Flash Flood Closes Mineral Bottom Road; Affects Canyonlands Canoeists

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Canoeists and sea kayakers planning flatwater fall trips on Labyrinth/Stillwater Canyons of the Green River in Canyonlands National Park might want to start making a change of plans. On Aug. 20, a huge flash flood caused severe damage to the switchbacks on the road leading to Mineral Bottom, making the road impassable as a put-in or take-out….

According to park officials, the White Rim Trail and Shafer Switchbacks are undamaged and will remain open. But Mineral Bottom will probably be closed indefinitely for repair. The closing puts a damper on plans for mountain bikers on the White Rim who rely on the switchbacks to return to their vehicles after completing the 100-mile long loop, as well as boaters who use Mineral Bottom as a take-out and put-in for rafts and kayaks on the Green River stretch..

“Mineral Bottom is the starting location for all of our Stillwater Canyon trips and the pick-up location for all of our Labyrinth Canyon trips,” says Darren Vaughan of outfitter Tex’s Riverways. “The bad news is that this road closure looks like it will take several months to repair and there is no chance that it will be ready for use in 2010. The good news is that we are finding ways to accommodate most if not all of our reservations with minimal disruptions to their planned vacations.”

Private paddlers are having to make adjustments also. “We were planning a five-day canoe trip with a bunch of family members for my dad’s 80th birthday,” says George “J-stroke” Lochhead, who runs the Lochhead Vanilla Company out of Evergreen, Colo. “Now I’m not sure what we’ll do.”

Options include changing itineraries from the Green to float the Colorado to the confluence, or starting higher up on the Green to run both Stillwater and Labyrinth canyons.

For more information, visit the national park service HERE