Streamflow for Colorado River at Colorado/Utah border
The variety of scenery and wildlife on this section of river attracts boaters from all over the country. Most people take three days to float this 26 mile section of river in order to enjoy its beauty. Campgrounds are plentiful and are marked by the BLM with posts so they are easy to locate. At the Loma boat ramp there is a registration book where boaters should sign in and identify which campground they are planning to use. This helps avoid conflict with other groups. The river and canyon is spacious so even on the busiest weekends there is not a feeling of being crowded on the river although the large boat ramp at Loma can be a busy place on a Saturday morning.
All boaters must help to preserve this beautiful section of river. All boaters should be adherents of “Leave no Trace” camping. Fire is real danger. The Cheat grass in the area is highly flammable. Use a firepan, and on windy days don't burn at all. The BLM usually posts signs warning of the current fire danger. BLM regulations require all floaters to carry and use a firepan $25.00, also called an oil drain pan $3.79, and a portable toilet system sometimes called a "groover". Unfortunately, enforcement is difficult. The county sheriff and BLM patrol the river, but the problem is complicated by the fact that many uneducated first time boaters use this river. They need to be educated about the value of using a firepan and toilet system on popular rivers.
Beware of the Spring winds on this stretch of river, especially at Black Rocks where the canyon narrows and increases the velocity of the wind. Many groups have had to pull off the river and wait all day for the winds to subside. Check the weather. The weather service is good at predicting the wind. If they say BREEZY 15 TO 25 MPH out of the southwest, west, or northwest, reconsider your trip. If they predict WINDY 25 TO 35 MPH then you probably want to postpone your trip. A good alternate trip when the wind is blowing is on the Gunnison River from Delta or Escalante to Whitewater or Grand Junction. A headwind on the Colorado River is usually a tailwind on the Gunnison River.
Jetskis are prohibited from using the Loma Boat Ramp.
The left side of the river is a Wilderness Conservation Area.
With all that said, this is still a beautiful river trip. Avoid going on a weekend if you can. But even on weekends it isn't bad because the river is so big and long and the vistas are so vast.
Loma: Exit I-70 at Loma and turn upstream on the frontage road.
Out of town folks might find Colorado River State Park at Fruita a good place to camp and start a Ruby/Horsethief canyon river trip to Westwater, but be sure to stop at the Loma boat ramp to register, especially if you intend to camp in the canyon. Starting at Fruita State Park adds about 4 miles to the trip to Westwater. Exit I-70 at Fruita to go to the Fruita State Park.
One big advantage of using the state park is that your car is much less likely to be broken into while on the river. Auto break ins have been a problem at Loma.
Take the Westwater exit off of I-70 and follow this road about 10 miles to the Westwater Ranger station.
Photos by Jerry Nolan
Photos by Jerry Nolan