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River rafting near Moab and other questions about SW Colorado & Utah trip in May

River rafting near Moab and other questions about SW Colorado & Utah trip in May

Old Jan 14th, 2007, 08:35 AM
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River rafting near Moab and other questions about SW Colorado & Utah trip in May

As usual, I'm turning to this forum for assistance. We planning a trip to SW Colorado and the Moab area for mid to late May (will be returning home Memorial Day weekend). So I've got a number of questions.

We'll probably fly into Denver from East Coast and drive the first day as far as Salida or Gunnison so we can visit the Black Canyon of the Gunnison the next morning. We've got the next 3 nights reserved in Ouray to see all the sights around there. Then's it's on to Mesa Verde for 2 nights and the next 3 nights in Moab.

We're late fifties couple, very moderate hikers and love the scenery. Have visited Mesa Verde once before.

When we leave MV, we plan to take our time getting to Moab, visiting the needles district of Canyonlands on the way. The next 2 days will be devoted to the other part of Canyonlands and Arches.

One of my questions is whether I want to spend a 4th night in Moab so we can take a half-day raft trip. I'm interested in a fairly gentle experience and want to see the canyons from below and would love feedback from anyone who's done that in the Moab area. If the scenery on the gentle trips is boring, it's not worth it to me probably.

Another option is to leave Moab after the 3 nights and go to Grand Lake, Co. in order to visit RMNP on the way back to Denver. I'm concerned that the road through the park might not be open the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend, though, particularly in light of the snow Colorado got this winter. Any thoughts on that?

As always, thanks in advance.

Ruth
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Old Jan 14th, 2007, 08:45 AM
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While I can't help with your specific questions, I can recommend places to stay while visiting Mesa Verde and Moab.

I would suggest staying in Cortez while visiting MV. There are several options from motels to a lovely B&B Inn at McElmo Canyon --

http://www.theinnatmcelmocanyon.com/

There is also a lovely B&B in Moab that we love and hightly recommend:
Cali Cochita B&B --

http://www.theinnatmcelmocanyon.com/

Hope this helps...
Debi
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Old Jan 14th, 2007, 09:34 AM
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Hi Ruth,

If you enjoy the canyon scenery and want to see it from below, river level then you would enjoy one of the half day float trips out of Moab. Many companies in town do them, but you might want to reserve a day in advance.

I can't say if YOU think it would be "boring and not worth it". If you enjoy it from above, you will probably enjoy it from river level too.

One day each for Arches and Canyonlands Island in the Sky is the bare minimum. I think you might want a second day in Arches if you like to hike at all!
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Old Jan 14th, 2007, 09:38 AM
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I don't know if the raft trip would be worth it to you or not, but I think a stop at Grand Lake would be a very good idea. Most likely Trail Ridge Road won't be open yet. But you never know. You can still see lots of RMNP beauty without going over the Pass.
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Old Jan 14th, 2007, 10:13 AM
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Sorrel River Ranch, outside of Moab, is a beautiful place to stay with nice rooms and great food. They also offer a self-guided raft trip on the Colorado River: they take you upriver and you float back down to the hotel. When we were there (month of September), it was gentle and easy, with a few "rapids" (more bark than bite) along the way. I am not at all experienced in rafting, and it was a cinch. Don't know what the river conditions will be like in May.

Hotel is 17 miles outside of Moab - a beautiful ride from town - a little isolated, but worth it.

Web site: http://www.sorrelriver.com/
 
Old Jan 14th, 2007, 11:48 AM
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Thanks everyone for the input so far. After I put "boring" in my post, I thought I probably should have explained that more. I want to actually boat/raft through some canyons and in the canyon. I know that sometimes "gentle" boat rides are on flatter parts of a river.

We've actually reserved rooms in the park in Mesa Verde and at Sunflower Hill in Moab. Sorrel River sounds lovely, but we like being in town where we can walk to various dinner options.
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Old Jan 14th, 2007, 12:04 PM
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http://www.moabdreaminn.com/ for Cali Cochita B &B. sorry!

It is just off main street but in a nice quiet area and the owners are nice folks and they serve gourmet breakfasts.

Debi
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Old Jan 14th, 2007, 03:35 PM
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Hi again Ruth,

If you do a 1/2 day float trip out of Moab, you will be mostly in very deep canyon walls. You will actually look up, way up, to Dead Horse Point. They will also point out to you the spot where "Thelma and Louise" drove off the cliff!
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Old Jan 15th, 2007, 07:17 AM
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Thanks, Dayle, that's exactly what I wanted to know--and want for my river experience.

Ruth
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Old Jan 15th, 2007, 08:13 AM
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Ruth,

I have not stayed at the Sunflower, but have heard good things from other B&Bers about it. I usually stay at the Dreamkeeper if not camping.
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Old Jan 15th, 2007, 10:46 AM
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Dayle, is there a particular raft company you know that goes by Dead Horse Point? I'm looking at Tag a Long as they say they have permits to go into Canyonlands.
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Old Jan 15th, 2007, 01:27 PM
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We did a full day trip with Tag-a-Long in 2003 and would use them again. However, we started and finished up river of Moab. As I recall, it was mostly open, not a lot of canyon walls. Make sure you ask before you book where the trip will be and what the scenery is like.

Also, the half day trip will pretty much use up the whole day by the time you get to the starting point and back to Moab. Plus, you'll be too hot and tired to do anything else that day. I recommend taking a full day trip instead. Most companies will include lunch on the river with the full day.
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Old Jan 24th, 2007, 09:06 AM
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Thanks, again, everyone. I'm steeling myself to be brave and do the combo all day raft/4x4 trip, probably with tag-a-long. I'm willing to get a little wet.
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Old Jan 24th, 2007, 09:12 AM
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Hey RuthMC...I stumbled onto this while planning our October trip to Southern Utah. It's probably not what your looking for, but I thought I'd share it anyway. I read about it in the "Do Not Miss" section of my "Most Scenic Drives in America" book. It's called the "Canyonlands by Night" cruise on the Colorado River. You can find out more information about it and other boat trips on the Colorado River on this website: www.canyonlandsbynight.com
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Old Jan 24th, 2007, 09:19 AM
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Thanks for topping the thread about Canyonlands by Night review for me! Darn...darn...darn...
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Old Jan 24th, 2007, 01:05 PM
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I don't know anything about this, and you'll have to do more research on this... but a friend took some kind of boat trip down beneath the Blue Mesa Reservoir. Would that be the Colorado River? (i don't think so) Anyway, It would be outside of Gunnison near the Black Canyon. It is a boat trip run by the National Forest Service(again, I think, but i know it is a government entity)
So the boat trip takes you down the river and then the boat must have a motor because you come back up it at the end of the day.

Just an idea, and I saw the friend before she did the trip so I have no report of how it was.

I would be a little cautious of a raft trip in May. It may be very cold because the water will be mostly snow melt. Just something to think about.
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Old Jan 25th, 2007, 07:17 AM
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Yes, William, thanks for the caution. I've read that the water will be cold in May, so I'll probably rent a wet suit or at least rain gear and will definitely stick to the lower class rapids where the splashing might not be as great. Also, with just 1/2 day on the water, I'm hoping it will be ok, cold-wise.
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Old Jan 25th, 2007, 08:10 AM
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Ruth,

If you do a "float"trip, there is no reason to have a wet suit. Just take a light weight water repelant jacket or windbreaker. You probably won't get wet at all, but it is cooler on the water. May temps in Moab are delightful, probably in the 80's.

A jet boat trip will be fast and very windy. You will need a hat with a chin strap for both trips.

If you do a whitewater trip, the outfitter will suggest what to wear.
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