Newbie questions

I’m new to canoeing. I like prairie/desert/plains. I can hike over miles of it, day in and day out. Most of it is private land in Colorado. I am wanting to canoe over long stretches of slow, native (undammed/channeled), natural water; putting in and taking out only to camp for a night or to arrive/leave, without getting shot at, risking trespass, or having to go around damns or under fences every hour.

I have a few major questions:

  1. What good water is there in Colorado that fits this bill?
  2. Is the Rio Grande feasible?
  3. Where can I find out “when” is good (i.e. enough water to float; maybe some minor portaging) and not flooding? What kind of “draft” does one need? I don’t need big, wide, deep water as long as I’m floating/paddling and not walking, portaging and pulling through muck all the time.

    Thanks in advance for any help.

The Southwest Canoe Club would be a
good place to start.

You can’t always get what you want

– Last Updated: Sep-27-11 11:42 PM EST –

If you want slow, with no dams, natural water ways, there are not a lot of choices. There are however some decent places to paddle on the Cache La Poudre and Platte river, even though you will encounter dams and private property.

Free flowing water - Colorado is richly endowed Gunnison, Animas, Yampa, Colorado, Dolores ... you name it -slow not really. Although check out the Green in Utah, below flamming gorge down to Brown's hole and Ruby and Horsethief Canyons on the Colorado - mostly in Utah - mostly easy paddling - with a few rapids.

There used to be guy from Colorado who posted lots of trips here, he was into flat water paddling and Photography ... I have not seen him post for a long time but maybe his posts are archived.

Rio Grande - I only have been on slow sections in New Mexico, and there it was not free flowing and lots of private property. I've been on the upper stretches in Colorado and it is not slow, but technical whitewater.

water level data