Upper Colorado river

I am going to Denver for business and a few buddies and I wanted to do a 2 night canoe trip. I was looking at the upper Colorado because it looks like only a couple hours away and looks like some great canoeing. Any suggestions or recommendations.

Upper C

– Last Updated: Aug-01-12 9:32 AM EST –

edit: -- site wouldn't let me use the URL, so I had to delete it - just google as per below:

well, that's a long URL - if it doesn't work, just google for - BLM Upper Colorado River guide and you should be able to find it (PDF file you can print out)

there's a couple of changes/new putins - Eagle County has purchased a couple of parcels along the river and the "State Bridge" put in is now run by the BLM, and there is a new putin called "Twin Bridges" at Bond.

how are your WW skills? - much of the Upper C is Class II sections (pool and drop, not too intense or continuous for the most part) with a couple of CIIIs - one on the 5 mi run between Pumphouse and Radium called Eye of the Needle - II+ at current levels, and another (bigger)III at Red Cnayon/Yarmony rapid - you generally need a WW capable bagged boat for those. (I assumed canoe - ww kayak is easier)

Discharge, cubic feet per second
Most recent instantaneous value: 908 08-01-2012 06:15 MDT

the gauge below Kremmling (see above) is a good indicator - 1000 cfs is a very nice level - expect to see lots of people as this is about the only decent water in Co right now.

the best "easy" run with just a couple of spots of CII ish wave trains, plus lots of CI bits is from State Bridge to the Catamount take out - two ramps at Cat, the one above the bridge on river left is easy - CII rapid at and just below the bridge can make the second landing iffyer - also River left. That's a bit over 16 miles as the GPS flies - you can shorten that by about 5 miles by taking out at the new twin bridges put in.

$3 day use fee for using any of the public landings. free camping at various sites along the river. BLM campgrounds at Pumphouse and Radium sites. Shuttles available from Rancho Del Rio operation. Generally, all of these locations are easy to find.

The river can be run from Gore Canyon (C IV/V+) all the way down to Dotsero at I-70. Lower sections - Rodeo Rapid is a CIII and can be nasty; Pinball II+ and tricky - these can be road scouted. easier run II- or so, from "Cottonwood" putin to bridge at Dotsero is 12 or 15 miles or so.

about two hours from Denver is right. BUT, be aware of massive traffic jams on Sunday afternoon and evening - about a billion people want to go play in the mountains on weekends, and they all hit the highway about the same time to return - so at that time its more like a 3.5 to 4 hr return trip. Suggest stopping for dinner and waiting till 9pm or so before heading up thru Eisenhower tunnel. weekdays not so bad.

if you have extra time in your schedule - take the Mt Evans road - blacktop to 14,000' and Big Horns and Mt Goats all over the place - that's from Idaho Springs, about 30 mi west of Denver.

Ruby Horsethief or Gunnison
if you aren’t into WW, a classic run is thru Ruby and Horsethief canyon - Grand Junction area, about 250 miles from Denver. Google for BLM Ruby Horsethief to get current info - requires reserving campsites - should be able to get something weekdays I’d think - stay at Black Rocks (about 8 sites there) or Mee Corner if you can

this is generally flatwater to CI paddling - biggest issues at lower water levels are not getting hung up on the gravel bars - a CII bit of rapid can set up at entrance to Black Rocks

The Gunnison, from Delta down to Whiteater, or continue on to junction with Colorado and take out at Fruita is also a nice run - one CII rapid, rest is easy. Nice hike up Dominguez Canyon (and camping there)to see lots of petroglyphs

NOTE! All of these trips require a self-contained toilet and fire pan along (check for current fire bans) - can be rented

for both of those trips, Rimrock Outfitters in Grand Junction can supply/rent the toilet - they’ll clean; and provide shuttle service.

CO paddles
I like Matt’s idea, or try the N Platte in southern WY or the White R.

CO paddles
I like Matt’s idea, or try the N Platte in southern WY or the White R.