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Does anyone have an opinion on the Upper Eagle vs. the Lower Eagle? I'm interested in which is easier, more fun, etc. Also what it's like at these levels (high)? The books say they are class III.....would you agree?

I'm taking some people down who can paddle (class II+ paddlers) but are not great. And they will be in duckys.

If anyone has any info. they can pass along or has run either of these recently it would be much appreciated. Thanks!:-D
 

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I would say take them to the Upper C. The Eagle (Upper & Lower) is no place for "not great" class II paddlers right now. We ran Edwards to Eagle yesterday. It was great fun but definately some good Class III rapids at this level.
 

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If you put in at kayak crossing you will have a big drop 3/4 mile above avon WW park. Visible from my parking lot at mountainstream condos. Run left. THen WW park has a big playhole below the avon bridge may flip duckie(or whatever you r paddling) if you run middle. FRom avon thru edwards is good read and run class III with the edwards mile at the end long and cold if you swim but straight forward. dont let up past bridge the main drop is still to come. Trestle rapid is at wolcott and is a fun wavetrain. Dress warm its cold and swims are a drag.\
Tom
 

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Eagle at high water with inexperienced boaters in duckies is asking for trouble. At a minimum you will likely have lots of swims and potentially lost gear. I'd say pumphouse or the colorado from grizzly to glenwood would probably make better novice runs at current flows.

If you are determined to go to the eagle, the lower eagle is not as steep as the upper eagle, so it would be mellower.
 

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blow by blow on the eagle

all descriptions based on experiences in the past few years and highest flow i ran of 3600cfs, i have not made the runs this year.

the upper section will be much more challenging than the lower at current flows. if you put in below dowd chute at the "kayak something apartments" bus stop, it is very continuous class III+/IV- from there to avon, and then mellows some below avon. the last rapid of consequence, the edwards mile, will be approaching IV- at these flows, and is long with some sizeable holes to avoid - a long swim can result if separated from your boat and it may be difficult to chase down gear from another ducky. beware that there is a second part of this rapid below the edwards access road bridge (between I70 and Hwy6), so don't let your guard down too early. the take out for upper and put in for lower are generally the same, and located at the western end of edwards, just off hillcrest drive by the wastewater treatment plant.

the lower run has one IIIish large wave train rapid just below hillcrest drive adjacent to the new vail christian school site, then it is somewhat mellow down to wolcott. trestle rapid is III+ just downstream of the Hwy131 bridge in wolcott, and starts when the river goes under a RR bridge, eddy out on river right and scout from the unused RR bridge and tracks on river left below the bridge. trestle can be tricky at the entrance, as a rockslide deposited some large boulders just downstream of the bridge limiting the choices for where to go under the bridge (far river right IMO). it also has a couple large holes at the end, so walk all the way down to get a look at them. below trestle is a II+ wave train, then another RR bridge, and then the BLM campground and boat ramp. after that is the I70 bridge over the river, and interstate rapid which is fairly easy III. after interstate rapid, the river will cross to the south side of hwy 6 under a bridge, and there are some II+ wave trains for a while at higher flows. a little further down is dead cow rapid, a III+ that has a couple large holes capable of eating a ducky marked with a big irrigation diversion channel & structure on river right. scout this before hand by parking at a long pull off on hwy 6, and walking over a somewhat bare dirt mounded hill between the road and the river. a short rapid, but look for a large hole near the top, and one near the bottom, with the easiest line being the sneak down the river right side (IMO) to miss them both. several miles down to the town of eagle, with one wave train rapid by the common take out at the rest area/historical museum, or the significant rodeo rapid (solid IV, lots of sharp rocks) that is alongside the fairgrounds before getting to the final take out option by a foot bridge at the west end of the fairgrounds (before the new event center building).

for your ducky friends, i would suggest going from west edwards at hillcrest drive to the hwy 131 bridge at wolcott (a partial run of the lower eagle). there are some small eddies you need to scout when you set your shuttle just below and after the hwy 131 bridge on river left, and a quick scramble up the bank to a roadside parked car. if you scout trestle and want to run it, then you could use the BLM boat ramp for take out. if you want to also include interstate and dead cow, i would take out just below dead cow by leaving a car at the dead cow pull off from hwy 6. you can eddy out on river right below dead cow, and bush whack a few feet back to the road (i have done this previously with kayaks fairly easy). limited take out options below dead cow b/c of private property, until you get to eagle. if you run rodeo, take a close look as this is where an outfitter dumped almost 20 people and wrapped a raft on the pedestrian bridge earlier this year. i would not suggest running rodeo in your ducky. after that it is all the way to gypsum, or down to the colorado and glenwood canyon.

if your ducky pals are only II+, then stay off the upper eagle and scout carefully what you run on the lower eagle - there are still some sizeable rapids to account for below edwards. as another person posted, the upper colorado may be a ducky friendly choice, only about a 1/2 hour drive from wolcott. run the rancho del rio (pay at rancho, or use free road bridge just below rancho as put in) to state bridge section multiple times, or pumphouse down to state bridge for a longer day (with lots of flat water though). RR is in use here, so stay off tracks adjacent to river.
 

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What Deepsouth said.

There is one 5-6 mile section of the eagle for your group. Edwards Water Treatmetn plant (lake creek condos) to Wolcott. Takeout at the Wolcott Yatch Club (deli at the hwy 131 bridge)....or scout the trestle rapid for a challenging (swimming) end to the trip and takeout at the campground along hwy 6 (just below the railroad Trestle)
 

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A little outta the Way....but

For class II+ boaters I would Highly suggest the Lower Taylor in Almont, just outside of Gunnison.
And you could easily make it a longer float by continuing on the Gunnision river.

It's has just enough technical maneuvers to keep you on your toes, while also being somewhat forgiving.
Be heads up for the occasional strainer, all pretty obvious as of 2 days ago. Read and run.

Obviously, anywhere you paddle, there are never any guarantees.
My closest friend's brother died in a ducky on Pumphouse only 2 weeks ago,
and despite previous posts, he was super fit and an aggressive swimmer.
Rest in Peace Justin....

In my opinion, Class I-V all deserve RESPECT!

~Julie
 

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THe lower blue is up. maybe a nick easier than the eagle but very scenic and fun whitewater. Still cold though. I was runing that my first year boating with good success. THe wall at highwater is always fun
 

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What RIVER DOG and Endomadness said is pretty accurate.Edwards to Wolcott is pretty easy unless it is really high eg 2+.Edwards Mile is really fun to ducky at say 2000+ but definetly not for a 2+ boater it is easy 4 and you could swim a ways.Trestle is maybe too hard also,the rest of lower is fine unless it's crankin'.If you have to run something easy and then you want a little more for you put in at the rest area in Eagle and bomb down the fast wave train and around the corner are 2 or 3 ledge drops its good 3 maybe easy 4 at high flows,take out behind the rodeo arena or just past it,short but fun.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thanks for all of the great info. I think we may try the pumphouse run and wait just a bit for the eagle to drop.
 

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i agree with the others about the section just before the eagle and colorado confluence

go from lyons gulch (or higher) to the I-70 bridge at Dotsero. This is by far the best stretch of novice near the eagle sections you are talking about.
 

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I may be interested in doing pumphouse Saturday so I can check it out for my wife next time.
 
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