Summer paddling suggestions


Aug 9, 2007
I have a craving to do some yak-packing this summer. Probably around early August and within a ~5 hour drive from Salt Lake City. Any suggestions on good summer paddling destinations that you can do without reserving a permit long in advance? I was thinking maybe the Green through Labyrinth Canyon again. Anyone have experience down there in the summer? I don't mind some heat if I can get wet regularly. Or perhaps something like Green River Lakes. Something in Grand Teton or Lewis-Shoshone Lake in Yellowstone also came to mind, but I'm not sure how likely it would be to score a last minute permit. Oh, and extra points if I can bring my dog.

Thanks in advance.
Not sure about Lewis-Shoshone lakes as far as permits go, but when we went canoeing up in Leigh lake in Grand tetons, I saw several unoccupied campsites. One our way back we met 2 different canoes, who had secured permits and were going to their campsites, but safe to say we could've gotten a permit if we wanted. This was in mid august.

It's a beautiful place to do some paddling.

If I was in your neck of the woods I think some of those alpine lakes would be a lot of fun. I have avoided lakes around here because they are usually crowded, with a lot of motorized activity.
As you know I am partial to rivers. Our Labyrinth trip was great, but I would add a day or two to explore. Obvious downside is the shuttling back and the time required to do so. Stillwater is a disaster these days IMO. Beautiful, but overcrowded. Our trip there last fall was great, but difficult to find camp spots.
The vast, and I mean vast (according to Tex's riverways), amount of floating traffic on the Green and Colorado is centered around the Green. On every jet boat trip back to Potash we are the only ones that did the Colorado. This is perplexing to me, as every trip I have done through Meander canyon has been uncrowded, numerous white sand bar campsites. You do encounter the occasional party barge


headed for Cataract (they never camp in Meander), and the once or twice a day jet boat or boat to the Grotto, but for the most part it is complete solitude. Water will be in the lower 70's in August. Temps 90-100 or higher sometimes, but I like the heat as I find it intoxicating. And the afternoon thunderstorms defy description. When I am by myself I am usually up early, float until it get's too hot, hang under a tree or overhang and then start again the late afternoon. I have a solo trip mid August booked, and another group trip in mid September. These were easy to arrange with Tex's, with first come first serve permitting through the Park Service ($50/person).
Did not remember my post back in 2013, sorry for the duplicate!
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my suggestions for interior west canoe-trippin' (yak-packing) routes from a couple years back. (others also posted up great suggestions in the old thread.)

there is very little in the way of wilderness canoe tripping out here in the interior west. trips that include lakes, rivers, and portages. none of which are in utah. one must look north to wyoming for such an outing.

1. Green River Headwaters: travel from the Lower Green River Lake to the Upper Green River Lake. paddle, pole, and/or line in the 1/2-mile section of river between the lakes. two extremely well positioned campsites exist on the northern shore of the upper lake. views of Squaretop looming overhead very impressive. head to the southend of upper lake and enter the headwaters. paddle, pole, and line your way up the lower meadows for roughly 3.75-miles. great primitive camping on the western shore. one or two "blow-downs" spanning the river maybe require brief portaging. for the willing, continue the paddle, pole, line an additional 2 miles up to beaver meadows. great camping to be had and at a location that is well positioned for an assault on SquareTop Mountain via Granite Lake. better yet, ditch the canoe for a night and backpack up to Lake Granite. scramble to the summit of SquareTop Mountain. Reverse the route. Enjoy the serene float back down the headwaters and across the lakes. Pure wilderness stoke right there.

2. Teton Low Traverse: Put in a Flagg Ranch onto the mighty Snake River. float the class I/II for 6+ miles out to Jackson Lake. paddle to and 18 +/- miles south along the western shore overnighting at wilcox point, warm springs, and/or little grassy island. exit the lake at the southend of Bearpaw Bay. portage 1/2-mile to Bearpaw Lake, paddle across the pond, portage again ~3/10-mile to Leigh Lake. Gun for backcountry site #15 on Leigh Lake. one of the best in the park. paddle to the outlet. 150-yard portage to String Lake. Float the lake (slow moving N -> S current requires no paddling, just drinking, err i mean relaxing, down to the southern end. Take out. Hi-5's all around.

3. Shoshone Geyser Basin: launch from Lewis Lake Campground paddle along the northwestern shore, soak in the hot spring mixing zones, eventually paddle up into the lewis river channel. paddling soon turns to lining as you approach shoshone lake. camp at any of the sites along the southern shore. goal is to spend as much time the following day exploring the awesome Shoshone Geyser Basin (sans tourists) at the west end of the lake. Reverse the route or complete the clockwise shore route. tempting as it may be, crossing the shoshone narrows is not recommended. it's a literal grave yard. take in some additional minerals at the lewis lake northwestern shore hot springs mixing zones and maybe knock out some yoga on your way back out.

additional comments-

Route 1 - dog friendly. still a stellar trip if you choose to skip the hike due to knee issues.

Route 2 - skip the river section, put in at lizard creek and open-water paddle (or circumnavigate northern shoreline) over to Wilcox point. continue southbound.
Thanks for the suggestions!

I was all gung-ho to go do Meander, but unfortunately there are no shuttles available. Tex's basically laughed at me and said they had pretty much nothing for the rest of the year, meanwhile tag-a-long doesn't even have boats on the water the days I checked because they said they didn't have enough people wanting pickup to make it worth it. Super strange. I guess I'll have to plan further ahead for Meander and maybe do Labyrinth again instead. Or perhaps Green River Lakes - that one does look super appealing.
That is strange. If you have some flexibility Tex's can have openings appear when people cancel. Also you can put yourself in at Potash and not ask them to drop you off. Tag-a-long must be in their final death throes, it does not surprise me.
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Yeah, I got a similar impression about Tag. I joked with Tex's about needing another boat and got a bit of a lecture about how they won't expand in order to keep the wilderness experience in tact. Gotta respect that.

@IntrepidXJ - I was just checking out your Ruby Horsethief TR. Did you feel that spending 2 nights out there was too much or was there enough to do in between?
I ended up booking a couple nights to do Ruby Horsethief. Cottonwood 3 the first night and Black Rocks 9 the second. If anyone has any suggestions on hikes or things to see along the way, please share!
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