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Southwestern US “Great Circle” Paddling Route?



There is a car camper Nat’l Park and Monument Great Circle “route” in the American southwest, including visits to (pick ‘em) the Grand Canyon, Pertrified Forest, Canyon de Chelly, Mesa Verde, Arches, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef/Escalante, Bryce, Zion and etc.

I am looking to put together a 2 or 3 month long paddling road trip, starting in September as far north as advisable. Having been caught in 3 feet of snow in the Wyoming backcountry in September I’m thinking southern Colorado, Utah, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas, much like the tourist Great Circle route.

Maybe add Vegas at 3:00am.

I have paddled somewhere in all of those States, from trips up into the Grand Canyon on the Colorado from Pierce Ferry to below Hoover on the Colorado to downriver canyons in Big Bend. But I don’t know what I don’t know, evidenced by being in Moab a half dozen times over the past 37 years and never having floated Labyrinth and Stillwater Canyons.

This would be an old man solo in a heavily loaded canoe, so limited to flatwater to Class 1 routes, or very easy carries.

If you could string together a months long trip in the US southwest where would you paddle?
Feb 14, 2013
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Mike, I don't know much about paddling the southwest - although I've seen reference to Topok Marsh near Havasu, which looks interesting (I've been in Havasu in Feb, and the weather's sweet there/then). Thought I'd mention that while Wyoming is dicey in Sept, Southern Idaho has a lot of good cl1/2 water, and the weather is most reliably pleasant during that month. The closer you get to Wyoming, the less that statement holds, though.

Also - the Green in southern Utah is a popular multi-day winter trip. A few locals here have run it early in the year...Seems like Kim (YC) ran it recently? IIRC, she should have some good info.
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