blow by blow on the eagle
all descriptions based on experiences in the past few years and highest flow i ran of 3600cfs, i have not made the runs this year.
the upper section will be much more challenging than the lower at current flows. if you put in below dowd chute at the "kayak something apartments" bus stop, it is very continuous class III+/IV- from there to avon, and then mellows some below avon. the last rapid of consequence, the edwards mile, will be approaching IV- at these flows, and is long with some sizeable holes to avoid - a long swim can result if separated from your boat and it may be difficult to chase down gear from another ducky. beware that there is a second part of this rapid below the edwards access road bridge (between I70 and Hwy6), so don't let your guard down too early. the take out for upper and put in for lower are generally the same, and located at the western end of edwards, just off hillcrest drive by the wastewater treatment plant.
the lower run has one IIIish large wave train rapid just below hillcrest drive adjacent to the new vail christian school site, then it is somewhat mellow down to wolcott. trestle rapid is III+ just downstream of the Hwy131 bridge in wolcott, and starts when the river goes under a RR bridge, eddy out on river right and scout from the unused RR bridge and tracks on river left below the bridge. trestle can be tricky at the entrance, as a rockslide deposited some large boulders just downstream of the bridge limiting the choices for where to go under the bridge (far river right IMO). it also has a couple large holes at the end, so walk all the way down to get a look at them. below trestle is a II+ wave train, then another RR bridge, and then the BLM campground and boat ramp. after that is the I70 bridge over the river, and interstate rapid which is fairly easy III. after interstate rapid, the river will cross to the south side of hwy 6 under a bridge, and there are some II+ wave trains for a while at higher flows. a little further down is dead cow rapid, a III+ that has a couple large holes capable of eating a ducky marked with a big irrigation diversion channel & structure on river right. scout this before hand by parking at a long pull off on hwy 6, and walking over a somewhat bare dirt mounded hill between the road and the river. a short rapid, but look for a large hole near the top, and one near the bottom, with the easiest line being the sneak down the river right side (IMO) to miss them both. several miles down to the town of eagle, with one wave train rapid by the common take out at the rest area/historical museum, or the significant rodeo rapid (solid IV, lots of sharp rocks) that is alongside the fairgrounds before getting to the final take out option by a foot bridge at the west end of the fairgrounds (before the new event center building).
for your ducky friends, i would suggest going from west edwards at hillcrest drive to the hwy 131 bridge at wolcott (a partial run of the lower eagle). there are some small eddies you need to scout when you set your shuttle just below and after the hwy 131 bridge on river left, and a quick scramble up the bank to a roadside parked car. if you scout trestle and want to run it, then you could use the BLM boat ramp for take out. if you want to also include interstate and dead cow, i would take out just below dead cow by leaving a car at the dead cow pull off from hwy 6. you can eddy out on river right below dead cow, and bush whack a few feet back to the road (i have done this previously with kayaks fairly easy). limited take out options below dead cow b/c of private property, until you get to eagle. if you run rodeo, take a close look as this is where an outfitter dumped almost 20 people and wrapped a raft on the pedestrian bridge earlier this year. i would not suggest running rodeo in your ducky. after that it is all the way to gypsum, or down to the colorado and glenwood canyon.
if your ducky pals are only II+, then stay off the upper eagle and scout carefully what you run on the lower eagle - there are still some sizeable rapids to account for below edwards. as another person posted, the upper colorado may be a ducky friendly choice, only about a 1/2 hour drive from wolcott. run the rancho del rio (pay at rancho, or use free road bridge just below rancho as put in) to state bridge section multiple times, or pumphouse down to state bridge for a longer day (with lots of flat water though). RR is in use here, so stay off tracks adjacent to river.