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Old 01-28-2010   #1
Fort Collins, Colorado
Paddling Since: 08
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 20
Cache La Poudre compared to Arkansas?

I just moved to Fort Collins and I'm looking forward to the coming season.
I spent last summer rafting Arkansas mainly Big Horn, Parkdale, Brown's, and did RG once. I like longer runs with some III/IV- type stuff.

I'm just starting to read up on the Poudre, but not finding alot of details or maps so far. Any recommendations for longer raft runs, is there anything similar to what I'm used to on the Arkansas?

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Old 01-28-2010   #2
kayakfreakus's Avatar
Steamboat, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1999
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 887
I think you will be stoked, run steven's gulch all the way down to the bridges takeout. Nothing but class 4 fun. I think rafts need about 3 or closer to 4 feet on the pineview gauge for the upper sections. Its all roadside so an easy scout, but level dependent on your Ark runs I think they only real looker would be Pineview, but maybe I am sandbagging a bit....

Check out:

Kayaking Information

They break down a lot of the sections I believe.

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Old 01-28-2010   #3
raftus's Avatar
Boulder, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 1,128
At higher flows (like 5 ft) Pineview is IV+ in my book. Several of the upper rapids and Cardiac Corner also rate on the IV scale. At higher flows I have seen carnage and a lack of eddies that can be problematic for flipped rafts/swimmers. Lower flows are boney and technical.

The Poudre is more technical in general than the Ark and generally has a smaller riverbed. Stevens Down is somewhat similar in difficulty to the Royal Gorge.

The upper stuff is good in a raft till about 2.5. The lower stuff is good to about 1.3, but commercial companies push rubber down Bridges to about .7.

You might want to start with Lower Mish and Bridges, although the shuttle mid run is a PIA w/o a shuttle driver.

Clear Creek is also an option that isn't to far away. It has everything from class II/III to class V. It is a smaller riverbed than the Cache La Poudre, and has a great number of rapids per mile.
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Old 01-28-2010   #4
Arkansas during the off-season Nomadic during the summers! :), Arkansas & Colorado
Paddling Since: 2006
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 945
Let me tell you welcome to the north side and I hope you have fun
putin it (raft) in the Poudre.

Stevens down is fun (10ish miles) and below 2.0 you only have to watch out for lower mish in a raft...Hit me up and I'll lead you down.'ll have to put up with some jokes since your riding the Poudre now!
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Old 01-28-2010   #5
Join Date: Sep 2006
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There is also the Upper and Lower Rustic run.
Great fun higher up the canyon. Fifteen miles of class 3 & 4.
In a raft, I like 3.5 ft minimum and the Highway Bridge starts to become a problem at 4.5'.

But between that, it is great fun (if you remember to takeout above Upper Narrows!) and new scenery.
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Old 01-28-2010   #6
lmaciag's Avatar
Lakewood, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2002
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 670
This is the most complete resource to the Poudre that I have found:

A Users Guide to the Wild and Scenic Cache La Poudre River

Quick search found it here:

Cache La Poudre River Guide*::*Jax Mercantile, Co

Upper Mish to BTO is one of my favorite runs.

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover." - Mark Twain
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Old 01-29-2010   #7
Fort Collins, Colorado
Paddling Since: 08
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 20
Thanks for the welcome and notes on the Poudre.
Overall I'm getting a sense that the Poudre is a little less forgiving than the Ark, need to pay closer attention to the levels for each run. That's why I wanted to start reading up now. I hope to get a chance to meet up with some of you this season. I'm running a Jack's plastic 7-person Culebra cataraft as a paddle boat, have taken it in some pretty low water and did not hang up often, may be a good fit for Poudre.
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Old 01-29-2010   #8
Fort Collins, Colorado
Paddling Since: 08
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 20
Thanks, just placed this book on order.

Originally Posted by lmaciag View Post
This is the most complete resource to the Poudre that I have found:

A Users Guide to the Wild and Scenic Cache La Poudre River

Quick search found it here:

Cache La Poudre River Guide*::*Jax Mercantile, Co

Upper Mish to BTO is one of my favorite runs.
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Old 01-29-2010   #9
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Eagle, Idaho
Paddling Since: '78
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 794
As mentioned above....that little river takes on new personalities with every few inches on the Pineview gauge.

Of all the rivers in the state, the Ark and the Poudre is where I've spent the most time.

I feel they're entirely different....they have a different type of "fun factor". The Poudre is awesome. It's just fast and technical...if the water is lower it can be very technical. Above 4' on the gauge and it starts to get REALLY fun and the upper sections are highly recommended....I think upper Rustic is one of the most beautiful sections of the river...lower ain't bad either. But below 3.5' on the rock they get pretty bony.

Fortunately it's almost all roadside and easily scoutable....get out there early with someone that knows the lines before the water gets higher...and get ready for some kick ass continuous fun when the water starts to flow.
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Old 01-29-2010   #10
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This is all good information listed above especially the over looked rustic section. One thing I would like to add is the number of bridges from lower mish down. None of these bridges are a factor except 1 at the middle of bridges section. killer bridge. this is the only bridge i can think of that has wrapped a raft. should be your only problem, this and pine veiw above 3'5 or cardiac corner with a bad line to the left, or the hole at the botom of screaming 1/4 mile in the lower mish. Seriously, you should enjoy it just fine. these sections would be hard to row, the river is not that big. a paddle raft or small oar rig -14' will be fine. it is not common to see an oar rig on the poudre. the upper sections though might be a better option for a oar rig. upper/lower rustic.

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