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Upper Colorado river from Pumphouse to Catamount, please help

I'm looking to canoe the Upper Colorado from Pumphouse to Catamount. How many days will this stretch take? I have been canoeing for about 20 years now and only have experience on Missouri rivers (class I and II). Is this a tough stretch for a canoe? Or would you suggest a raft? Any suggestions for a reasonably priced raft rental? I'm looking to go with a buddy the last weekend in June.

Thanks in advance!
 

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Eye of the Needle and Yarmony are two significant rapids you'll want to be aware of, especially at these flows. They are class III I believe, and you don't want to hit the rock on Eye of the Needle or go into the hole on Yarmony. Eye of the needle also has a second hole after the rock on the right that can catch you off guard. You can run Eye of the Needle either side, I've always gone right, then moved left of the second rock/hole. Yarmony is best run left. It's usually pretty easy to get left early and stay there, then move into the wave train once you are paste the hole. At higher flows, the hole just gets wider, so it can get a bit trickier.

I'm not sure, but I think you could portage both if you had to, especially with a canoe. I never really paid that much attention to that possibility because I'm a rafter and don't worry about it too much in a raft. Square up and hit the line in a raft and no problem... LOL
 

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I have canoed from Pumphouse and pulled out at Dotsero/I70. You can also pull out at Lyon's Gulch. You can make it from pumphouse to Burns easily in one day. From Burns you can get to the Pyramid Point camp area the second day and then make the final push the 3rd day. It took us 3days total and 2 nights on the river. I did it in October 2002 at lower flows and still dumped the boat 3 times on the way(mainly in little gore canyon twice - note the 2 holes outlined in previous response!!!). Also I used 50' bow and stern lines to float boat through other rapids at a number of locations along the way. I would avoid doing this in a canoe at the current flow rates. You can rent a raft at Rancho Del Rio if you want.
 

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Boilermaker nailed it for that stretch. Another option is to put in at Rancho and skip those rapids alltogether. If you put in at Rancho and float to Catamount, it would take you 5-7 hours depending on flow. Rancho to Catamount is all class 1 & 2 and there are campspots along the way. Check out for more info: http://www.blm.gov/pgdata/etc/media...ile.dat/uppercoloradoriverbrochure_032305.pdf

I think you can rent rafts at Rancho though I don't know the prices. If you are going through Denver, you can rent rafts at http://www.aaainflatables.com/. Again, don't know the prices.

Having canoed that stretch before, I would recommend going with a raft. It is more comfortable and probably safer!
 

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Correction to my post above!! I meant Bond, not Burns in 1st day. There are a number of nice camp grounds on river left(South) there just above Bond at Windy Point. hduncan88 gave some good info, especially the BLM link. I used that same link when planning my trip. Also check following page for Rancho Del Rio:

www.ranchodelrio.com/ranchorivermap.htm
 

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I've done those stretches a few times in a canoe. Once from State Bridge to Dotsero and once from Pumphouse to Dotsero. We dumped the boat several times on both trips. Be prepared you almost certainely will flip your canoe. That being said it's really fun if you don't mind swimming. Make sure everything is straped in well. Or you can call Alpen Glow in Golden for a raft rental in addition to the others mentioned.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
LOL, sounds like it will be an adventure then, were did dump at? Yarmony or Eye of the needle?

Thanks again!
 

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LOL, sounds like it will be an adventure then, were did dump at? Yarmony or Eye of the needle?

Thanks again!
All of the above and then some others. By the way canoes will take some abuse. I recall going down river with the stern completely submerged and the bow going nearly vertical with the bottom of the canoe hitting the bottom of the river in every trough of the wave train. I rode it that way for a remarkable long time. Be safe out there and don't do it if its high or rent a raft, I'd say more then 2000 on the pumphouse gauge.
 

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My .02 at this level is get a raft. Eye of the needle will be a wash, and getting around Yarmony on left is not a tough line at all. If you know water, you could read and run it on an or rig in three easy, beer drinking, scenic days. Enjoy brotha. Great stretch of relaxing and fun river.
 

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Nice

There will be plenty of beer drinking, I guess I'll be going for the raft, plus it can hold more beer!! Thanks for the .02
 

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Did that Eye and Yarmony 3 times last week in my 16 foot raft.....Eyes pretty tamed at recent flows but Yarmony...GOOD LUCK with the canoe...bring your bathing suit and waterwings. ha ha.. Do the raft and enjoy the run!
Just my two cents.
 

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Me and a few others are planning on boating from Pumphouse to Catamount this weekend on the Colorado. I had a couple of questions that I hope someone could answer.

1) We are starting on Saturday, what are our odds of finding an open camp spot before State bridge? Can we camp on BLM land? We have a firepan, groover, tables, etc and practice zero impact camping.

2) I have seen some cliff jump movies on youtube, and it says it is the Pumphouse cliffs on the Colorado. Are these at the Pumphouse put-in / downstream / upstream?

Thanks for any info - BS
 

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There are many fine camps between Red Gorge and State Bridge. Even on a saturday you should not have a problem finding a suitable site. Having the proper gear helps, since the most popular camps (some with toilets and picinic tables) maybe full. Try the camps at The Benches. Or less used camps Left channel just after Bonehead Rapid, Cable Rapids Camp or at the Piney River confluence. The cliffs are convienently located near the Raduim warm spring, about 3.5 miles downstream of the Pumphouse. The large jump is the cliff directly above the springs on river left. The "commercial" jump rock is just downstream on river right. Enjoy
 

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Thanks for the reply. Are the sites you mentioned for camping, marked sites, or just places with beaches? Am I able to camp on all BLM land, or just marked sites?

How big are the two different jumps? I saw two different ones on youtube. One looked like 25' while the other looked almost 50'.

Thanks again - BS
 

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I floated Pumphouse to State Bridge For the first time this year. It was a busy weekend but we had no trouble finding a beautiful marked campsite at Benches. We even had our choice between #2 and #3.

The flow was around 2500 cfs a few weeks ago. Is it too low for a 16' cat loaded at the current level (1300 cfs)? We were thinking about going again Thursday.

Thanks!
 

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Anything over 1000cfs is fine for just about any boat. The wind will be more of a possible factor rather then water depth.
 

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We just ran Pumphouse to Rancho Sat the 10th and Sun the 11th with 4- 16' cats lightly loaded and it was great. I'd say the jump above the hot springs is 35-40' with a 15' jump forward to clear the cliff on the way down. If you hang at the springs for long you will see someone do it.
 

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Admin note: two threads on same stretch merged, also search on "Pumphouse to Dotsero," "State Bridge to Dotsero" for info on the Upper C. There's a link to the BLM guidebook in this thread.

Also note that next year they'll be requiring groovers or wag bags on the Upper C.
 

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Camping on BLM Land?

So is it alright to camp anywhere on BLM land? We are hoping to camp somewhere downstream of Yarmony. We would prefer to camp at one of the marked sites, but if they are all full, I don't really want to do a moonlight float to find an open spot when there isn't too much moonlight this weekend. I have all the equipment needed to be self-sufficient (groover, fire pan, etc). Thanks for any info.
 

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Do your best to get an established campsite, rather than camp anywhere you see fit. It should not be a problem to find something downstream of Yarmony, and past Rancho. We've never had a problem finding camps, even on holiday weekends. In fact, I don't think I've ever seen people camping at sites that are not established. Go up to Andy H's post and download the BLM map - all of the sites are marked. Once you're past State Bridge, you'll have a lot of them to choose from, and you'll notice the number of boats decrease dramatically after you pass State Bridge. I doubt very much that you won't be able to get a nice site, especially if you're on the river early in the morning and don't dilly dally too long at your stops. Have fun and be ready for the wind and mosquitos!
 
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