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Old 07-27-2010   #1
OlyPen, Washington
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 85
Good place for learning in mid-late-summer?

I have a lot of lake and some ocean paddling experience, including what I can now say is a real roll (what some call a combat roll). But I'm flummoxed by trying to find a suitable place near Denver to practice in moving water, without having to rely on shuttles. I don't even care if it's WW or simply moving water--just a place where I can work on technique, timing, finesse.

The places I've heard about over and over again are Union Chutes and Confluence Park, which I avoid due to water quality or lack thereof.

Have done some practice at Clear Creek park and like it well enough. But it's really shallow in the low-flow season. Is there anything similar that has deeper water not just in the holes but in the river overall?

It could be a lake with an inlet with enough flow for eddies to form; I don't mind paddling to get to the practice area. I also don't mind carrying the WW boat a short ways. Just no shuttle requirement, please.

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Old 07-27-2010   #2
kayakfreakus's Avatar
Steamboat, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1999
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 887
Getting late in the season for deeper water, but do have some dam fed options:

You could do stretches on Deckers/Chutes that would fit your bill:


Go above the main rapid of the chutes and there are plenty of places to work on eddy lines and moving current. Its all road side so float what you are willing to walk back up. Little low right now but its dam fed.

Could also probably isolate a few stretches on Foxton below the boulder garden which is flowing as of today, might not be tomorrow. Same thing, find a stretch that looks suitable and float as much as your willing to walk. Just make sure to do a good scout to know whats around the bend:


Maybe even just do the top section of Waterton before entrance exam for some moving water, trail to hike out.

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Old 07-27-2010   #3
JeremyTheMonster's Avatar
Your Mom!, Colorado
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 69
I've had exactly the same problem, and finally just resorted to driving up to Glenwood Springs and running Shoshone & Grizzly -> Two Rivers Park. The Grizzly -> Two Rivers is a few miles and generally deep enough and moving the whole way, so you can practice moving water rolls to your heart's content... but yes, requires shuttling. I'm lucky, we do it with 3x boaters, and just take turns shuttling using one car. Drive up early, make a day of it, get a few runs in.

I've also done the spot in the Platte about 3/4 mile below Confluence, but the water is probably too low by now and it's always kind of cesspool-like. There's a spot at the bottom of those 5 or so features under the overpass that's just a tiny wave, flow and eddy. So you can practice peeling out of the eddy, into the flow, roll, rinse, repeat. And you can run the features over and over again with minimal walking back up to the top. Then make sure you do a nice good scrubbing of your gear and get a vitamin and antibiotic panel in you pronto. The Platte is extraordinarily disgusting.

And /agree, Golden PP is too low and once it's roasty in June-August, you dodge too many swimmers/tubers/idiots/kids.

I know that's not super helpful, but I'd be very interested in find out from the pros around here what their thoughts/tips/tricks are for places that aren't as far as Glenwood Springs (from Denver) and moving/deep enough water to practice rolls.
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Old 07-27-2010   #4
OlyPen, Washington
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 85
Thanks for the suggestion re: Deckers. That's not far from home, and I remember biking along the river so should be scoutable from the road.

Jeremy, I'm glad I'm not the 1st one who's wondered the same thing. I actually paddled Grizzly-Two Rivers Park section in a sea kayak, years ago, and during high flows. Not saying it was a SMART thing to do, though I got through it without mishap. But I really, really want to get good control, not just make it through. Which is why I don't mind if it's not WW per se. Baby steps are fine with me, no concerns with machismo here.

Your comments about South Platte cesspool sections confirms my desire to stay away from those!

I wonder if Gross Reservoir where the river enters is suitable? They have a no-body-contact rule, though.
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Old 07-27-2010   #5
JeremyTheMonster's Avatar
Your Mom!, Colorado
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 69
Deckers is a good idea. I watch the water for Chutes every day, and the drive/location is just right. I tried it last summer, probably around mid-August and the water was just too low, other than directly at the bottom of Chutes. It was kind of runnable, but not rollable. I've only seen that area a couple of times and both were around 200-250cfs... I think it's considerably better at 350+?
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Old 07-27-2010   #6
glenwood springs, Colorado
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 46
Grizzly is good for baby steps now, for sure. Took my 6 year old for his first run down there last week ... 4 combat rolls, serious vertical air while attempting to surf ... nothing to worry about. My 8 & 10 year olds run it to practice surfing moves and Shoshone, never an easy easy swim, but the best of the best in GWS to muster the courage than lives deep down inside of ya!! )
"Living Life to the Extreme"
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Old 07-27-2010   #7
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 179
Pueblo play park hands down.

Big pools to catch all your gear in.
I peed in your pool. Yayyyyy!
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Old 07-27-2010   #8
RandyP's Avatar
Westminster, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2002
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 152
If you go to golden play park and walk your boat up river to where 6th ave crosses the creek there is a nice deep pool there! It's got a good flow and you can practice ferrying from one side to the other! It's part of the area created for fish habitat and remains fairly deep most the time!
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Old 07-27-2010   #9
OlyPen, Washington
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 85
Randy, I'm pretty sure I know the spot you described. Someone else told me he liked to practice there but I've never heard anyone else talk about it. Might be just that most don't want to walk the extra bit. I'll check it out next time for sure. Thanks!
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Old 07-30-2010   #10
novang, novang
Paddling Since: nova
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 1
good idea

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