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Planning on making some trips down to Utah in the next couple years to run some of the rivers down there. I'm just wondering what people think are some of the preferred more favorable runs. I am primarily looking for a multiday river trip (4-8 days) with good scenery which utah has in abundance but decent camping and whitewater as well. So what do you like? Cataract Canyon, Gates of Lodore, Yampa, San Juan, Dolores, Deso-Gray. If the Selway and Middle Fork are the crown jewels of Idaho, what are the crown jewels of Utah?
 

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I'll bet you get lots of strong opinions on this one. Just to get the argument rolling:
Cataract: Fun whitewater, great exploring, way too much flat water
Deso: My friends all love deso. My experience is that the reputation for bugs and wind is well deserved and possibly understated.
San Juan: Not much whitewater but beautiful and great hiking/exploring
Yampa and Lodore: Very nice but the park service is a pain (random and illogical camp assignments and boat requirements, weird hostile attitude). There are some good hikes and off river exploring, especially on the Yampa, if the campsite gods smile upon you.
Dolores: I really enjoyed this the last time I was on it, long ago. It was crowded, though, and off-river exploring seemed pretty limited. I have not done Paradox down - that sounds nice
Westwater is fun, albeit short.

My favorites are fall low water San Juan and Lodore (uncrowded, reasonable temps, mildly challenging). I just got off a cold, beautiful late March Yampa that ranked up there as well. I think the best Utah boating is done with a pack raft or ducky in S. Utah - Price, San Rafael, Escalante, Muddy Creek, etc if you can get the flow. I mostly drive north....
 

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scenic

Not much for whitewater and you have to wait years for enough water to float a sleeping pad, but the Dirty Devil is my favorite.
 

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fat guy in a little boat
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even tho it's short, i absolutely love westwater.
probably my favorite stretch of water in utah (granted i've only done 3 different runs out there), and one of my favorite places i've ever been.
dunno what it is, but something about that place really speaks to me
 

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They are all so different.

Most unique: probably Chute of Muddy Creek. That said, its a lot of work to make it happen

Best Float Trip: Deso (likely my all around favorite). Comparably simple whitewater, great camps and stunning terrain.

Best Bang for the Buck: Westwater. Fabulous whitewater in a phenomenal canyon. Short and sweet.

Earn Every Cent of it: Cataract, a classic desert trip but damn that is a lot of flat water.

Never done the Dirty Devil yet but I bet it will become a favorite when I do.

As for the Dolores....most of its not in Utah physically but it is in spirit.

Phillip
 

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God Amongst Men
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i think you are meaning "raft capable runs".....so this post need not apply but cant help but throw Cottonwood Canyon below Joe's Valley Res out there....Delicious
 

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I've done the San Juan and Deso. Many of Utah's rivers are very different for the most part than the others. Where as in Idaho you have similar character rivers but with different class rapids in general. Deso was a fun wilderness style trip with decent whitewater and excellent camping but the first 25 miles is flat water. The San Juan is an amazing scenic float with just a little whitewater and excellent camping as well. I took about a week on both and would go back again. We did Deso in mid September and didn't have any bugs or any wind. I am looking at the Yampa or Lodore for my next trip down there. I like that off season yampa only has one launch a day. I can see the appeal of Cataract canyon however the flat water is a major turn off. Dirty Devil would be super sweet to catch someday in an IK and take some time hiking and exploring.
 

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GoBro
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Crown jewels of Utah are mountain biking, climbing and powder skiing. Stay in Idaho to boat.
 

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Cat has it all.high water...biggest in western US. Low water. Mellow relaxing float first few days fun rapids last few. If you are worried about flat water take more days,there are tons of hikes,great sandy beaches,warm water. Just bring lots of water an shade.


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Lodore is sweet. You float thru Lodore canyon, echo park, whirlpool canyon, rainbow park and split mt. So its like going on 5 trips. The actual Lodore canyon is only aboit 20 miles long, if it were 200 it would be as popular as the Grand.
Deso is nice, easy to get permit, camp anywhere , on right.
Dolores is great if you can get water. You float thru ponderosa canyon, box elder canyon, little glen canyon then slickrock canyon, lots of diversity.
 
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