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Old 04-18-2007   #1
Redpaddle's Avatar
Newport, Oregon
Paddling Since: 1989
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 206

Which kayak runs in the state are the most overrated both for difficulty and as "classic colorado runs"?

Which are most underrated?

Hate me if you will, but my vote goes to the ark for most overrated "classic run" and the poudre rustic run for unerrated classic.

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Old 04-18-2007   #2
Join Date: Nov 2005
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The ark runs are pretty darn good. I think we get tired of them because we do them so much. Yea, they aren't narrow pristine canyons like the Crystal or the Animas, but that's setting the bar high. Hey, wait, the Royal Gorge is a narrow pristine run.

But, yes, there are other runs that should get as high billing as the Ark. Cross Mountain Gorge gets my vote as underrated.

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Old 04-18-2007   #3
Join Date: Oct 2003
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Originally Posted by basil View Post
Hey, wait, the Royal Gorge is a narrow pristine run.

Have you ever been in the RG? I don't remember it being pristine...
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Old 04-18-2007   #4
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 194
I think by pristine he means photographers, trains, scrap metal, bridges, trams, concrete embankments, tourists and 4 million rafts. No matter, still one of the true CO classics, and not overrated.
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Old 04-18-2007   #5
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Eagle, Idaho
Paddling Since: '78
Join Date: Mar 2006
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Well, I do think the Ark is classic and not entirely overrated, maybe just a little though. Brown's and the Gorge are great runs......and if paddled in the evening when the freight trains of tourist filled rafts aren't running....they're even better. The gnarly debris from decades past kinda adds to the appeal for me.

I'll second Red's underrated vote for Poudre Rustic (upper and lower). Beautiful, very consistent, usually very few peeps.
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Old 04-18-2007   #6
Golden, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1999
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 321
I think clear creek is underrated. Sure its all sharp rock blasted down from the road construction, poluted runnoff from highways mines and towns, CDOT has lined parts of it with attactive concrete walls, and the traffic sucks; But no matter how many times I do it I never really get bored with it. A veriety of runs to choose from, with varying degrees of difficulty, and as long a season as you're liable to find on the front range, other than dam release runs like bailey, make it good all around run.

For overrated I would pick waterton. There's nothing more irritating than the fact that right as the going starts to get interesting, it ends in a Denver Water pond, and then you have to hike you're boat out. I'll do an occasional run at the begining or end of the year when nothing else is going, but its hardly worth the drive.
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Old 04-18-2007   #7
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Seattle, Washington
Paddling Since: 1999
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Yo, I may be biased because I love kayaking. I think that the numbers is without question one of the classic all time class IV runs. Ditto for Brown's as class III. The gorge is an amazing place because of the walls, but it has been basterdized into a cheap amusement park. Imagine that place without it.
I've heard several people ripping on waterton recently and I'm gonna stand up for her. She runs all the time and is a perfect place to bring beginners because if they swim you can get all their stuff at the bottom every time. The glass is half full. Also, the hike out isn't that bad, just make sure you're safe about it. Finally, I like the drive because it's pretty and twisty and everyone can take one car and BS - no shuttle. Also, members of the Mank crew have witnessed a pair of mountain lions drinking during a dusk run.
I don't think clear creek is over-rated, but it's definitely not a classic either. It is what it is - a manky, nasty, fun afterwork special.
The three most underrated runs from the Mank crew are:
3. Escalante - pimp camping, early season, awesome boofs, desert scenery while creeking.
2. Clear creek of the Arkansas - pimp camping, aspen scenery, the most intense class IV moves ever.
1. The Source - it's tight as a....awesome boofs, one car shuttle, in your face action, carnage, non-stop 1 mile adrenaline high. Runs have taken me from 15 minutes to three hours with a big group. Also, you heard it here first - the willows in the top section are gone. Someone went in there last fall and cut them from kickstart to deforrestation. Happy creeking (driving) season!

Also, the best run in CO is the Big South - but everyone already knew that.
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Old 04-18-2007   #8
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Boulder, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2003
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 2,032
This is a hard category because it's hard to come up with a run that you don't like.
I'm going with Brown's Canyon. Don't get me wrong, it's a fantastic run, but this thing is billed as the holy grail of whitewater kayaking in Colorado. Good play at whitewater, but pretty dull at low water, obviously the crowd issue. It's like the Star Wars prequels, good movies, but they could never live up to the hype.

Runner-up: Filter Plant. I know it's a beginner run, but damn, even when I did it as a beginner I sure found it short and boring and it's about the ugliest part of the canyon (relatively speaking of course).

Alto-Alto. Nobody goes there and it's a fun run with continuous whitewater through a beautiful canyon and a wilderness feel.
Runner-up: Lower SBC. Again, not many people seem to talk about or run this section, but it's close to FR and nice wilderness feel with some good whitewater.

In the spirit of keeping the OC alive, how can Escalante be underrated? Every year this creek gets hyped to high hell. Sure it lives up to the hype, but underrated?
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Old 04-18-2007   #9
surrounded by mountains, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1981
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 475
27 years of repeated fun

Especially at 2350 cfs and above ... Granite thru Six is one of the nations "Classics". It is awesome afterwork and weekend fun with the bros ... and promises ear to ear smiles every time. That makes it a classic. The rest of the Ark is not ... as far as I'm concerned.

Under-rated, I think, is the Black Canyon. Most think "The Portage" is not worth it. Wrong! BC is an overnight expedition quality adventure right here in our back yard. (You don't have to set aside two weeks or more and risk dying in a car in a foriegn country.) If you minimize the other protages, a couple and the big one are mandatory, there is some awesome...awesome...awesome class IV, V, and V+ to thoroughly appreciate in an environment that feels like you've escaped the world and have entered heaven. Expeditions are what kayaking is truly rooted in, ... not waiting in line and flopping around down in the tourist lined p-parks.

I would say The Pueblo (yep, I have to include northern NM) is overated ... "Unless" ..., and I mean most perceive it gnar gnar when in fact they are taking out before the last 3/4 mile, ... "Unless" you are running the bottom 3/4 mile to the confluence. Then ... then... it is commands (or die) rating it one of the "classic" high desert class V+ run. That is when it gets away from the road and that, too, is where the epic adventure lies.

The UTB and Embudo, too are the "classics" for that catagory.

Otherwise, the Big South (I saw five Moose in four seprate sightings on my last trip), Upper Animas, OBJ, Bailey, Clear Creek of Ark, Gore, and Cross Mtn, kind of round out the "CO Classics" list.

Lastly, I've got to mention one of my favorite classics ... top to bottom, no portage, @ 1600+ .... the North Fork of the Payette.

Of course, there are many epic creek type runs in CO that are exciting pursuits and many other states that offer as higher or higher quality than many of our runs.. Still, ..."the CO classics"... we are always willing and enthusiastic to return to for a rejuvinating good time. They yeild consistant value to us every time.


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Old 04-18-2007   #10
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Englewood, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1978
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 882
Most Over-Rated: U/L Mish through Poudre Park - I don't recall any class IV other than Pineview even at peak a few years ago, but maybe my memory fails me.

Most Under-Rated: Foxton - the difficulty rating I'm fine with, but it has more hazards than most intermediates would expect on a class III run.

Most Over-Praised: Golden - How many man-made drops? How many with playable features?

Unsung Classic: Cross Mountain Gorge - wilderness canyon, play, boofs, a little hustle at Snakepit...a run that really gets it all done in a short space...would be a must on the list of every boater passing through the state if it was in Kremmling instead of Maybell.

Favorite Run to Hate (tie): SBC and Brown's - we all know why to hate on Brown's. SBC...the wilderness was nice, but other than the dam...thought the rapids were almost wholly unremarkable. That and I once had a guy in our party ferry right above a strainer (after being told not to), go into said strainer, swim, then try to save a (borrowed $120) paddle rather than catch a throw rope while barely clinging to the tree. Got him to shore, chewed him out and never creeked with him again.

Favorite Hard to Get Whitewater: Cherry Creek Hole - when the dam is up and it's been pouring for hours, it's like nothing else. The best wave and hole combo I've ever boated, too bad that is only twice.

Favorite to Merc-Talk: the left line on the stairsteps at Confluence.

Favorite Run to Talk Up to Out of State Boating Friends: Oh-Be-Joyful - beautiful scenery, free camping with the easiest 400 fpm anywhere. Con = a couple big bears last time.

Join up, suckas.

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