monster hole with a wave train on either side and then finally a huge wave train as the water comes up more. Literally 45 minutes or less from the top of the canyon to the boat ramp 8 miles downstream when it's pumping.
You can stop at the beach just upstream of the boat ramp to organize if you need. Don't take more than one lane (2 vehicles) at the ramp or you'll get yelled at.
Have a great trip. Hope this is useful. I've done a couple dozen trips on the Yampa, so let me know if you have more questions. It's a special place.