Packraft creeks and rivers near Grand Junction, CO

My wife and I will be moving from Anchorage to Grand Junction later this year.

We were driving down that way a month ago and of course were keeping eyes open for water that looked appropriate for packrafts.

The San Miguel River looks like a classic but it also looks like my inflatable kayak (IK) or solo WW canoe would do well on that road-parallel river.

We saw a creek flowing toward the berg of Gateway as we headed northwest toward GJ. Do not know the name. Does this sound familiar to anyone; and if so, do you have any experience on it?

Anyone know of creeks running off the Grand Mesa or Uncompagre Plateau that may be anywhere from class II-IV? Any creeks in the north San Juan Mountains that do not have a trail right along side (kinda no reason to boat if there is a mountain-bikable trail right there) you want to go explore? I wonder about stuff in the Snowmass Creek area above Aspen? Or is there boatable water upstream on the Roaring Fork that is not along the road where the ww kayakers would be running it?

Here in Alaska mere mortals like myself (Roman and Brad do a whole lot more) have been packrafting stuff as steep as 90’/mile so I am open to lots of variation in steepness and creek width. Do prefer the tight little, intimate streams.

Surely there must be Colorado whitewater guidebooks? I just have not looked into them yet.

Hope to be down that way for Spring-Summer boating this year.

Hi Doug,

Look me up when you get to GJ. I haven’t done much in Colorado except San Miguel, Dolores and the Yampa. While you can boat long sections of these with your IK or canoe, there are shorter sections of these rivers that you can “cherry pick” with a packraft and forego the long shuttles and/or long time commitments you’d otherwise have to do with those other boats. And if you don’t mind rappelling a bit now and then there are even more great loops you can do with the PR that you can’t do with your IK or canoe.

One of the beautiful things about packrafting is that you no longer have to think like a boater.

See you out here!

Moab Matt

We will be in contact, Matt. What you are talking about is exactly what I had been hoping to find. I plan to make the move in March, arriving by mid-month. Looks like we’ll actually be living in Fruita.

Oh hey,Matt I am living in Fruita now so … What ideas do you have for PR trips this spring/ summer? Gotta go to CA fir a week or so April 18-25 but after that … Any interest in the Escalante River? I floated it many years ago, pre-Alpacka and that would be a nice repeat. Could be game for any of the Muddy, Dirty Devil. Did you see Forrst McCarthys posting of the North Fork Virgin River? I wonder how one would access the upper Virgin River narrows before you can drive up that Ponderosa road? Long long walk in.

Floating the Little Grand Canyon of the San Rafael River this weekend.

Hope to float the class II-III 24 mile section of the Price River through the Book Cliffs to the Colorado River next weekend, June 3-4 or 4-5.

If water levels stay up, sure would be looking for partners to run either/ both Virgin River Narrows, 16 miles of class I-III in Zion or the E. Fork of the Virgin from near Mt. Carmel Junction to east boundary of Zion Park then walk out the the Checkerboard Mesa area for a possible downhill bike shuttle/ ride back to the cars. Do not know a rating on that 2nd run but probably pretty easy except for one waterfall I have heard tells needs portaging.

Any takers on this stuff, please call me 970-433-4312.


The Little Grand Canyon was fabulous - class I with a small spot or two of class II. We used IKs but would have been great for packrafts.

Price River this weekend I hope - anyone want to go?

Price River flows are way down now and I almost wish I was going there this weekend but we are not. So, if anyone wants to do that lowest 1/3 section on the Price the weekend of the 18-19, lets do it (unless the Zion Narrows stays high enough and we can get over there!).

But for this weekend, if you want to do some paddling on the perimeter of the San Juan Mtns . . . . check these out and come along

We are going to blow this off and go 2 day trips on rivers running out of the north San Juan Mtns. Looks like the Dolores may be unfloatable by some time on Sunday due to decrease in dam-controlled flows.

I think we will do part of the:

Upper Rio Grande


Lake Fork Box

Doug 970-433-4312

Did a little one day trip to Black Rocks with my new raft. See the post in this thread. Thanks for all the other info guys!