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Any and all info on North gate Canyon would be greatly appreciated!

Flow levels most importantly? (how low in a raft?)

Camping within the canyon to do an overniter?

cant imagine too much danger when rated III, with solid class IV continuos and technical experience, but you never know?

Thanks...
Safe Ventures,
Brett
 

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Northgate beta

For a pleasant trip in a raft, I'd say the level should be 1000 cfs or greater. I've run it in May at 825 cfs in a 15 ft. cat with a narrow frame: fun, but a lot of work dodging exposed rocks. It's generally straightforward, but a few moves can catch you by surprise. There are campsites between the Northgate ramp and Six Mile Gap, mostly small and brushy. At Six Mile Gap, there's a 1/4 mi. of steep trail between the river and the parking area. Below Six Mile Gap it's easier, with occasional rock gardens and more campsites, and long stretches of private land.

I spent last Thursday at the put-in, doing some field work: gusty with squalls of graupel. Water still very cold.

The Forest Service has an info page: USDA Forest Service, Medicine Bow & Routt National Forests, Thunder Basin National Grassland - Recreation Activities
 

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read and run for a solid 4 boater. there is one rapid in there that is pretty steep and may deserve a 4 rating. you'll know it when you come to it. eddy out left at the lip and boat scout for a quick peep. couple squirrely waves and a rock to dodge. i have only run it at 1200 which was plenty for an oar rig.
 

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My recollection of the main rapids from the Northgate ramp to Six Mile Gap (with a few notes) are:

-Windy Hole: around first left bend, left run, nice bounce.
-Cowpie: over an hour down. Rocks get tighter over a quarter-mile, with the crux a right around the cowpie (big mushroom-shaped boulder) then a hard left (oars can hit rocks) followed by tail waves that break at higher flows. Continues to-
-Narrow Falls: cliffs pull in, ledges and large boulders funnel the flow to a center slot, with a steep drop and an immediate pull right. Left is a cliff face that flips boats, with a rocky swim below.
-Tootsie Roll: large boulders overlap somewhat, with pourovers and a sneaky hole low on the right (hard to see from the top).
-Stovepipe: rock garden that forms holes at high flow. At the tail, stay left to make the landing at Six Mile Gap (the channel splits).

There's a board at the Northgate put-in with a rough map- good for relative distances. At 1000-1500 cfs, I'd rate it 3+, adding a bit as the flow increases. 'Til you learn it, it's probably wise to have at least 2-3 boats along. Above 3000 cfs, Narrow Falls flips quite a few rafts: call it a 4+ or a 5. At 5200 cfs (10 yr. flood, in 2005) most boats flipped and some people took long swims. The water's cold and the canyon shady, with few good landings above Six Mile Gap: I'd recommend a wetsuit–minimum– or drysuit.

Welcome to Wyoming & have fun, mate.
 
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