Originally Posted by ibyakn
Thanks for the beta. New to the area so just trying to figure out where to go for the weekend. Any other thoughts on class IV stuff that doesn't require 3 hours of 4wd shuttling?
Probably only 1 or 1.5 hours of the shuttle is 4wd, the rest is highways and good dirt roads. Gunny Gorge is really a class III run with maybe one class IV rapid, but it is really a beautiful canyon and worth doing. The logistics are tough though and keep a lot of people from doing it or doing it on a regular basis.
At this point in the season there isn't a lot running - mainly the Gunnison, Colorado and Arkansas (low). The Colorado mostly offers class II with a few notable exceptions - Gore canyon (class V and a great classic), Barrel Springs (class v and iv, but quite short), Shoshone (class III, right below Barrel springs, short but fun, you can run laps here or just enjoy a scenic float for as far as you want with numerous takeouts downstream). The Gunnison has the black Canyon (class V with mandatory portages, rarely rafted due to the difficulty of the portages), Gunny Gorge, and the mostly flat water with good fishing until it hits the Colorado. The ark might be your best bet, the Royal Gorge is scenic and has good class III/IV rapids. it is boney and technical at this level but the commercial guys still raft it.
If you haven't checked out eddyflower.com yet they have flows and descriptions of all the runs in CO. Also americanwhitewater.com and southwestpaddler.com are both good resources. And you should invest in a copy of "Whitewater of the Southern Rockies" - Wolverine Publishing climbing and outdoor guidebooks