The sublime Yampa: Quiet canoe miles on a free-flowing, wild river

Southwest Life

The sublime Yampa: Quiet canoe miles on a free-flowing, wild river

The Yampa River is the last undammed river on the Colorado Plateau. It flows across northwestern Colorado, and river runners can hike into Mantle Cave when the river crosses into Dinosaur National Monument. In June, members of a San Juan Mountains Association canoe trip paddled the Yampa River but did not reach caves in Dinosaur National Monument.
On a June canoe trip with the San Juan Mountains Association, paddlers on the Yampa saw more eagles than people.
Naturalist MK Gunn of the San Juan Mountains Association led the group in explorations for a variety of flora, fauna and birds in addition to playing music as the stars came out.
River trips create river time where participants “go with the flow,” getting up at sunrise and heading to their tents at full dark. Two canoes become a river kitchen with food laid out on one canoe and dish washing on the other.
A British couple joined the river trip sponsored by the San Juan Mountains Association, and they enjoyed the camping, the cuisine and hearing stories about the American West, including tales of outlaws, bank robbers and female cattle rustlers.
Dedicated river rats all, we pose for a group photo where the lush grasses of the upper Yampa give way to more rugged canyons and sagebrush. Pam Fitz led the tour for Centennial Canoe Outfitters, the largest canoe outfitter in Colorado.
A quiet Yampa River flows west of Craig through the Little Yampa Canyon, where a delightful stretch of flat water for canoeing begins at South Beach and takes out at Duffy Mountain.
The Yampa River is born from snowmelt and creeks in the Flat Tops Mountains, which straddle both the White River and Routt national forests. The Flat Tops have spectacular lakes for fishing and memorable summer lightning storms.
The author’s tent is photographed on an island where the group camped for the first night. On one river meander, we paddled 14 miles but only made 4 miles in distance, but it didn’t matter. We weren’t in a hurry. We enjoyed the silence, solitude and darkness at night.

The sublime Yampa: Quiet canoe miles on a free-flowing, wild river

The Yampa River is the last undammed river on the Colorado Plateau. It flows across northwestern Colorado, and river runners can hike into Mantle Cave when the river crosses into Dinosaur National Monument. In June, members of a San Juan Mountains Association canoe trip paddled the Yampa River but did not reach caves in Dinosaur National Monument.
On a June canoe trip with the San Juan Mountains Association, paddlers on the Yampa saw more eagles than people.
Naturalist MK Gunn of the San Juan Mountains Association led the group in explorations for a variety of flora, fauna and birds in addition to playing music as the stars came out.
River trips create river time where participants “go with the flow,” getting up at sunrise and heading to their tents at full dark. Two canoes become a river kitchen with food laid out on one canoe and dish washing on the other.
A British couple joined the river trip sponsored by the San Juan Mountains Association, and they enjoyed the camping, the cuisine and hearing stories about the American West, including tales of outlaws, bank robbers and female cattle rustlers.
Dedicated river rats all, we pose for a group photo where the lush grasses of the upper Yampa give way to more rugged canyons and sagebrush. Pam Fitz led the tour for Centennial Canoe Outfitters, the largest canoe outfitter in Colorado.
A quiet Yampa River flows west of Craig through the Little Yampa Canyon, where a delightful stretch of flat water for canoeing begins at South Beach and takes out at Duffy Mountain.
The Yampa River is born from snowmelt and creeks in the Flat Tops Mountains, which straddle both the White River and Routt national forests. The Flat Tops have spectacular lakes for fishing and memorable summer lightning storms.
The author’s tent is photographed on an island where the group camped for the first night. On one river meander, we paddled 14 miles but only made 4 miles in distance, but it didn’t matter. We weren’t in a hurry. We enjoyed the silence, solitude and darkness at night.
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