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River Trippin' in 2021

Updated: Jul 12

This season is an unusual one, it felt like spring came late, and the lack of runoff makes it even trickier to run certain sections in Colorado. We've been lucky to get out boating a decent amount and have paddled below recommended CFS in some cases. Here are some details on stretches we've personally run in the past few months. I hope sharing these experiences is helpful and makes it easier for you to decide where to go on your next river adventure.


#1 Clear Creek: Chicago Creek to Kermit's



Current CFS: HERE

Flow Range: 200-1,500

Recommended: 200+


Clear Creek is its own animal with various stretches that have a range of rapid classifications. The most popular day run is a 6 mile stretch from Chicago Creek to Kermit's Restaurant and Bar. This section has some fun whitewater, but nothing intimidating like the stretches below.


From Kermit's takeout down, the water gets bigger and more technical. It's a blast but requires you to be a more advanced rafter (we were lucky to go with some of our friends and Downriver Equipment, who know the drill).



#2 The Arkansas River • Browns Canyon


Current CFS: HERE

Flow Range: 300-5,000

Recommended: 400+


My favorite stretch is Fisherman's Bridge to Hecla Junction. This 8.5-mile stretch is fun, fast, and splashy! When we ran it last weekend there was hardly any time to drink a beer. A great place to Eddy Out for lunch is Zume Flume Beach. A tip: No matter how hot it is outside, wear wool socks to keep your feet warm!


#3 Upper Colorado: Pumphouse to Rancho Del Rio


Current CFS: HERE

Flow Range: 900-5,800

Recommended: 900+


Notes:

The Upper Colorado is super low, but it is runnable. Two weekends ago, we did this stretch on oars when the river was at 510 CFS. We had a ton of fun, but with the water being so low, here are a few things to note if you decide to run it.

  • Needles Eye Rapid - Usually the run is to the right, but below 900 CFS, the run is to the left.

  • Plan to be on the river longer than you'd think. It took us 6 hours, and we only stopped for 30 minutes for a lunch break.

  • If you're on paddleboards, watch your fins. There are tons of shallow pockets, making it even easier to catch a rock.


#4 Ruby Horsethief and Westwater Canyon


Current CFS: HERE

Min/Max CFS: 2,000-50,000

Recommended: 4,000+


Notes:

The stretch from La Loma to Cisco gorgeous! We were lucky enough to run it at over 7,000 CFS and camp at Black Rocks #9. Currently, flows are sitting just below the recommended range and you shouldn't have any much trouble running it. My only recommendations are to bring more water than you typically would, wear tons of sun protection and splurge for a bimini if you can. The temperature is likely to hover in the high 90's from now until August.


#5 The Daily Float • Dewey Bridge to Takeout Beach


Current CFS: HERE

Flow Range: 2,000 – 15,000 cfs

Recommended: 2,000+


Notes:

Yes, historically, the summer months are scorching in Moab. But, low flows and minimal runoff didn't give us as many runnable options this season, making the Daily a decent choice. We ran this 20-mile stretch at 2,500 CFS earlier this year, and the river was moving well. The flat sections moved a little slower, but the rapids were fun and easy to cruise through. We decided to extend our trip and camp two nights on the river, which allowed extra time for swimming, hanging out at camp, and more relaxing than the usual river trip.



#6 The Green River • ABC

Next up, we'll let you know!



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