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San Juan - Next Week

1885 Views 4 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  mark_vanis
Anyone have any thoughts on the San Juan for next week. We have a launch on June 23 and it looks like things are dropping pretty quick.. Right now, things are great, but not sure how long the flows will last. The Animas is dropping pretty quick and I doesn't look like they are increasing the flows out of Navajo. How low can you run it. From other threads it sounds like you can run it down to 400cfs. We have 3 14' rafts and 2 16' cats. We have a bunch of kids on this trip, so I am totally fine with a slow mellow float, I just don't want to pull the boat down the river.

Also looking for any beta on recommended campsites...

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Upper stretch easily floats to low 400s and likely less...

At low flows just take the advice of the guidebooks and realize several camps become inaccessible.

Lower stretch is "doable" but becomes more problematic around 500 cfs. Government becomes a real Class III rapid with a technical move or two with chance of pin/wrap. There is a riffle around John's that just plain sucks as those levels but really just means you might have to push on a rock or two to unstick the craft. And plan on an unpleasant last couple hours through the old Powell mudbanks and rejoice if you don't ever get stuck.

It looks like you should have 1200-1500 cfs at Bluff around the 23rd. We'll probably increase the release at Navajo when it looks like Bluff is going to be closer to 500 cfs, so probably sometime at the end of the month.

Susan Novak Behery, P.E.
Hydraulic Engineer
Western Colorado Area Office
Durango, CO
[email protected]
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Early rowing the last couple days can help avoid some really unpleasant upstream wind in the afternoons. I find the final push to Clay Hills easier at lower levels like 500, because you can actually see the river channel. 1500 is faster, but just enough flow to really muddy the water and barely cover sand bars.It does make for a long focused day of rowing. No more oars under the knees, beer in hand, staring at canyon walls and sheep.
As for camps you can't go wrong. Big Stick and Fossil Stop on the upper are great for groups your size with kids. Honaker and Johns (both very popular) and 37.7 on the lower. Have a great trip!
I believe it is still low but worth a shot
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