Rafting the Yampa River (4) 02-Jun-2022

Day 4: Box Elder #2 Camp to Jones Hole #1 Camp

Today, after rafting the last two miles of the Yampa, we entered the Green River at Echo Park and the start of Whorlpool Canyon. We then followed the Green for a short distance to a camp at Jones Hole #1 – a camp we remember fondly from our journey down the Green in 2019. After setting-up camp, we’d reprise a hike we’d made in 2019 up along Jones Hole Creek to see the Deluge Shelter petroglyphs and pictographs. An added, and new, bonus for us would be a visit to a small, but unique, waterfall in Big Draw. Call it rafting with extras! ๐Ÿ˜ƒ

Morning at Box Elder #2
Loading the rafts
Choppy water on the Yampa
An old wooden ladder from 1955 – a remnant of surveys for the fortunately never built Echo Park Dam
Steamboat Rock at the confluence of the Yampa and Green Rivers
At the confluence: the Green River (G) is noticeably “greener” than the Yampa River (Y)
Cruising past Steamboat Rock
Looking head on at surprisingly narrow Steamboat Rock

We reached Jones Hole in time for lunch and were sitting around afterward waiting to start our hike to the Deluge Shelter. Then a big horn sheep appeared and sauntered through camp to some lush forage near the river. Soon other sheep arrived and started browsing around the camp. We didn’t bother them – except for lots of photos – but they weren’t particularly skittish either. We’ve seen big horns before but never this close. ๐Ÿ˜Š But soon the petroglyphs called and we were off up the creek (so to speak).

Big horn sheep arrive in camp
Crossing Jones Hole Creek at the start of the hike
Past a truly huge bumblebee – at least an inch (2.5 cm) long!
Up the valley
Jones Hole Creek
Dwarf Evening Primrose
Continuing on…
Lush vegetation under blue skies ๐Ÿ˜
On the trail
Arriving at Deluge Shelter – where a slight overhang protects the images from the weather
Pictograph I
Pictograph II
Petroglyph I
Pictograph III – the one often seen in travel brochures
Pictograph IV
Leaving Deluge Shelter

After seeing the art at Deluge Shelter, most of us detoured a short ways up Big Draw to Hidden Falls (official name) or Butt Dam Falls (operational name). Here a small waterfall tumbles over a sandstone ledge. The trick is that the creek has carved a notch in the rock at the head of the falls, one that can be easily dammed by one’s nether regions. So someone sits and dams the falls while another person stands below – then the upper person stands up, releasing a torrent of ice cold water on the person below. It was just warm enough today to make this ice water spritz refreshing. Almost… ๐Ÿฅถ

The falls are released to wash over the lucky ๐Ÿค” recipient below
Heading back

We got back to camp in plenty of time for the traditional last night on the river dinner – which was excellent. We even allowed ourselves the luxury of a campfire managed so as to leave no trace of its existence for future rafters / campers. So, all in all, another great day on the river and on the trail, with marauding wildlife, giant insects, ancient art, and a sporadic waterfall for added excitement. ๐Ÿ˜

Chair and camp fire circle at Jones Hole #1
Sunset at Jones Hole

4 thoughts on “Rafting the Yampa River (4) 02-Jun-2022

  1. Wow, those pictographs are very defined! They must be well protected. I’ve only seen faint ones in Basin & Range NM and Lava Beds NM. Always a cool sight to see!


  2. From my notes on the 2019 trip, the Yampa was “brown and lots of logs” at the confluence (June 10).


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