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Old 04-07-2004   #1
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 8
C-470 to Confluence questions

Anyone know where I can find some info on the C-470 to confluence run? If not, any suggestions about any of the concrete chutes that should be portaged at current levels? Info on the dam with no apparent non-portaging way around it? How long does it take on average? Help is much appreciated. Also, any beginners up for doing the run on Saturday or Sunday?

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Old 04-07-2004   #2
Join Date: Oct 2003
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I am not in Denver right now, but i get out of school on april 30. so i will be wanting to do that run then.

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Old 04-08-2004   #3
Andy H.'s Avatar
Wheat Ridge, Colorado
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I floated below C-470 a few years ago on lower water and found it to be a very pleasant afternoon for kids. There's nothing other than some mellow drop structures until you get to the Union Chutes. There's also more wildlife and green banks than you'd expect.

I'm not sure what's between Union and the Zuni Power Plant but there is a LETHAL LOW HEAD DAM at the Zuni Power Plant where 13th crosses. You'll see a wooden landing on river left just above the river-wide horizon line - get out there and use the bikepath to portage past some nasy rocks and an abandoned boat chute across from the power plant.

The inflatable dam at Zuni is slated for removal when the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) and City/County of Denver get around to restoration of this, the last unboatable reach of the urban South Platte. The questions is whether and how, in this era of decreased government revenues (the tax thing again), the Federal government is will come up with the $$ to finish the river restoration project through the Metro Denvr area. That reach may have some potential for creative boulder placement in the area of Zuni.

Nothing in the world is more yielding and gentle than water. Yet it has no equal for conquering the resistant and tough. The flexible can overcome the unbending; the soft can overcome the hard. - Lao Tse
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Old 04-08-2004   #4
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 388
I've done Union Chutes-Confluence. I don't think it is as pretty as C-470 to Union Chutes. There is one 6 foot drop with a boat chute. It's an easy straight shot, but it's a little hairy. The Zuni dam is easy to spot and easy to make the portage. The hydraulics may be dangerous at 1000+ cfs, but it looks like the rocks at the bottom are the bigger danger.

C-470-Confluence will take a long time with only 300 cfs.

If you are looking for a pretty early season run, also consider the S Platte North of Denver. More info at or

A better pretty float trip is the Deckers run near Conifer. It's only 50 minutes from Denver
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Old 04-08-2004   #5
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I bike the greenway from union chutes to Confluence all the time and I swear there were a few more portages than that. Granted I am a total newby kayaker but I'm fairly sure I've seen some rock filled chute behind a golf course. Still everything looked easily portageable. I've also heard too many stories about the last drop at union ripping off peoples booties and other such things that I think I might skip it for a while. Plus in low water it just looks ugly. I did union chutes the other day when it was at like 375 and pretty much swam most of it. It was still fun. Anyways I live pretty close to uninon chutes, and I'm moving right next to them next saturday so I'll pretty much run that anytime. I'd rather run deckers if you are interested.
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Old 04-08-2004   #6
Join Date: Oct 2003
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Yes, there are quite a few rock-cement dams along the way, but they all have boat chutes.

Yea, the lowest drop at Union Chutes funnels into a nice wave, but it's no problem if you enter it straight.
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Old 04-08-2004   #7
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A complete list of the drops from c470 to Confluenza

okay... here it is.. (I actually use to paddle this 3 to 4 times a week when it ran)

DROP 1: Put-in C-470 & Santa Fe, just west of Santa Fe there's a turn-off for a small park on the North side. The first drop is at the put in, a man-made structure that drops about 5 ft. If the flow is over 500, it forms a nive wavetrain, but beware the rocks at the bottom of the hole.

DROP 2: The next drop is about 50 yds downstream, nothing much there.

DROP 3, 4,: Again, nothing much there

DROP 5: Mineral Ave. another no-brainer


1st Double Drop: River right, after a lot of flatwater, you'll come to the first of 3 man-made double drops. At the bottom of the first one, watch for a pronounced offset V-wave at high flows (600+ cfs), if you get rolled in here, you'll need stiches.

2nd Double drop: River left, 75 yds downstream. It's an S-turn right on this one, watch for the rock at the bottom. a nice surf are at the bottom at high flows.

3rd Double Drop: River right, nothing special, just watch the rocks.

BOWLES to BELLEVIEW: Flat flat flat just like the Platte

UNION CHUTES: Maybe cleaner than Confluenza, maybe not. Watch out for the last drop, sticky sticky at high flows (1,200+)

OXFORD AVE. to HAMPDEN: one or two interesting spots, it gets thin at Hampden Ave, stay river left under the bridge and watch out for the idiots who throws things off it.

HAMPDEN to EVANS: One nice drop by the power plant.

EVANS to FLORIDA: Ok, here is where you can get into real trouble. At flows of 800+ cfs, there is a boat drop channel river left. It is hard, fast, and furious. I've ran it at 2,500 cfs, it will eat you up and bash you at the bottom if you're not careful. Lots of hidden rocks and possible pin structures at high flow.

FLORIDA to ALAMEDA: 4 drops, center, left, right, center, in that order.

ALAMEDA to 13th AVE: Right below the office of the Denver Water & Sewage is a man-made triple drop structure on river right. This is one of those funny drops. It drop in 3 distinct place a total of 17 ft over 40 yds. At high flows (1,200+), I would highly recommend you be very very careful. There are hidden obstacles of the iron variety in the 2nd drop. They will hurt you. I have ran it at 2,500 cfs and it gets a monster V wave in the 2nd drop. If you blow the 2nd drop, the 3rd drop will eat you up.

13th AVE to CONFLUENZA: Portage the dam, those rocks bite. I have launched off the dam after some serious scouting at different flow levels. But I would not recommend it.

You're on your own after this....
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Old 04-08-2004   #8
Join Date: Oct 2003
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I did union to confluence last year out of boredom. It did not fix my boredom problem. It took about 3 hours and was mostly flatwater. Very long and tedious. The drops that we did encounter werent that great. It was at about 200 so maybe at higher flows it would be better. I wouldnt do it again though. Just my $.02
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Old 04-08-2004   #9
pnw, Washington
Join Date: Oct 2003
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Deckers would probably be a better run but is running at 45 cfs and didnt run last year till something like August.

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