Top Ten Kid-Tested Rivers

Yampa River, Colorado
By Buck Tilton

The last major tributary of the Colorado River to remain undammed, the Yampa River flows placidly for approximately 60 miles from Craig to Maybell, Colorado, past stunning northern Colorado scenery and a paradise of wildlife that often includes deer and antelope, turkey vultures, and herons.

Below Maybell the river turns extremely dangerous. Put in on Highway 13 where it crosses the river below Craig and you lose about nine miles of quiet water but also lose the unappealing paddle through Craig.

Duffy Canyon, about 20 miles long, offers dramatic trip highlights: pastel "badland" walls sloping a thousand feet down to the greenish-brown river.

Lovely campsites shaded by cottonwoods will give you and the kids a chance to stretch your legs and explore. A rapid below Juniper Hot Springs, not recommended for open canoes, demands a portage. Or you can take out above the rapid, missing the last six miles before Maybell.


When: Low water can ruin your trip because you'll be walking more than paddling. Spring, after high water subsides, typically provides the best conditions.

Canoe rentals are available. No permits are required.

For more info: Bureau of Land Management, Little Snake Resource Area, 1280 Industrial Avenue, Craig, CO 81625; (970) 824-4441.


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