On the Yampa

Tiger Wall on Colorado's Yampa River

By the time this post goes live, I’ll be on the first of two back-to-back trips on the Yampa River in the northwestern corner of Colorado. An amazing winter and cool, late spring has left the Yampa’s headwaters with a whopping 270% of normal snowpack (as of June 5). The river’s been running high, and is likely to peak while we’re on it this week. Breaking the all-time record is not out of the question. So we’re very excited! The Yampa’s is the last major free-flowing tributary in the entire Colorado river system, and is therefore the only place left in the drainage to experience such high-water events. These big spring flows that pulse down its canyon are largely responsible for what ecological integrity remains downstream on the Green River. They help preserve things such as cottonwood reseeding and native fish habitat not only in the Yampa canyon, but all down through Echo Park, the Uinta Basin, Desolation Canyon, Labyrinth, Stillwater and Cataract Canyons, right to the death of all natural flow cycles in Lake Powell. Plus, it’s one of the most beautiful desert river canyons you’ll ever see anywhere!

Expect blog posts to be light for the next couple months. After my two Yampas, I’m off to Idaho for four more river trips, plus possibilities of backpacking and hiking in Idaho, Montana and Nevada. But I’ll try and share a photo or two when I can.

Happy summer!

Morning sun over Mather's Hole on the Yampa River, Dinosaur National Monument, Colorado

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