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Old 07-03-2008   #1
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 10
Visiting Colorado - What rivers

Myself and a couple buddies are going to visit Colorado beginning on July 14th. We should be around for about 10 days or so. We are looking for great class IV-V creeking. Nothing too hairy but fun. We are from the east and are used to runs like Tallulah, Watauga, Upper Big Creek, Cheoah, and other similar runs.

Anybody have a list of suggestions. We dont mind traveling to different areas of the state. I understand some runs are a bit on the high side now.

Any help is greatly appreciated

Drew Armstrong

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Old 07-03-2008   #2
oh yeah
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 535
just creeks or some rivers? your best bet is to pick a general location or two and not drive across the state too much. maybe start on the front range near denver and then come to salida. or start in salida and then drive to gunnison/ crested butte. or move across I-70 east to west. imagine driving east from colorado and boating for ten days in maryland, west virginia, virginia, north carolina, and kentucky. just too much for ten days.
i'd go w/ the denver/ front range and salida areas if this is your first time and maybe finish in crested butte. on the front range you have the clear creek and sections of boulder creek. then moving south hit bailey before dropping into the ark valley. the ark has the clear creek of the ark, pine creek and the numbers and lake creek if you're feeling saucy. then it's ~2 hrs to crested butte for all of its steepness.


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Old 07-03-2008   #3
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Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 557
i would definitely hit bailey, clear creek, and Lower south boulder creek on the front range, then maybe head to the numbers. it's always great to go to durango. upper animas and Lower cascade creek are great.
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Old 07-03-2008   #4
Mad Scientist/Creeker
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Um. Big South. Poudre over the Ark any day.
Evan Stafford
Cub boater: "What do the spiders mean?" Old fart boater: "Trust your intuition." CRCII
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Old 07-04-2008   #5
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 10
This sounds good. Now, how easy is it to find boaters in these areas?

Drew A
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Old 07-04-2008   #6
H2 Hoes
Kayak, Colorado
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 107
crested butte hit dasie creek
West Slope
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Old 07-07-2008   #7
Clemson, South Carolina
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 16
we will be out there at the same time...

were leaving from greenville sc the 9th and will be out there until the 20th. feel free to give us a call if you want to hook up. were kinda doing the same thing and just "wingin it." but would love shuttle and maybe a few more in the crew. we were plannin on doing the crested butte area, big south, clear/lake creek, vallaceto....maybe a few others.
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Old 07-07-2008   #8
mountains, Colorado
Paddling Since: '92
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 418
Originally Posted by RiverWrangler View Post
Um. Big South. Poudre over the Ark any day.
I totally agree. The Ark valley has over 100 miles of paddle-able river going up to class V. It can be a bit overwhelming. You should stay on the front range where you can get that big-city colorado feel.
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Old 07-07-2008   #9
Mad Scientist/Creeker
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huh? big city feel on the poudre?
Evan Stafford
Cub boater: "What do the spiders mean?" Old fart boater: "Trust your intuition." CRCII
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Old 07-07-2008   #10
Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2004
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 3,097

There will still be water mid July, but some things will be tapering off. Best bet is to get the whitewater of the southern rockies guidebook and start checking flows to see what things are doing. A gauge check when you get here can get you headed in the right direction.

If you plan your itenerary well, you can hit many different rivers, stay in one area for a couple days and keep drive times to 2-3 hours between areas. I wouldn't shy away from getting after it to see the best co has to offer

Around the denver area, bailey is one of the best IV/V creeks. Its flows are augmented by releases and it has been running at a great level. Blackrock section of clear creek is good start to the trip if you arrive in denver on the road trip. Also keep an eye on the big thompson if flows stay in the 400ish range. Good fun!

In the arkansas drainage, clear creek of the ark is great fun, but it might be too low when you get here. Either way, a run down the numbers to get a feel for some standard colorado class IV would be good.

Keep an eye on the roaring fork below maroon creek gauge for slaughterhouse / castle creek. Its a hop over independence pass from the ark and its fun IV+ creek into IV river near aspen. Good if the flows are over 1000, the more the better.

Crested butte is colorado waterfall central. Flows may be too low by then. Check mountainbuzz for visuals.

Durango area would be good as well. Cascade creek through upper animas would be a good bet.

Big South will be running then and its widely recognized as one of the best runs in CO. Its long and would be much easier with a guide. You can walk some big rapids and make it a top notch IV+/V day.

Finding partners may be more difficult during the week. Weekends should be no problem. Posting on mountainbuzz in the trip planner a couple days ahead could hook you up with folks.

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