Colorado River (Shoshone)
|Stretch:||Shoshone Power Plant to Grizzle Creek|
|Difficulty:||Class III to III+|
|Flows:||500 to ?0,000. USGS Colorado River near Dotsero gauge|
|Gradient:||48 fpm average|
|Put-in:||Shoshone Power Plant Exit on US-70|
|Take-out:||Grizzle Creek Access Exit on US-70|
|Shuttle:||2.0 miles, (2 minutes one-way)|
|Season:||Year-round dam release|
Colorado Road Trip 2021: Day 10 Evening
After doing the Roaring Fork, we met up with Steve and Laura at their camp. We set up camp while waiting for them to finish their remote work day and then all packed up together for a lap on the Colorado in the Shoshone section, where Nate and his wife Katie also met us.
This run is weird. Super pretty gorge and a super busy highway (70). The river is quality class III, but also absurdly short. For sure do not plan to make this your destination for a full day unless you have a shuttle driver and no other nearby options. It is just too short. Though with that said we had 2,200 cfs and I am told lower there is substantially more play and a lap can be stretched out to 45 minutes. At our flow the play was limited so our laps only took about 20 minutes. But, it was pretty and it was fun. At least as kayakers we can play on eddy lines and whatnot. The rafts on the other hand seemed to have 10 minute floats for each lap. That just seems silly.
If the class III action is too mellow, you could look upstream for the Barrell Springs section which is more of a class IV to V run. Also, some sources call this run III to IV, with the IV being at high flows. I just can't see it actually becoming class IV other than the fact that it would turn into one long rapid with big waves. But in my mind that is big water class III or III+.
Update 2021: A large rainstorm rolled through the canyon a few months after we were there and several rockslides dropped into the river, drastically changing the river channel. Time will tell where things settle.
- Put-in (II+). Right at put-in is a small rapid that leads to the first named rapid. But I am mentioning it as there was a descent surf spot on river left right at put-in and a nice stern squirt seam at the bottom of the rapid on the right.
- Entrance Exam (III- to III+). At our 2,200 flow I would say it was III-, a straight forward line down the right avoided the pourover on the left. I think we could have boofed left too. I imagine at high flows this could all change.
Boogie (II). Some straightforward boogie fills the next quarter mile.
- Tombstone (III to III+). The river goes down the left along the shore and through a series of nice waves.
- Superstition (III+ to IV). OK, maybe this rapid becomes class IV at higher flows. At our mediumish flow it was the biggest of the run. We entered right and moved center where the largest crashing waves were located. It was a relatively steep rapid and the waves had some power, so I could imagine some holes forming at the right flow.
Paddle Out (I). The paddle out starts immediately below and is pretty much just class I.
Take-out: From Glenwood Springs, take US-70 east for 5.6 miles. Take the exit for Grizzle Creek. Go past the first parking area and park at the river access spot, which has limited parking but is significantly closer to the river access.
Put-in: Get back on US-70 heading east. Go 2.0 miles and take the next exit, for the Shoshone Hydroelectric facility. Go down and park next to the boat ramp. Note, there is no US70 westbound exit here, nor is there a US70 eastbound onramp.
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