going west

I want to plan a 7-10 day canoe trip out west (whyoning, colorado or dakota). I wanted to know if anyone here has any recommendations or advise. Thanks!

Colorado, but…
What are your goals? What type of water do you want to paddle?

My basic goal is a relaxing canoe trip although i dont mind some moderate water currents. I would also like to do a lot of fishing. I’m not interested in a guided tour but some people in my party will be interested in renting equipment. Also a shuttle service is a must. Thanks!

See what this guy has to say about CO
He is primarily a kayaker. I met him on a paddle on the S. Platte.


And my $0.02 on lakes I paddle

There are a plethora of lakes close to the I70 corridor. They offer nice water and great mountain scenery. Most of reviewed in the Destinations and Trip reports on this site. These are the ones I like to put my paddle in.

For a mountain lake that is lightly used with no power boats I like Gross Reservoir above Boulder. Free access , close to home, and decent facilities. Weekdays are best.

-Along hwy 70, about an hour west of Denver, Dillon Reservoir is a beautiful lake: high, cold, and a good size for a day paddle. Plenty of sail boats and paddlers there.

-A bit over an hour North of Hwy 70 off Hwy 40 are Shadow Mountain Lake, Grand Lake and Lake Granby. Stunning scenery, wildlife, camping. Watch out for the afternoon winds and dress for cold water.

-A bit less than an hour North of Dillon Reservoir is Green Mountain Reservoir. It rises and falls greatly over the year, so check levels if you want to go.

If you want wind and wave action from power boats try these:

-Chatfield State Park at the South end of Denver.

-A few hours south of Denver you can also try Pueblo Reservoir and Eleven Mile.

I have never been to these, but they come highly recommended to me by some other area paddlers and look interesting:

  • Less than 3 hours north of Denver is Red Feather Lakes

    -In the south central mountain area are Twin Lakes and Blue Mesa reservoir.

    If you’re interested in slow rivers, the mountains and western slope are the best bets. The rivers along the front range near Denver are very seasonal, agricultural, and fickle in their flows. Upstream they are good whitewater streams.

    -Research the Yampa. It has both WW and slow water.

    -Check out the North Platte. These folks paddle it regularly: http://www.poudrepaddlers.org/places/

    -Blue Mesa is also part of the Gunnison River, which has a variety of water. These folks may be a good resource to ask: http://www.centennialcanoe.com/

    -The South Platte North East Denver has some OK sections to paddle. You’re on your own for a shuttle. The Kersey to Kuner run is popular and easy. It is a typical plains river: shallow, sandy, muddy, often flavored by ag runoff, but offering some pretty spots and the company of birds, deer and other smaller wildlife. Only attempt if flows are over 300 cfs, unless you like sandbars and portages. There are portages around low-head dams/diversions. In this area you can also try your luck on sections of the St. Vrain River, Big Thompson, and Cache La Poudre if they have water. Like I said - seasonal and fickle.

    That’s all I got for now worth mentioning.

most scenic flatwater in the country
How about the most scenic 150-mile section in the country.

Its Montana however down the Missouri Breaks National Monument and the section Lewis and clark paddled. Google the videos and info. Beautful section 7-9 day trip from Ft. Benton to James Kipp Bridge.

^^ highly recommended!

I concur…
If you want scenery, solitude, and fish…check out the Missouri, the Breaks & Ft. Peck reservoir in Montana.

Consider the Niobrara in NW Nebraska.
It’s hard to help with your request because you’re talking about very different states and different paddling conditions.

Missouri River trip
I live in Montana but I have not done the Missouri river trip yet. I’m going next June have planed this trip for some time. The shuttle fee’s run from 300 to 500 dollars. You will need to carry all your water because the river has so much chemical run off from the farmers BLM recommends you don’t try filtering it. You will also need to carry toilet gear.

Hop this is helpful. When are you coming west.

Long trips
For a 7-10 day trip a lake is going to seem confining. I would go with one of the big rivers like the upper Missouri, Yellowstone or the North Platte. Then you can travel 150 miles or more and see some country. The shuttles take awhile. For the 150 mile run from Ft Benton to Kipp Bridge plan on about 8 hours.

8 days not hours
That run from Ft. Benton to Kipp is 8 days rather than 8 hours fyi.

Youtube-- Missouri Breaks National Monument.

He must have been reading how we did Judith Landing to Kipp in 8 hours on another forum and got temporary ahead of his typing

8 hours

– Last Updated: Nov-05-14 3:47 PM EST –

I am talking about the shuttle not the river trip.

The trip itself can be easily done in 6 days from personal experience. In the spring with higher flows 4-5 days.

did you make it west
Did you make it west and if so how did it go. Where did you end up paddling.

If not I’m still going in June If interested in tagging along contact me.