The mountain folk will call Colorado Springs a terrible place for a kayaker to live.
But for a guy who has to have a job there and is content to paddle once or twice a week, it's pretty good.
The take-out for Royal Gorge (class 4-minus (4)) is 45 minutes from the south end of the Springs, an hour from downtown.
The Pinnacle Rock/Parkdale stetch (class 3, decent play) is directly upstream of the Gorge.
The Numbers (class 4) and Browns Canyon (class 3) are nice runs that are about 2 hours and 15 minutes from the Springs.
All of the runs on the Poudre are about 2.5 hours from Springs.
Foxton and Waterton on the South Platte are about an hour and a half from Springs.
The Pueblo Whitewater Park is pretty good -- it's 45 minutes from the Springs.
There's the Golden whitewater park and the runs on Clear Creek, I guess about an hour and a half to two hours from Springs.
I'm sure there's some class 5 within two hours (Pine Creek, of course, for one, as well as Lake Creek) -- but I don't paddle class 5 (yet).
Really, the runs on the Eagle and Blue are within 2.5 hours (a reasonable day trip as far as I'm concerned).
Really, extending the radius from two hours to 2.5 hours makes a big difference for Springs boaters.
What about 11 mile canyon? That rarely runs but it is pretty cool. Class v at the top, 3-4 all the way down, then ending in a Class 5 plus. I think it only ran 2 summers ago since they were doing work on the dam or something. Great stretch though.
Bailey isn't that far either, and has a pretty long season most years. I used to live in the Springs in the early 90s and I actually took a boating hiatus to climb full-time (less driving). But even if it isn't Steamboat or Durango, the Springs beats the crap out of most cities in the USA if you are the outdoor type.
so if "All of the runs on the Poudre are about 2.5 hours from Springs.", and "There's the Golden whitewater park and the runs on Clear Creek, I guess about an hour and a half to two hours from Springs." then from denver to the Poudre is a half hour to an hour? seems a stretch.
i'm often down on the 'springs. i'll admit that they're worse places to live and if you have to live there then you'll find somewhere to boat. but for god's sake don't move there for the boating! yes the royal gorge and parkdale sections of the ark are kinda close, but beyond that and the pueblo ww park you'll be driving at least two hours. so given that, after work runs aren't feasible. and in the winter the resorts are at least 2 hours off. but like was said if you Have to live there...
2.5 hours to the Poudre may be a stretch, but anyone that takes 2 hrs to get from the Springs to Denver must really like scenic routes.
Realistically, you can get to a lot of places within the 2 hr mark. Overall, the Springs has some really good mtn biking trails. For boating or skiing you're often looking at a 2hr drive. The Pueblo park, the Gorge, and Parkdale are the most notable exceptions
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