A lot of it depends on how heavy your rigs are and how many bodies you have. If you have enough bodies so that derigging and carrying up an embankment is easier than 50 miles of motoring through mud bars, North Wash is better. If not, Bullfrog is better.
There is no daily launch limit, so you just have to pay for a permit to go, no lottery.
North Wash / Dirty Devil is "the takeout" but it is heinous. Basically you have a 5' vertical wall, followed by a steep, 30+ vertical foot slope from there until there is a flat enough spot to set anything down. We brought a giant winch thinking we would use thwarts to roll the boats up the hill. The "cliff" more or less prevents that from being a viable option, so we completely de-rigged and carried. It took us about 4 hours to get 6 boats and 16 people's gear up and loaded this past October.... Whether or not that sounds worse than motoring another 50 miles of muck is up to you.
The park service and/or GCRA really need to find a better solution, because it is an absolute mess currently.
I've never driven a dozer....but I would imagine even a few hours of work with one of those and maybe an excavator and it would be heaps better then it is now.
I agree with the changing conditions trying to do something permanent probably isn't worth doing at that location....but coming in and cleaning the place out a couple times a summer seems totally reasonable.
While you are at it.... send the dozer to the Salt takeout and clean that ramp out too.
Part of the revised lower water boat ramp plans for Powell include a new, proper take out at Hite. So hopefully they get funding.
Bullfrog ALL THE WAY!!! We absolutely loved it! Great chance to clean off the nasty monsoon water sludge covering EVERYTHING while chilling on the water instead of having to do it at home, and it was like a super chill beach vacation at the end of the trip. We built a cooler tower for a diving platform, that was fun. Boats were driving up to take photos of our "Lake Slug" flotilla. Invented "Paddle Rafting" which was pulling a SUP behind the raft with as many people on it as could hold on. There's also a restaurant at Bullfrog which is a big plus.
We passed North Wash in the early afternoon after camping at Cove and hiking up Dark Canyon. Someone was derigging as we cruised by, looked awful and scary, we were all happy to keep trucking. We took out at Bullfrog at around 5PM two days later, so basically add two days to your trip. The Chicharrones Rapids (as my buddy named them) come quick after North Wash and are super bizarre and interesting, also 1/2+ mile long. Then comes the shallow delta, goes by pretty quick and was easy to navigate. Right at the beginning of the lake is a giant log line you need to pass with caution, but simple at our low speed. Just flag down the NAVTEC dude hauling ass by on their single day Cat trips for the most recent beta, they started taking out at Bullfrog.
We did the airplane shuttle (Retail Aviation) which was EPIC!!!!!! You get to fly over everything you're going to raft! Same price as car shuttles, but also added time because we had to shuttle the cars which took a whole day and part of the group had to stay with the rafts on the beach across from the put in for a night and miss out on the flight.
You want to take out after work hours to avoid the boat inspection for quagga. Not only does this save some time but it also keeps your Hull ID out of the system so they aren't suspicious at your next boat stop later on. Rafts are weird to them so best to avoid the conversation, IMO. On that note, do make sure to fully unpack everything and dry thoroughly before going to another water way....I found a strap bag still wet weeks later, that's exactly what you don't want to put in another water body.
29 gallons of gas got us exactly within 200 yards from the ramp using a two-stroke Johnson 9.9hp. Rowed instead of refueling when so close, that was quite a sight! We took 35 gallons overall and that might not have been enough if we had motored entirely up top, or wind on the lake (our conditions were perfect).
We did July 4-13th (launched on the 5th) and spent a layover day at Upper Brown Betty to full moon hike into the Dollhouse. We stayed at Big Drop Beach which was nice because we had a raft flip in Capsize and that took a lot of time/energy. Except we didn't know we were in Capsize....all those rapid descriptions aren't useful if you think you are in another rapid which is real easy to do in Cat (that's the best part of that new NRS movie, "Is this #18?!?" 🤣)
A breakdown of Colorado watersheds for those interested.
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