Colorado River Permits
Colorado River Permits are required to float on these sections of river. Click on each link to learn more at the Bureau of Land Management. For details on up-to-the-minute flow data, campsites, put-ins, take-outs, and more; please use our Colorado Map and select your river of choice. You will hear it mentioned a few times but a good general rule to follow while on any river is:Pack out your trash, don’t bring glass and leave the animals alone…
Ruby / Horsethief
Though a permit is required, the Ruby-Horsethief section of the Colorado River is some of the most scenic and fun stretches of flat water that you can find and is an ideal place to enjoy a day on the river. From Loma, Colorado to Westwater, Utah, the Ruby-Horsethief stretch runs for roughly 25 miles. It is mostly flat water with a fun mix of Class I and Class II rapids – just enough to make it a tough stretch for inexperienced canoeist. There are also a multitude of day hikes that you can enjoy off of the river (see the Colorado Interactive Map for locations, distance and elevation gains).
During your Ruby-Horsethief float, be aware that motor crafts are allowed in the canyon and you can expect to be amongst them. There are 35 campsites that all require permits and can be found on our interactive map – we have also included links that will take you to the BLM sites to reserve your location. If you go during spring, and if you have never experienced a spring in the Colorado/utah desert, you are in for a treat. Snow, scorching heat, cool nights, cool days, cold rain, high wind, light wind… you name it, you will probably experience it so bring proper attire.
As with any great western float trip, on the Ruby-Horsethief stretch of river you will be surrounded by plenty of wildlife. Bighorn Sheep, Falcons, Deer, and Bald Eagles are just a few of the species that you will hopefully see during your float. Just remember, and we actually hate that we have to mention this, but remember that humans are not permitted within a 1/2 mile of an eagle’s nest and please don’t be that group that harasses the birds or other animals. The Wildlife officials will gladly fine you and you will be known as a bunch of (insert any negative language) amongst other river goers… General rule to live by on the river: Pack out your trash, don’t bring glass and leave the animals alone…
Just like with any other activity in the wilderness areas of Colorado and Utah, you should expect to not have cell phone service. We here at Rocky Mountain Adventure Rentals are creating many printable mapping options and we offer custom mapping services for your trip for a small fee. With Ruby-Horsethief, once you set off down river, you are committed to floating all the way to Westwater – there are no other take outs. This also creates a difficult scenario for rescue needs so be cautious while on the river.
Gateway/Colorado River (UT). Call: (435) 259-7012 for Permits
Gateway Colorado: Dolores River to Colorado River
The Dolores River in Gateway Colorado holds a special place in our hearts here at Rocky Mountain Adventure Rentals. Brian was married along the Dolores River banks in Gateway Colorado and it was on a camping/kayaking/dirt biking trip in the Gateway Canyon where the initial discussion and architecture was put in place to develop a back country mapping system for the State of Colorado.
As for the Dolores River itself… This stretch of river has a short boating season (usually) and it is a gnarly ride through Class I – IV rapids requiring skillful maneuvering and a decent amount of scouting to run the river safely. If you swim in the Rock Gardens at the State Line Rapid, you’ll find yourself in for a long, painful, and life-threatening ride so take the time to scout the rapids. Luckily, there is an easy dirt road that follows the river for most of the boating stretch which offers great view points for scouting. Our first attempt on the river included a set up safety point mid-way through the rock gardens and one just below the rock gardens and thankfully we did not make use of either.
The Dolores River requires a permit (free) and they are easy to obtain. You can usually contact the BLM office a few days before to obtain the permit needed. There is also great campsites along the river but due to our love for the area, we will not be disclosing the locations – you can have fun finding them on your own. There is also a lot of private ranch land along the river so just be respectful…