There are some falls west of I-70 that don't look too friendly. From there down it could be done if no strainers are there. My wife and I thought of doing that when we lived right off the greenway but never did it. Not much for eddies and high water but you can scout pretty much all from the bike path and or trails next to the river. Probably down to Kipling and then after that... not sure.
Geezer;s right about the falls west of I-70. Don't put in above I-70.
Here's the Beta on the "Wheat Ridge Daily." This is written from a rafter's perspective, it'd be a fun float in a kayak or ducky that's very close. I wrote this a year ago and haven't ridden my bike down there yet this year looking for wood or any changes.
First, lower your expectations and remember that you're doing greenbelt boating through an urban area - its close, easy to get to, and there's one Class III drop on the section from I-70 to Tennyson. It ain't wilderness canyon boating....
Second, check out Clear Creek below Golden on Google Earth and pan your way downstream. You'll need to zoom out to get the street names and then zoom back in to see the Clear Creek. The aerial photos currently used were taken in the spring or early summer when there was a good flow in Clear Creek (I'd guess about 400 cfs at Golden), so you can see the rapids along the reach pretty well.
Its fun and not nearly as foul as the Urban S. Platte. There's a little park on the NE side of Kipling where you can launch just below the bridge. Between Kipling and Wadsworth has swift current with a few little rapids and a fun glassy 8' drop structure (Class III hit, "The Big Kahuna") that ends in a little wave train and tries to bounce you off a grassy bank on right side at the bottom. Most times I've run this someone's been thrown out of their seat. This is just below the 44th ave bridge and should be scouted. You'll see a major horizon line, take out on River L in the tall grass to to scout about 20 yds above the drop. You'll need someone to jump onto the shore and hold the boat before pulling it up. You can also scout by driving to it and going down a little walkway to the greenbelt.
The drop at Wadsworth is shallow, sloping concrete studded with sharp rocks for aereation, and has a big hole that may be a keeper and could surf & flip you for a nasty swim through sharp rocks so be prepared to scout it and portage there. There's a bona-fide boat ramp at the little park on River R about 100 yds above the drop where you can eddy out and go scout the portage/drop from the bikepath. If the nasty aereation drop structure section has enough water to be runnable, the hole will be huge and could likely hold and flip you. You can portage easily from River R. just above the nasty drop by getting out and walking about 50 ft to a tiny eddy put-in alongside the hole, then take off, starting just on the upstream side of the Wadsworth bridge, back into the best section of rapids on the run. There's a little lateral that will surf you over to the center of the channel which is where you want to be going under the bridge. Run down about 20' out from the long wall along these rapids and look for fun hits. There'll be another fun rapid on a left hand turn about 1/4 or 1/2 mile below the Wadsworth interchange. Look for a place where the bikepath (on R Right) rises above the creek and has a chain link fence. There's a fun hit in the center of this section. There's also a drop structure with a center run chute just below a street bridge.
Take out just on RR just after the white suspension bikepath bridge at Sheridan. There's a parking area on the north side of the suspension bridge, have your buddy go get the car while you roll the boat, and drive to the gate on the bottom of the Sheridan to I-76W onramp. Below Sheridan, there's a wastewater treatment plant outfall that stinks up the creek. If you can deal with this, continue on downstream.
If you want to go further, you can take out at Tennyson on R Right about 10 yds before the bridge, scout this if you do it because there's an unrunnable concrete slab debris seive mess at immediately below the Tennyson bridge - you'll see it from the bridge - don't try running it - if you've seen it at low water you'll know why. There's also a sewer outfall between Sheridan and Tennyson that makes the creek much more foul. I'm not sure about what's below that to the confluence with the S. Platte but Google Earth aerials look like more ugly drop/aeration structures that are probably not runnable.
Between I-70 and Kipling there are some fun-looking rapids but I've yet to run them. At high water there'll be a mandatory portage at Kipling or a really hairy float under the low bridge there.
I have run Clear Creek at least 6 times in a ducky on the Wheat Ridge daily that Andy describes, and I agree with all the cautions and encouragements. Ride the path first, look for strainers and shopping carts, etc., and rocky stretches. You can do the scout as a part of a nice bike shuttle and everything you need to see is visible from the path or with a short walk through the weeds.
I do the Youngfield (east of I-70) to Tennyson stretch. I portage at Kipling (bridge) and again 1/4 mile west of Wadsworth (drop structure) and again at Wadsworth. All runnable at the right levels, and the "narrows" east of Wadsworth are fun with sufficient water. Another small ledge rapid about 1/2 way between Wads and Sheridan.
At the right level, this is a fun creek run with lots of birds, wildlife and very enjoyable stretches. The drops are runnable at the best levels (600-700 cfs). But definitely scout, even if you've been there before. Things can get a bit thin under the boat and strainers can fall in at any time. You can go under the Kipling bridge at less than 700, but it can be a bit scary. Scout.
Do not go past Tennyson. Nasty junk pile.
This is creek running. Rocky, with sweepers on the shore, narrow, braided channels, and some quick decision making required. Still, a fun urban oasis, easy after work float, and surprisingly wild in some stretches.
I have ran this run many times in a ducky or the last couple years. I put in at Youngfield and take out at Marshall. The only section in there that I would recommend taking out for is right before Wadsworth. I tried to run this drop last year and the big wave at the bottom slammed me into the wall which caused me to puncture the side tube on my ducky. The drop after 44th is a lot of fun but make sure you run it right down the middle.
If it the flow isn't very high, you will drag bottom on the way down. I have run it as low as 350 and been fine. I always lay down in the ducky when going underneath Kipling. If you are claustrophobic or have a huge fear of spiders, I would recommend you portage here. A friend and I are running it tomorrow (5/18/09) at around 4 to 4:15 if you are interested.
......A friend and I are running it tomorrow (5/18/09) at around 4 to 4:15 if you are interested.[/quote]
I looked at some sections last night and there is a lot of wood in the water (stumps, sweepers, log jams against bridges). Looks a little gnarlier than in past years. Scout it.
There is a big stump below Marshall, a sweeper log jam on the left side of the 52nd bridge (run right), and big log jam blocking the "Wadsworth ramp" across the entire middle of the river. Don't know what's up in other sections.
Be safe. Have fun. 4:00 Monday is a little too early for me.
If you see someone out there in an ancient Riken Cherokee (red/blue) say hello!
After the death dam at Lowell, there is actaully a fun section of boogy class 3 to the foot bridge. After that, its melow. Before Pecos, there is a the famous "El Bronco" hole followed by the water fall dam after pecos, shopping cart falls. Trash hole, trashy falls. I have seen tubers in these parts. I live near the creek and ride the path often. At 1000 scfs, these sections are cranking. The sections from Marshell up to Kipling, the drops are doable, but the danger is hidden trash/strainers.
From I-25 to the confluence of S. Platte and CC there is a hand full of sluice drops that are runnable. One is a reall trashy dam that I would walk.
Believe it or not, actaully some fun class 2 drops from 72 to 88th on the S, Platte. Great for learing or open boating. I have scouted these areas alll all CFS levels...
We ran from just above Kipling bridge to Sheridan and other than a few strainers, the run was great. We ran the dam area that's 1/4 mile west of Wadsworth but portaged the Wadsworth bridge area...just alot of junk and unknown in there. We put in right below the bridge and has some great waves all the way down to Sheridan. There was a log jam blocking the way above the suspension bridge at Sheridan so we had to take out a little above it.
Overall a great mellow trip...thanks for all the input. We saw 3 ducks floating down as well.
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