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Discussion Starter #1
I will be visiting the Upper Arkansas River valley the end of August and know I could kayak around the many lakes. But after running the same tandem down the gunnison a few years ago solo, wonder if there is a stretch of the Arkansas river tame enough to enjoy it with a lake kayak.

My latitude 40 map shows the white water area's of the Arkansas, so I could use it and try and plan a day float around those. But it cant hurt to ask..

Can I get some recommendations on the longest section of the Arkansas with no more than class II please? Or a section with portages around the rapids?

Thanks!
 

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You might want to repost this in the kayak or general forum. You may get more of a response.


Sent from my iPhone using Mountain Buzz
 

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Normal end of August the Ark is very low. The easy stretches become very boney. This year may different and flows may be o.k. Standard easy stretch is the Milk Run - Johnson's Village to Ruby Mountain. Put-in at JV uses Wilderness Aware Raftings ramp @ $3 per kayak.

There are also some easy runs down by Cotopaxi, like Trading Post to Lone Pine.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
There are also some easy runs down by Cotopaxi, like Trading Post to Lone Pine.
Thanks.

Between milk run, and Trading post to lone pine. Which float would be the easiest? Because my GF's not sure she wants to try the milk run after watching a few video's.
 

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My first season I took an REI Otter Sport down Salida to Rincon a few times in late summer. Flows SHOULD be appropriate after August 15th...

My personal opinion is that Big Bend to Salida, Salida to Rincon and Trading Post to Texas Creek are the 3 easiest stretches of the upper Ark and are all appropriate for what your looking for. Milk Run has a little more gradient and more rocks, plus thick vegetation on the banks.
 

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I forgot about Big Bend to Salida. This is by far the easiest. JUST MISS THE LOWHEAD DAM! It is well marked and you can use the boat chute river left, or just portage. Second easiest on my list would be Trading Post to Lone Pine. The owner of the land at the normal takeout above the Texas Creek bridge has posted no trespassing and put a chain across the access, which makes going to Texas Creek more complicated. I still think the Milk Run is easy also. Both BB to Salida and the Milk Run are in the upper valley above Salida. Trading Post to Lone Pine is on the lower canyon, about half way to Canon City from Salida.

As far as flows, I myself would prefer above 600 cfs on any of these runs to avoid to much scraping. If you have seen videos of Milk Run lately, it has been running in the 4000+ cfs range, which a beginner river runner should not be on. As mentioned, in a normal year, they stop releasing from Twin Lakes and the river drops to 200-400 cfs after ~August 15. This year I don't know what to expect, but I would optimistically guess we will have good flows into the fall.
 

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My first season I took an REI Otter Sport down Salida to Rincon a few times in late summer. Flows SHOULD be appropriate after August 15th...

My personal opinion is that Big Bend to Salida, Salida to Rincon and Trading Post to Texas Creek are the 3 easiest stretches of the upper Ark and are all appropriate for what your looking for. Milk Run has a little more gradient and more rocks, plus thick vegetation on the banks.
Thanks.

Absolutely no class III, so Salida to Rincon is out. Even though I did the gunnison in my 16' loon 160 T a few years back, I have a inexperienced guest with me.

Big Bend to Salida sounds perfect, and Trading Post to Texas Creek (Lone Pine) also sound good.

If I can do only one.. Which one is the most scenic? And I would need a place to park my car and motorcycle. Or hire a shuttle which might be safer for my motorcycle.

As far as flows, I myself would prefer above 600 cfs on any of these runs to avoid to much scraping. As mentioned, in a normal year, they stop releasing from Twin Lakes and the river drops to 200-400 cfs after ~August 15. This year I don't know what to expect, but I would optimistically guess we will have good flows into the fall.
Im not worried about scaping, but getting stuck and dragging my boat would be a bummer.

Whats the minimum flow for minimal walking/dragging?
 

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Honestly, if Salida to Rincon is out just because of Bear Creek Rapid perhaps you should rethink the Ark. It's really a long class 2 at flows below 800... Maybe something more like Deckers on the South Platte or Wagon Wheel Gap on the Rio Grande is more appropriate? Don't get in the Ark unless your ok with dumping once or twice.
 

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Honestly, if Salida to Rincon is out just because of Bear Creek Rapid perhaps you should rethink the Ark. It's really a long class 2 at flows below 800... Maybe something more like Deckers on the South Platte or Wagon Wheel Gap on the Rio Grande is more appropriate? Don't get in the Ark unless your ok with dumping once or twice.
I'm using guides like this when searching around and saw class III. My GF is not as adventurous as I am and I definitely don't want to dump her. Its been over a decade since Iv tipped over, but we are both good swimmer if need be.

I agree, maybe the Ark isn't the best choice.

Maybe I should bring her to a easy float on the Colorado?
 

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Lot of rocks in the rivers around here. I have a feeling, coming from Iowa a lot of the class 2 will feel like 3. If you want to look at other options I stand by the 2 I recommended above, but maybe some of the stuff around Rancho Del Rio on the upper C, or grizzly Creek to 2 rivers..?...
 

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I agree with Logan that you should be able to swim out of any river you are running. (Hopefully with all your gear.) No matter how easy, s*** happens.

That being said, the stretch from Big Bend to Salida is markedly easier than Salida to Rincon. Checked a mile-by-mile rafters guide (by Fampton) I have. This guide consistently rates the rapids a grade harder than what we kayakers consider them. It had no listed rapids in this section of any grade. I ran it several years ago @ 600 cfs in my raft and I don't remember anything of consequence except the lowhead dam for the fish hatchery. This is well marked and has a boat chute and portage river left. I would consider this slightly easier than Grizzly Creek to Glenwood on the Colorado.

As far as scenery, the BB to S runs through farm lands in the upper valley. That man is around is apparent throughout the run. However, there are great views of the surrounding 13,000 and 14,000 peaks. It also ends in Downtown Salida where you can get a good meal at one of the excellent restaurants. The run is ~6 miles long.

The TP to LP(TC) run is lower down in a canyon. It is roadside and has a more desert feel to it. This run is probably marginally more difficult than BB to S. (Think Grizzly Creek to Glenwood.) Nearest town of any size is Salida or Canon City. (Gas station at Cotapaxi.) TP to LP is ~3 miles, add ~ 2 miles to go on to Texas Creek, but check the axis there - it was closed in May of this year.


p.s. Not trying to contradict you Logan, just add information.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I really appreciate all the great info and first hand knowledge guys..

The only thing I'm not sure about is where to exit the Ark and park my car in salida as I dont want to end up at the F street rapids?

Is this spot behind the baseball diamond a good choice?
 

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It looks public, but not sure how easy it is to exit river (beaches, brush?).

I would park at the Salida Boat ramp, which is at G Street and Sackett. Should be plenty of parking that time of year. I assume the rapids you are referring to are the play park features. You can get out on the rocks river right above the first feature and walk down the sidewalk by the river to the boat ramp. (By this time you may just run it as the first feature isn't that stout?)

https://www.google.com/maps/@38.5386863,-105.9918744,1059a,20y,270h/data=!3m1!1e3
 

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Agreed. The park shouldn't be intimidating when you are here. Alternatives include taking out under the 291 bridge. Big easy eddies there. If you take out river left CR 150 is right there. River right you have to cross a trail and climb up a short hill to CR 154.
 
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