SW paddling recommendations ?

Again plan to leave our home in well-watered NE to spend Winter in SW, mostly near Colorado river from L. Mead downstream but willing to travel from there for a worthwhile paddle.

Have reviewed the limited destinations described here in CA, AZ & NV but seeking more info/choices. Despite lack of water in SW there must be other great places to paddle. (As an example there’s no entry in places to paddle for Verde river in AZ)

Care to share your rec’tion for a scenic paddle in SW ? Can handle water up to class 3 & plan to both re-paddle Green/Colorado & hopefully score a San Juan permit in April. Any other must paddle destinations out here ?


San Juan
Just got back from doing the San Juan River from Sand Island to Clay Hills crossing the second week in October. Hope you get the permit. The San Juan River should be on any canoeist’s bucket list.

Watch the water conditions for the
Dolores, especially the relatively easy Slickrock Canyon. Two nights, or three if you hike a lot. I caught it in early June, but IF there is enough water, you can do it earlier. There is no permit for the Dolores, but the usual firepan, etc., are required.

You might also read up on the Verde and the Salt in AZ. I haven’t done them yet, but am accumulating info.

Verde and Salt
are seasonal venues - you will need to check what kind of winter it was -in high water years the verde gets lots of canoe traffic in a stetch near Camp Verde.

Eastern Class III is not the same as Western class III. Go with some locals your first time.

Ruby and Horse Thief Canyons in Utah -very nice paddle

the lower colorado in on AZ/CA is a good place to paddle but flat water with lots of power boats

Go to the Sea OF Cortez in Baja

Drive out to San Diego

Kern River is doable from your location for heavy duty whitewater -as are several rivers in Utah and Colorado

Appreciate the suggestions

San Juan (if a lottery winner) & 2nd Green/Colorado thru Canyonlands are must do trips for next spring once weather moderates in those hi country locations. Will also check out the Delores but seeking some lower elev, warmer destinations to paddle during winter

Printed the BLM’s (?) Boater’s guide to Verde & visited it’s namesake hot spring last winter. It details river from Beasley Flat go Sheep bridge & looks to be a great paddle when level’s cooperate.

Last fall/Winter after a GC raft trip wife & I canoed most of the Colorado in pieces from L Mead to Imperial dam. Plan to repeat parts of that.

Is Alamo lake worth a visit ? Is Bill Williams R floatable from Mineral Wash rd ? We paddled 60 min up it last yr from L Havasu during a release but current beat us

Seadart, Familiar w/ Ruby (ranch) & Horsethief C. on UT’s Green R. Are they destinations you’re referring to ?

We paddled few miles on Sea of Cortez by Puerto Penasco last yr. Any thoughts on accessing it off MX rts 5 or 3, S of Yuma or Calexico ?

Thanx again

You have heard of USGS satellite
gauges? This is the 21st century. I can get Verde, Salt, and Dolores levels whenever I want them.

I would never have gotten to run the Dolores if I depended on western paddlers. I nailed it on my own.