Dark Canyon/Gypsum Loop

Joe Hall

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Oct 27, 2016
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I'm looking for some beta on a loop I'm contemplating in the Dark Canyon area. We were thinking of starting at Sundance (we only have 2WD rental car, if there's a better 2WD access, please let me know) Drop down into Dark Canyon, up to Youngs into Fable followed by Gypsum down to the river (lake). From there we would packraft back to Dark and out Sundance back to the car. Hoping for a non-technical route and have a few points of concern:

-Haven't seen much beta on Gypsum to the river. How doable is it? Seems like it's possible?

-Connecting Youngs to Fable. Sounds like you have to hike entirely out of the canyon at some point in Youngs to avoid a pour off. But doable?

-Based on some trip reports, it seems like floating that section of Cataract can be pretty challenging (miserable) based on water levels. Any ideas what it's doing these days.

Hoping to do this trip in about a week. Thanks for anything!
 

Nick

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-Based on some trip reports, it seems like floating that section of Cataract can be pretty challenging (miserable) based on water levels. Any ideas what it's doing these days.

What have you heard that makes it miserable? From Dark down to Hite it's a free flowing river with no rapids with the reservoir in its current state. Easy floating. I'm not sure what there is between Gypsum and Dark but you have me curious.
 

Brendan S

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Mar 19, 2016
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I'm looking for some beta on a loop I'm contemplating in the Dark Canyon area. We were thinking of starting at Sundance (we only have 2WD rental car, if there's a better 2WD access, please let me know) Drop down into Dark Canyon, up to Youngs into Fable followed by Gypsum down to the river (lake). From there we would packraft back to Dark and out Sundance back to the car. Hoping for a non-technical route and have a few points of concern:

-Haven't seen much beta on Gypsum to the river. How doable is it? Seems like it's possible?

-Connecting Youngs to Fable. Sounds like you have to hike entirely out of the canyon at some point in Youngs to avoid a pour off. But doable?

-Based on some trip reports, it seems like floating that section of Cataract can be pretty challenging (miserable) based on water levels. Any ideas what it's doing these days.

Hoping to do this trip in about a week. Thanks for anything!
Yeah lake level is way below dark. Only thing that could make it "miserable" is a strong headwind since it's slow water. Rest of the trip is doable. Some rope is a good idea for pack hauling in a couple spots. Have fun.
 
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Joe Hall

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Beautiful, thank you both. Nick, your trip looks wonderful! I'll report back on how this goes for us if you are interested. And here's hoping for no 50mph winds.
 
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mattvogt7

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We did a similar loop a year or so ago. We came up Dark and went out Youngs to Fable, dropping into Gypsum via the Powell route, back to the river and then back to waterhole flat via Easter Pasture. You do have to climb completely out of Youngs and then find a spot to drop back into the canyon from the rim before finally exiting out to Fable. Its not too bad but the drop in point back into Youngs is open to interpretation. We used Allen's guide and found the drop in point further north than where he has it marked. Its a great scrappy canyon though! Have fun and can't wait to see the TR!
 

Brendan S

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Is there a better two wheel drive access point for this loop?
That's probably the best bet for 2wd and what you're wanting to do.

One other thing worth mentioning on the river section is the silt from the lake does make campsites mostly nonexistent so I'd try to plan to do the entire river section all at once.

Edit: actually lower Clearwater and bowdie are both worth checking out and would be good camping. both you'd have to hike up a bit.
 

mattvogt7

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Camp at mouth of Clearwater:

clearwater camp.jpg

Really nice camp right across from mouth of Young's:

camp across from mouth of youngs.jpg
 
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Bob

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We hiked down Fable Valley, into Gypsum Cyn, floated down to Bowdie and hiked out of Bowdie.... Can give you info on that way. All I don't know is the additional float on down to Dark Cyn. Fable is piece of cake, really nice ruins. Dropping into Gypsum easy, one spot getting around Gypsum Falls is interesting but not bad..... hike to river from Gysum Falls no problem. We parked at site at top of Bowdie, could probably ease a 2wd drive to it.

We floated it in Walmart vinyl rafts.....

Look in the resource section here, I have info on Fable Valley/Bowdie Loop
 

Joe Hall

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We hiked down Fable Valley, into Gypsum Cyn, floated down to Bowdie and hiked out of Bowdie.... Can give you info on that way. All I don't know is the additional float on down to Dark Cyn. Fable is piece of cake, really nice ruins. Dropping into Gypsum easy, one spot getting around Gypsum Falls is interesting but not bad..... hike to river from Gysum Falls no problem. We parked at site at top of Bowdie, could probably ease a 2wd drive to it.

We floated it in Walmart vinyl rafts.....

Look in the resource section here, I have info on Fable Valley/Bowdie Loop

Am I right in thinking that water isn't much of an issue of this route?
 
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Bob

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Fable thru Bowdie, don't think so, but changes by the year. But I am a camel.... Water at Sweet Alice Spr, Fable spring should be reliable, pouroff pool down from it, water at Gypsum Falls...but pain to get to. Water at Colorado. Bowdie is pretty wet most of the way, both forks, till you get to the upper third.
 
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Gregg B.

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We hiked down Fable Valley, into Gypsum Cyn, floated down to Bowdie and hiked out of Bowdie.... Can give you info on that way. All I don't know is the additional float on down to Dark Cyn. Fable is piece of cake, really nice ruins. Dropping into Gypsum easy, one spot getting around Gypsum Falls is interesting but not bad..... hike to river from Gysum Falls no problem. We parked at site at top of Bowdie, could probably ease a 2wd drive to it.

We floated it in Walmart vinyl rafts.....

Look in the resource section here, I have info on Fable Valley/Bowdie Loop
@Bob, I'd dig any info on Gypsum. We will be doing Dark to Youngs, Fable, Gypsum then float back to Dark. Thanks.
 

Bob

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When are you planning.. can pm me with more info
 
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