Arkansas, Colorado, US
|Usual Difficulty||IV-V (varies with level)|
|Avg. Gradient||58 fpm|
|Max Gradient||200 fpm|
|ARKANSAS RIVER BELOW GRANITE, CO|
|usgs-07087050||200 - 5000 cfs||IV-V||01h30m||567 cfs (running)|
|Low to low-moderate flows. Gauge (546 sq.mi.drainage) lies very near the take-out of this run, so should quite reliably reflect actual flow in run.|
Pine Creek through the numbers ... a classic Colorado run.
This run is not to be taken lightly and still not featured in the latest sikbird video.
This is the steepest section of the Arkansas River and is fun at every level.
The normal middle range of flows (1200cfs-2000cfs) is the most challenging. The run gets very
defined with the crux s-bend move becoming tight. At these levels the s-bend hole is sticky and
will punish you. Since the advent of play boats I have noticed that it seems less severe than
when it used to eat Freefalls and other big bouncy boats. Pine Creek rapid proper is generally
described in three sections. 1. The entrance: The top of the rapid is fast and pushy but not
super demanding. 2. The s-bend: The s-bend move is tough, you need to make a move to the left or
right to avoid a big hole it is moving really fast and many people don't know whats coming by
the time they are on top of the hole. Swims here can be rough so if you don't like the looks
of it put in below the hole in the first good eddy. The classic move is to the left but I have
always thought the right run was a safer bet. 3. Triple Drop: Below the s-bend there is a short
lull (100ft.) and then you are into the triple drop. This seciton is super fun and fast. Run the
triple drop up the middle and hang on!
Below the triple drop the river goes into fun class IV rapids. There is great play as catch on the fly surfing Class IV goes.
Below Pine Creek section there is a huge granite boulder in the middle of the river that pinches
the main flow between a smaller boulder on the left. This makes a great cartwheel spot at flows
between 800cfs and about 1500cfs.
This run may not be consider as super hard by new school standards. This run does and has had severe consequneces for many boaters.
Be vigilant at the S-Turn Rapid. Any swims on this section are survival mode claw-yourway-to-shore swimming. Ditch the boat, save the life.
Powerful forces are underway, choose life. Pine Creek Rapid is really cold and the rapid is continous The run out is not forgiving. Take this run seriously.
To Get There: Highway 24 parallels the run on river right although you can only see the
river in a couple places. Put in at the small town of Granite at Hwy 24 mile 193.8 where County
Road 397 crosses the river to an access on river left. There is an alternate access a couple
miles downstream below the broken up dam that is used as a put-in particularly when flows are
low. This access is reached from Hwy 24 mile 195.7 where you turn onto the dirt road headed
upstream to an access site below the dam that still puts you upstream of Pine Creek rapid. If
you're just doing a short run you can take-out at the Numbers access. At Hwy 24 mile 199.9
head down towards the river and before crossing Scott's Bridge turn left headed upstream.
It's a mile up this dirt road to the Numbers access site. Alternatively, most folks just
continue on downstream and run the Numbers and take-out after #5 or at the
Railroad Bridge access.
See Colorado Rivers and Creeks II, by Banks and Eckardt (The Bible), for info on this and most of the other kewl runs of Colorado.
Lat/longitude coords are approximate, from TopoZone.
See also Pinecreek (Class
The Numbers (Class IV),
Fractions/ Frogrock/ Milkrun (Class III),
Buena Vista (Class III),
Browns Canyon (Class III),
Salida (Class III),
Rincon (Class III),
Pinnacle Rock (Class III),
Royal Gorge (Class III/IV).