There are promised w/e flows of 600 through the summer. However, there is nothing in writing that garantees this and they have been known to shut it down on a whim stranding raft parties out in the wilderness with less water than they can float on. But your chances are almost 100% if it is a w/e launch to get from El Vado to Big Eddy.
If you call the BLM, they will tell you that they release each Weekend to 600 cfs through Labor Day. We did it this weekend in a small raft and it was fun and beautiful. Good camping and easy drive from CO. Recommend going from Antonito on Hwy. 17 for the ultimate views of Southern Colorado.
Minimum Flow for a loaded gearboat (and possibly guide too) is @ 300cfs. that is already really quite bony, and there is lots of little class II rockgarden stuff with F#$kme rocks to catch up a loaded gear boat. every weekend in July and August unless something different is going on, they turn up the water Friday morning and turn it off Sunday at noon,(for commercial and and private permits) So we always have tried to make very good time on sunday and be well into the day section by early afternoon, as the water will drop @ 2 or 3pm (coming the 30 miles down from El Vado Dam).
anyway its an awesome trip, i always look forward to going, even though the rapids are mild. very beautiful.... The BLM office in Taos is in Charge of the permitting i think, so they should know the projected flows... have fun!
Great, thanks for the beta. I will be rowing my 16' gear boat, hopefully it won't be too boney. I am kind of a newbie when it comes to rubber. I got lucky and applied for a Friday launch without knowing.
There is a private campground at the put-in. Coopers (Coops). In fact Cooper's IS the put in. Don't know the price. Usually busy on w/e with fisherman, but you should be fine cruising in on a Thursday afternoon/evening.
yeah we were on the day section by the time the water was 300.... the upper section needs more water. ok more water period is better.... there is routes through but its easy to get stuck, and that is the biggest hazard, parking a heavyass gear boat on a sleeper, or wraps have even been known to happen on the day section at low water (that was a long day, so i heard.)
my first time ever with oars was on the chama, on a trip w/ customers and everything, it took me a little while to get used to it but luckily its perfect for inexperienced boaters cuz theres only @ three rapids in the first twenty miles.... look for Aragon to camp @ 10-12 miles down on the right. there is a little 10' mushroom/ dr. seuss lookin rock in the middle of the river, which is quite deep there, and the first class II rapid just below; its a perfect layover spot, by far my favorite. you can swim/boat out to the rock , and jump off of it. can also run laps w/ a ducky or kayak if anyone brought one on the rapid- which is dark canyon i think. theres maybe a litle surf wave halfway down.... anyway, they will turn up the water for the weekends by then....hopefully. they'll also do your shuttle too @ coopers, which is really cool, cuz its @ 2 1/2 hour round trip back to the put in.
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