This is a Guide to the Kayaking and Canoeing of the Colorado Rocky Mountains and adjacent areas.

This is a hybrid, being a combination of my river notes over the last 25 years, with a river guide. I like combining these two styles to add a little personalization to the descriptions. Some of the descriptions are thus somewhat dated, so this should supplement, but not be a substitute for a current boating Guide such as Colorado Rivers and Creeks.

Another good but somewhat dated guide (somewhat like these web pages) is The Floaters Guide to Colorado.

Content Of Each Run Description

All of the runs in this guide have been floated by myself in either an open canoe, C-1, or kayak. Because of this, the first two categories in the beginning of each run are subjective information based on the run or runs that I have made on each stretch of river.

The Time is the average length of time that we spent on this run. Typically we do not just float straight down a run, but stop to play along the way. On more difficult wilderness runs, we may stop to scout, but we usually try to do most of our scouting from the boats.

The Levels are the various flows in cubic feet per second (CFS) that I have been on the run. This is important because if you want to attempt one of the runs at a much higher or lower flow than the one listed, you can be fairly sure that the difficulty of many of the drops will change and perhaps new hazards will appear.

The Rating is a measure of difficulty of the run as a whole. This is always done based on the levels listed. Ratings are another subjective measurement, but these should all be consistent with each other throughout the book. Note that the ratings can change with different water levels.

The Length is the number of river miles for the complete run.


I would highly recommend taking a river rescue class for your own safety and for the safety of your boating companions. No matter how capable and able you are as a canoest, kayaker or rafter, you need these skills. I would even consider it a common courtesy to your fellow paddlers that if they went to the trouble to learn how to save your butt on the river, you should return the favor.

A couple of good places in Colorado to learn rescue and safety skills are the Colorado Whitewater Association and the Rocky Mountain Canoe Club.

In 1992 Colorado passed a law entitling anyone holding a current Colorado fishing license to a state sponsored rescue, regardless if the person is fishing or not. The $10.50 that it costs to purchase a license would be well worth the cost as "river insurance", especially if you favor those wild and out of the way creeks where a rescue could be costly.