The Upper Colorado

The primary put-in for the Upper Colorado River lies within a two-hour drive from Denver. Rafting, canoeing, kayaking, fishing, swimming, or a chance for pure relaxation attracts day users as well as those on overnight trips. The most popular upper segment from Pumphouse to the private take-out at State Bridge is principally for day use. Boaters may continue or initially launch at Catamount Bridge to run the lower segment. Both public and privately owned take-outs are scattered along the river from the Burns townsite to the Dotsero Bridge at I-70. Upper Gore Canyon was considered unrunnable until lately. It is Class V water and requires several mandatory portages. Rafting this section is discouraged.

Many access sites along this stretch. Most commonly used are Pumphouse Recreation Site, Radium Recreation Site, State Bridge, Catamount Bridge, Pinball Point, and Lyons Gulch.

Overall Class II-III. High flows - Class IV. Rodeo Rapid is Class IV - low flows

Average Gradient
19 ft./mi.

Trip Length
Pumphouse - State Bridge, 1-2 days, 14 mi. State Bridge - Catamount Bridge, 1-2 days, 16 mi. Catamount - Shoshone, 2 days, 35 mi.

Mid-April to mid-October.

Kremmling, Radium, McCoy, State Bridge, Blue Hill, Burns N. and S., Dotsero

Other Notes
July and August weekend mornings are peak use times when most boaters are preparing to depart. To avoid crowded put-in points, select later starting times or start trips at Radium or access points downstream. Campsites are semi-developed and should be easy to find since most use is day trips. Gore Canyon between Kremmling and Pumphouse should be avoided as it has several mandatory portages.

BLM Resource Area Office

Above State Bridge:
Kremmling Resource Area
1116 Park Ave.
P.O. Box 68
Kremmling, CO 80459

Below State Bridge:
Glenwood Springs Resource Area
50629 Highways 6 & 24
P.O. Box 1009
Glenwood Springs, CO 81602

Published: 29 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 26 May 2011
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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