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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello All!
I just put in for a permit on Desolation Canyon for September 1st, and was wondering if anybody had run it around that time and could help me out with some questions I have, like... how crowded is it? What are the temperatures like? are the bugs just awful? the water levels extremely low?
any information would help me out immensely. Im planning to run two or three boats, with a smallish group of people ages 20-25 or so. we aren't looking for HUGE whitewater, but would like some daily excitement... does deso offer some pretty fun rapids? i am a guide, along with my friend running the other boat.
i have heard it's a gorgeous run, and has some pretty cool beaches and hiking spots, that true?
thank you so much, in advance!
:D
 

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If this is your first trip down Deso I would recommend NOT doing it in Sept. The water levels are VERY low and excitement you will not have especially the first two days as it is all flat water - really almost all 96 miles of it. At low levels it is mostly flat water with a few rapids thrown in. I used to guide this river and ran it during the droughts and high water. I would try for the latest, early August, but will still be relatively low. This is may favorite river for the hikes and the energy it posses - great history within the canyon. It is an amazing river. If you are ok rowing a boat against very strong head winds, a slow moving current and risk getting stuck around some of the islands if you go the wrong way - it will be an adventure. I recommend a very early start in the day ( especially the first two) and cover as much mileage as you can. The winds begin to pick up around 1 - 2pm and if it is low water the wind has been known to push a boat back upstream.

On another note, Wire Fence does have bears. I was visited by one early one morning on the beach as I slept in my sleeping bag away from the crowd. They have been other sighting as well. :D

The rapids are straight forward and a fun to surf in a kayak. Many small wave trains at low levels. The views and hikes and the best! Enjoy.

Feel free to give a call I will be more than happy to offer more advise on hikes, nature springs, etc.

Patricia
(970) 376-2409
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Well, early Sept is the only time that I can really take a trip this year. Do you know any other rivers that might make a better trip during that time that don't require a huge permit ordeal?
how are the bugs in desolation around that time?
i have heard that the first 2 days are pretty flat, but the rest of the time there are rapids, even just small ones, every day?
 

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Go in September! The bugs are virtually gone, the days aren't as hot, and the water sometimes actually picks up again (somewhat) for the fall. Do be prepared for a float trip more than a whitewater trip though. It's beautiful, but pretty boring rapids. Lots of splashy stuff every day for duckies once you get past the first 20 or so miles, but hard to find a good hit for a raft and scant play spots for the hard shells. How many days are you taking? More=better. Don't be surprised to find a group you didn't know was on the river at your planned camp, but there are few places without tons of beaches. Enjoy the trip!
 

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Yep - that time of year the bugs are pretty much gone and are really only an issues the first couple of days. If you want some whitewater, warm weather you can do the Colorado - it will always have water. Do a Ruby Horsethief/Westwater/Moab tripleplay - you can get a few nights out of it. Less hassle, more whitewater and decent hikes - still very beautiful.

Deso will have rapids every day, except 1 & 2, but they a very small wave trains in between Coal Creek, Wire Fence, Nephertite (sp?) & three fords at that level. The wave trains will be more fun on the paco pad then the raft. But this river is all about the beauty, hikes and history.

Have fun whatever you decide to do, there is always Gauley Fest in WV.

Happy paddling!
 

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triple play

I have to agree with Tricia here. Loma to Moab is the Best.
Slow float to Black Rocks,Rapids and Canyon @ Westwater. Scenery through Eagle to Dewey. Good Camps and Dumpsters in Castle Valley and Plenty of fun on the Daily that time of year.
Easy access and only one permit for (Westy, Easy to get) Great Hikes and the Shuttle won't cost you $200 each.
 

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We've got a permit for Sep 6. We wanted to avoid the blasting heat, and take advantage of the Labor Day holiday. The woman at the ranger station said it's possible to get lucky and have more water, if irrigation has stopped. Unfortunately, that usually means because it is raining I suppose!

The Utah rafters yahoo group talks about it a lot.

It's probably best not to try to plan a fast trip, and leave your schedule flexible in case you get winded-out and decide to hunker down, or just can't make as many miles as you had hoped.
 

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So We got a permit for the last week of may how is it then with the bugs & water & Such. We are planning on taking our time down to do hikes and have a layover day. I have got topo maps to find hikes any one have any good ideas?
 

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End of May should be a kick - the best time to go, with the exception of the mosquitos. If it has been very wet expect them most of the trip. The first two days are the worst. The put-in you will want to sleep in a tent or car and advise if you have dinner there the night before - eat in a screened shelter - bug repellent is your friend. The rapids are great at bigger water and the first two days move very quick. If you get the guide book for the canyon that has the shoreline topos in it, they will show you were the petroglyphs are and all the cool historical sites. If it is above 20,000 cfs you will have plenty of time to have two layover days if you planned a 7 day trip. If the river's at higher flows you don't have to worry so much about the wind, too! :p Have an awesome time!

Patricia
 

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So We got a permit for the last week of may how is it then with the bugs & water & Such. We are planning on taking our time down to do hikes and have a layover day. I have got topo maps to find hikes any one have any good ideas?
What day do you launch? We launch on the 25th. Launched on the 15th last year, and only had mosquitoes at Sand Wash. Never saw another bug the rest of the week. Hopefully it'll be not much worse than that this year.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I have to agree with Tricia here. Loma to Moab is the Best.
Slow float to Black Rocks,Rapids and Canyon @ Westwater. Scenery through Eagle to Dewey. Good Camps and Dumpsters in Castle Valley and Plenty of fun on the Daily that time of year.
Easy access and only one permit for (Westy, Easy to get) Great Hikes and the Shuttle won't cost you $200 each.

How long is this trip - loma to moab?
thanks for all the info, from everyone!
 

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The Loma ramp is at river mile 152, and Takeout Beach (just outside Moab) is at river mile 74, so 78 river miles. Probably 5-6 nights unless you really wanted to row hard. And what's the point of that? :)
 

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On either trip at low water, take a couple beach stakes for each big boat and plenty of mooring rope. It can be a long way from the water's edge to the usual high-water tie-up spots.

We used the stakes at every camp on Deso.
 
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