After work paddling - Mountain Buzz

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Old 02-09-2014   #1
Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2012
Join Date: Feb 2014
Posts: 42
After work paddling


I just moved out to Denver and have some temporary housing, but I'm looking for more long term housing and I want to consider being close enough to a run or play park so I could paddle for a few hours afterwork. I saw Confluence and Union chutes and was told Golden has a nice play park as well.

Are there other options if I'm working in the Denver area? And then what are the flow seasons like? Confluence looks nice and its a great location, but is it too dirty, or is the flow often better at union chutes, etc.

Basically, I want to consider potential post work play and wonder what locals think of the options.

Thanks! Looking forward to my first season out here.

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Old 02-09-2014   #2
adgeiser's Avatar
Denver,, exhaustion
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 579
i live towards the northwest side of town but work out in aurora... i can still easily make it out to clear creek for an afterwork run. just be loaded with your boat and gear and you'll be fine.

clear creek is super easy to get to, but don't rule out boulder creek, the st vrain... or even foxton or bailey (if you run it straight and have friends who can pre set shuttle)
"We should restore the practice of dueling. It might improve manners around here" -Edward Abbey
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Old 02-09-2014   #3
Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2012
Join Date: Feb 2014
Posts: 42
That's great information adgeiser. I appreciate it.

So when it comes to considering living near confluence for the ease of access to a few hours of paddling, your advice makes me lean towards it isn't worth it?

I'm coming from having lived in Reno, Nevada for a bit, where during most of the spring/summer I could work, then walk down to the play park. Instead of expecting the same experience from Confluence here it seems better just to be ready for a ~20-40 minute drive and I'll have better choices?

In case of flame: I'm not comparing Reno and Denver. I came out here for a reason . I'm just trying to make some housing decisions based on what I should expect come spring/summer.
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Old 02-09-2014   #4
KSC's Avatar
Boulder, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2003
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 2,112
I've heard the Reno PP is pretty good. Don't expect the Denver area PPs to be as good. Union is nice when it runs, but it runs infrequently and erratically (many (maybe most?) years it doesn't get to a decent level at all), so certainly don't base your living situation around that.

Confluence really only has good surf features when it gets high from a rain and city runoff (rare). It is ok for taking some paddle strokes, but the water quality is quite poor and while the water quality elicits controversy, most people tend to avoid it for that reason, and the mediocre features.

I think you're on the right track that it's better to just commit to making the drive to a better spot. If you're working in Denver proper, Golden is your spot. Clear Creek tends to have the longest season of the FR creeks. It really has only one working feature, and I find it frustratingly shallow at most flows, but the good playboaters find a way to make it work.

In an average year, expect solid flows for around a month (late may to late June)and good-enough-to-have-some-fun-surfing flows for a month on either side of that. If we have a 1000 year flood, expect some good flows in the fall as well.

Clear Creek also has a good bit of class IV and a tad of V boating above town, which are very doable as an after work runs, if you're into moving downstream.

Lyons used to have a good PP (generally better than Golden) but it was decimated by the floods last year. Time will tell how well it's restored. The Boulder Creek playpark is pretty worthless and it sounds like it will remain so, but the canyon run (IV) and town run (II-III) are fun when it has water. Both creeks almost always have shorter seasons than Clear Creek.

So my advice would be to focus on Golden if you're orienting yourself for the paddling (even if you're orienting yourself for other outdoor pursuits, that's a good spot). If your job takes you farther north, then you might consider the options out that way as well without regret.

The good news is, that snow pack is looking promising so far this season. Hope that helps.
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Old 02-09-2014   #5
Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2012
Join Date: Feb 2014
Posts: 42
KSC, that more than helps. It completely answers my question. I'm excited to have options and the idea of having IV and V's so close is awesome. Thanks for your time!
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Old 02-10-2014   #6
Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2004
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 3,107
Good info above.

My two cents... if you paddle after work... you are typically driving from work to paddling, and then paddling to home. No traffic on the way home typically. I'd plan my housing around where my job was going to be to minimize commute, while maximizing location / housing you can afford etc. If you are close to major arteries like highway 6, I-25, or I-70 or highway 93, you can get around to work and to play easier.

While the front range has many play parks, they are typically not that good in my opinion, but when the creeks are up, the class IV and V creeking is great.

As one of about 5 guys I know who regularly paddle confluence, I can say that it falls into the "one mans trash is another mans treasure" category. Its urban paddling, so its got some crap to deal with, but its a good early season training ground for me to get warmed up for the season. Keep an eye on the gauges... when it rains in town, cofluence has some good features when the water is up.
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Old 02-10-2014   #7
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BZN, Montana
Paddling Since: 2008
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 1,493
Another vote for Golden. Cool town, a place to get wet after work and decent access to a number of other spots.
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Old 02-10-2014   #8
Front Range, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2005
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 75
I'd stay away from the Golden PP if I were you. The micro brews in Golden are gross, and there are way more bikinis at union chutes. Plus, rodeo hole is the worst play spot in Colorado. Believe me I live in Golden and it just isn't worth it!
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Old 02-13-2014   #9
Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2012
Join Date: Feb 2014
Posts: 42
Haha, Justin, sorry for the population increase.

deepsouthpaddler: That's great advice thank you! I locked in some work and was trying to figure out traffic patterns around it. Thanks for the advice I'll definitely use it. I'll be trying to paddle Confluence when it's up, I think. Just to spite the haters and give it a good shot. Hope to see you out there!

Thanks for the advice as well Glenn!
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