Dolores - 04. Slickrock to Bedrock


Dolores, Colorado, US

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04. Slickrock to Bedrock

Usual Difficulty II+(III) (for normal flows)
Length 50 Miles
Avg. Gradient 10 fpm

Dolores near Slickrock


Dolores near Slickrock
Photo by Thomas O'Keefe taken 06/02/97 @ 1270 cfs

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
DOLORES RIVER AT BEDROCK, CO
usgs-09169500 1000 - 3000 cfs II+(III) 03h59m 46 cfs (too low)


River Description

FUN FACT: Some sections of beautiful desert scenery.

SEASON: April to early June depending on snowpack and release from McPhee Dam.

ISSUES: Recreational users have traditionally been the last to be considered in the management plan for McPhee Dam. A proposal to construct additional diversions designed to capture even more of the spring melt will only make the situation worse. Check with the San Juan Citizen's Alliance for the latest information on this issue.

LOGISTICS: To reach the put-in, take Highway 141 to the bridge across the Dolores at Slickrock. There is a launch site upstream river right of the bridge. The first 15 miles or so of this section pass through mostly private ranch lands so this section is less frequently paddled unless its part of a long multi-day trip. The alternate Gypsum Valley Launch is near the end of this first part and just above the point where the river enters Slick Rock Canyon. You can reach it by taking Highway 20 off Highway 141. The take-out at Bedrock is on river left just upstream of the Highway 90 Bridge. There have been reports of car vandalism at this access site.

DESCRIPTION: This section of the Dolores starts with a mellow float through ranch land before entering Slick Rock Canyon which contains a few easy rapids. You're not going on this run for the whitewater action, but rather the beautiful scenery, desert campsites, and side canyon hikes. That being said there are still a couple of spots where solid intermediate paddling skills are required, and once you're committed to this remote canyon opportunities to exit are limited. While McPhee dam upstream limits the days you can float this river its still a great desert river trip. The Dolores is managed by the BLM and they maintain a web page with information on the river. Although permits are not currently required, you will still need your firepan, portable toilet, and dishwater strainer.

From the Slickrock Launch at mile 47 the river winds through ranch land and the short Little Glen Canyon. It's mostly a mellow float but there's some beautiful desert scenery that displays a sharp contrast for those who have floated down from the upper sections of the river. Campsites are very limited in this first section (although there are a couple) and much of the land is private. The bugs can be pretty bad in early spring so if you've got raft support bring the bug tent. Once you pass the Gypsum Valley Launch (mile 61) it's only a couple miles until you pass under a highway bridge and enter Slickrock Canyon. This is a wilderness study area and there are several opportunities for great side hikes, several of which lead to native rock art. Although the river flows through a constrained canyon there is some good camping, but if you're on the river with good flows over Memorial Day weekend you'd better grab your site early. When setting up camp or setting off on a side hike keep your eyes open for poison ivy.

The best whitewater comes near the end where you get some decent class III rapids as you approach the take-out. Before passing under the Highway 90 Bridge you'll find an access on river left that serves as a take-out.

Boaters can start from further upstream or continue their trip downstream by taking advantage of boating opportunities on the following sections of the Dolores and Colorado:

 


StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2009-06-02 01:25:37

Editors

Stream team editor

Rapid Descriptions

icon of message No rapids entered. If you know names, and locations of the rapids please contact and advise the StreamTeam member for this run.

User Comments


2011-05-22 08:20:54 (1251 days ago)
Joe GriffithDetails
I'm a member, and I logged in. But the website pages don't offer me the member services, like the
weather report on each of the river pages. What do I do to get to the River Tools and have it treat
me like a member?
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Events

Calendar Control Date:
Calendar by Date by Title

June 2008

S M T W T F S
1
Dolores River Releases

As the time approaches where irrigation and municipal demand are equal to or exceed inflow to the Reservoir, the spill will be brought to a close. The goal is to ramp down flows at an average rate of about 100 cfs per day, but the tail end500-2000 cfs

2
Dolores River Releases

As the time approaches where irrigation and municipal demand are equal to or exceed inflow to the Reservoir, the spill will be brought to a close. The goal is to ramp down flows at an average rate of about 100 cfs per day, but the tail end500-2000 cfs

3
Dolores River Releases

As the time approaches where irrigation and municipal demand are equal to or exceed inflow to the Reservoir, the spill will be brought to a close. The goal is to ramp down flows at an average rate of about 100 cfs per day, but the tail end500-2000 cfs

4
Dolores River Releases

As the time approaches where irrigation and municipal demand are equal to or exceed inflow to the Reservoir, the spill will be brought to a close. The goal is to ramp down flows at an average rate of about 100 cfs per day, but the tail end500-2000 cfs

5
Dolores River Releases

As the time approaches where irrigation and municipal demand are equal to or exceed inflow to the Reservoir, the spill will be brought to a close. The goal is to ramp down flows at an average rate of about 100 cfs per day, but the tail end500-2000 cfs

6
Dolores River Releases

As the time approaches where irrigation and municipal demand are equal to or exceed inflow to the Reservoir, the spill will be brought to a close. The goal is to ramp down flows at an average rate of about 100 cfs per day, but the tail end500-2000 cfs

7
Dolores River Releases

As the time approaches where irrigation and municipal demand are equal to or exceed inflow to the Reservoir, the spill will be brought to a close. The goal is to ramp down flows at an average rate of about 100 cfs per day, but the tail end500-2000 cfs

8
Dolores River Releases

As the time approaches where irrigation and municipal demand are equal to or exceed inflow to the Reservoir, the spill will be brought to a close. The goal is to ramp down flows at an average rate of about 100 cfs per day, but the tail end500-2000 cfs

9
Dolores River Releases

As the time approaches where irrigation and municipal demand are equal to or exceed inflow to the Reservoir, the spill will be brought to a close. The goal is to ramp down flows at an average rate of about 100 cfs per day, but the tail end500-2000 cfs

10
Dolores River Releases

As the time approaches where irrigation and municipal demand are equal to or exceed inflow to the Reservoir, the spill will be brought to a close. The goal is to ramp down flows at an average rate of about 100 cfs per day, but the tail end500-2000 cfs

11
Dolores River Releases

As the time approaches where irrigation and municipal demand are equal to or exceed inflow to the Reservoir, the spill will be brought to a close. The goal is to ramp down flows at an average rate of about 100 cfs per day, but the tail end500-2000 cfs

12
Dolores River Releases

As the time approaches where irrigation and municipal demand are equal to or exceed inflow to the Reservoir, the spill will be brought to a close. The goal is to ramp down flows at an average rate of about 100 cfs per day, but the tail end500-2000 cfs

13
Dolores River Releases

As the time approaches where irrigation and municipal demand are equal to or exceed inflow to the Reservoir, the spill will be brought to a close. The goal is to ramp down flows at an average rate of about 100 cfs per day, but the tail end500-2000 cfs

14
Dolores River Releases

As the time approaches where irrigation and municipal demand are equal to or exceed inflow to the Reservoir, the spill will be brought to a close. The goal is to ramp down flows at an average rate of about 100 cfs per day, but the tail end500-2000 cfs

15
Dolores River Releases

As the time approaches where irrigation and municipal demand are equal to or exceed inflow to the Reservoir, the spill will be brought to a close. The goal is to ramp down flows at an average rate of about 100 cfs per day, but the tail end500-2000 cfs

16
Dolores River Releases

As the time approaches where irrigation and municipal demand are equal to or exceed inflow to the Reservoir, the spill will be brought to a close. The goal is to ramp down flows at an average rate of about 100 cfs per day, but the tail end500-2000 cfs

17
Dolores River Releases

As the time approaches where irrigation and municipal demand are equal to or exceed inflow to the Reservoir, the spill will be brought to a close. The goal is to ramp down flows at an average rate of about 100 cfs per day, but the tail end500-2000 cfs

18
Dolores River Releases

As the time approaches where irrigation and municipal demand are equal to or exceed inflow to the Reservoir, the spill will be brought to a close. The goal is to ramp down flows at an average rate of about 100 cfs per day, but the tail end500-2000 cfs

19
Dolores River Releases

As the time approaches where irrigation and municipal demand are equal to or exceed inflow to the Reservoir, the spill will be brought to a close. The goal is to ramp down flows at an average rate of about 100 cfs per day, but the tail end500-2000 cfs

20
Dolores River Releases

As the time approaches where irrigation and municipal demand are equal to or exceed inflow to the Reservoir, the spill will be brought to a close. The goal is to ramp down flows at an average rate of about 100 cfs per day, but the tail end500-2000 cfs

21
Dolores River Releases

As the time approaches where irrigation and municipal demand are equal to or exceed inflow to the Reservoir, the spill will be brought to a close. The goal is to ramp down flows at an average rate of about 100 cfs per day, but the tail end500-2000 cfs

22
Dolores River Releases

As the time approaches where irrigation and municipal demand are equal to or exceed inflow to the Reservoir, the spill will be brought to a close. The goal is to ramp down flows at an average rate of about 100 cfs per day, but the tail end500-2000 cfs

23
Dolores River Releases

As the time approaches where irrigation and municipal demand are equal to or exceed inflow to the Reservoir, the spill will be brought to a close. The goal is to ramp down flows at an average rate of about 100 cfs per day, but the tail end500-2000 cfs

24
Dolores River Releases

As the time approaches where irrigation and municipal demand are equal to or exceed inflow to the Reservoir, the spill will be brought to a close. The goal is to ramp down flows at an average rate of about 100 cfs per day, but the tail end500-2000 cfs

25
Dolores River Releases

As the time approaches where irrigation and municipal demand are equal to or exceed inflow to the Reservoir, the spill will be brought to a close. The goal is to ramp down flows at an average rate of about 100 cfs per day, but the tail end500-2000 cfs

26
Dolores River Releases

As the time approaches where irrigation and municipal demand are equal to or exceed inflow to the Reservoir, the spill will be brought to a close. The goal is to ramp down flows at an average rate of about 100 cfs per day, but the tail end500-2000 cfs

27
Dolores River Releases

As the time approaches where irrigation and municipal demand are equal to or exceed inflow to the Reservoir, the spill will be brought to a close. The goal is to ramp down flows at an average rate of about 100 cfs per day, but the tail end500-2000 cfs

28
Dolores River Releases

As the time approaches where irrigation and municipal demand are equal to or exceed inflow to the Reservoir, the spill will be brought to a close. The goal is to ramp down flows at an average rate of about 100 cfs per day, but the tail end500-2000 cfs

29
Dolores River Releases

As the time approaches where irrigation and municipal demand are equal to or exceed inflow to the Reservoir, the spill will be brought to a close. The goal is to ramp down flows at an average rate of about 100 cfs per day, but the tail end500-2000 cfs

30
Dolores River Releases

As the time approaches where irrigation and municipal demand are equal to or exceed inflow to the Reservoir, the spill will be brought to a close. The goal is to ramp down flows at an average rate of about 100 cfs per day, but the tail end500-2000 cfs

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Events
Dolores River Releases Delores,CO runs 04/01/08 - 06/30/08
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Associated Projects

  • Dolores River (CO)
    American Whitewater is working to conserve and restore a dynamic, healthy Dolores River by leveraging recreational water needs to enhance and support in-stream flows.
  • Lower Dolores Working Group (CO)
    AW is working with a broad group of stakeholders to draft a new federal legislation that protects water and the iconic landscapes of the lower Dolores River.