Saint Vrain Creek, South - 02. Confluence to 1 in 5 Rapid


Saint Vrain Creek, South, Colorado, US

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02. Confluence to 1 in 5 Rapid (SSV)

Usual Difficulty V+ (for normal flows)
Length 5 Miles
Avg. Gradient 248 fpm
Max Gradient 375 fpm

Big Narrows Drop 3


Big Narrows Drop 3
Photo of Adam Barron by Brian Adkins taken 06/17/04 @ low about 170cfs

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level


River Description

The definition of steep manky roadside Class V+ in Colorado, the entire run is full of jagged roadblast from HWY 7 and wood.

The SSV (South St. Vrain) is a great after work run.  Above, and including the Big Narrows, is the best part of the run with continuous Class V boulder gardens with steep and funnelized Class V cascades.
Below the Big Narrows the stream mellows out to continuous Class V- rapids.

For pix of the SSV and other Colorado classics check out Webshots photo album.

To get there: The entire run is next to HWY 7, about three miles upstream of Lyons.
The Class V at the take-out is obvious on the drive up, as is the Narrows in the middle of the run.
The put-in is at the confluence of the South and Middle forks. Above that it looks too bony and woody.

The rapids have names known by locals and change frequently due to cloudburst rain events.

The Ceran St. Vrain enters the South St. Vrain and adds volume.

Northern Colorado experienced large volume floods in September 2013 which resulted in massive changes to many rivers.  
In some places, the roads were washed out along the South St. Vrain. Along the South St. Vrain there are significant changes to the riverbed on the lower sections. Boaters be prepared for effects of major flooding and channel incision on the lower reaches of the upper runs.

See Colorado Rivers and Creeks II, by Banks and Eckardt (The Bible), for info on this and most of the other cool runs of Colorado.

Scott Young gets credits for pioneering much of this run.

Lat/longitude coords are approximate, from TopoZone.

The various reaches of of Saint Vrain Creek,
Upper NSV (Class V+/VI-),
Middle NSV (Class IV/V),
Lower NSV (Class II/III),
Upper SSV (Class V+/VI-),
SSV (Class V/V+), and
Left Hand Creek (Class IV).


StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2016-04-09 19:19:24

Editors

Stream team editor

Rapid Summary

Mile Rapid Name Class Features (Legend)
0.0Confluence of South and Middle forksIV+Putin
0.21st Steep Rapid5.0Waterfall
2.12nd Steep Rapid5.1Access Waterfall Photo
2.53rd Steep Rapid5.0Waterfall Photo
2.64th Steep Rapid5.2Hazard Waterfall Photo
3.15th Steep Rapid5.1Hazard Waterfall Photo
3.46th Steep Rapid5.0Waterfall Photo
4.0Last drop above the Narrows5.0Access Waterfall Photo
4.1Big Narrows Drop One5.2Hazard Waterfall Photo
4.2Big Narrows Drop Two5.0Waterfall Photo
4.3Big Narrows Drop Three5.0Waterfall Photo
4.4Big Narrows Drop Four5.1Waterfall Photo
4.5Big Narrows Drop Five5.2Access Hazard Waterfall Photo
4.7Islands5.0Waterfall
5.61 in 5 Rapid5.2Takeout Waterfall

Rapid Descriptions

Confluence of South and Middle forks (Class IV+)
For the highest put-in

1st Steep Rapid (Class 5.0, Mile 0.2)
Class V slide

2nd Steep Rapid (Class 5.1, Mile 2.1)

Cascade 2

Cascade 2
Photo of Adam Barron by Brian Adkins taken 06/03 @ high about 350cfs

Class V bouncer down the middle. Possible one of the hardest rapids, a sleeper that manages to claim a lot of victims. Don't get upside down!

3rd Steep Rapid (Class 5.0, Mile 2.5)

Cascade 3

Cascade 3
Photo of Peter Roth by Brian Adkins taken 06/03 @ high about 350cfs

Class V 2-drop cascade. The entrance has a sweet boof move, the runout is a manky pain in the ass!

4th Steep Rapid (Class 5.2, Mile 2.6)

Cascade 4

Cascade 4
Photo of Peter Roth by Brian Adkins taken 06/03 @ high about 350cfs

Really 2 seperate drops. Upper Class V where creek splits around a large rock in center of river, go right except at high water. Lower Class V is the most technical rapid of the run. Usually the only rapid besides the narrows we let newbies scout...:-D

5th Steep Rapid (Class 5.1, Mile 3.1)

Cascade 5

Cascade 5
Photo of Adam Barron by Brian Adkins taken 06/03 @ high about 350cfs

Long and technical Class V cascade, one of the longest rapids on the run.

6th Steep Rapid (Class 5.0, Mile 3.4)

Pete in SSV

Pete in SSV
Photo of Peter Roth by Brian Adkins taken 06/03 @ high about 350cfs

Upper drop is a fun slide, lower drop Class V cascade.

Last drop above the Narrows (Class 5.0, Mile 4.0)

Last drop before the narrows

Last drop before the narrows
Photo of Adam Barron by Brian Adkins taken 06/03 @ high about 350cfs

sticky ledge, get out to scout or portage Big Narrows...

Big Narrows Drop One (Class 5.2, Mile 4.1)

Big Narrows Drop 1

Big Narrows Drop 1
Photo of Peter Roth by Brian Adkins taken 06/17/04 @ low about 170cfs

Entrance cascade has a manmade retaining wall on left and cliff on right. Right side is eroding away and rock slides have changed the rapid frequently. Be aware this drop is a sieve!

Big Narrows Drop Two (Class 5.0, Mile 4.2)

Big Narrows Drop 2

Big Narrows Drop 2
Photo of Adam Barron by Brian Adkins taken 06/17/04 @ low about 170cfs

Ugly roostertails on the left but a center line is super easy.

Big Narrows Drop Three (Class 5.0, Mile 4.3)

Big Narrows Drop 3

Big Narrows Drop 3
Photo of Adam Barron by Brian Adkins taken 06/17/04 @ low about 170cfs


Big Narrows Drop Four (Class 5.1, Mile 4.4)

Big Narrows Drop 4 entrance

Big Narrows Drop 4 entrance
Photo of Adam Barron by Brian Adkins taken 06/17/04 @ low about 170cfs

Boof right, hard against the wall. Left and center channels below are good, if you run the center make sure to boof hard and land flat. Undercut rock bottom left is easy to squeek by.

Big Narrows Drop Five (Class 5.2, Mile 4.5)

Big Narrows Drop 5

Big Narrows Drop 5
Photo of Peter Roth by Brian Adkins taken 06/17/04 @ low about 170cfs

Looks super ugly, clean lines are rare but "relatively" painless. Often times paddlers get stuck in the hole at the bottom for a few seconds.

Islands (Class 5.0, Mile 4.7)
3 channels around islands, go right. Still Class V boogie. The 1/2 mile below this is VERY continous. The narrows plus this section is the steepest mile at 375 foot per mile.

1 in 5 Rapid (Class 5.2, Mile 5.6)
The odds against you are 1 in 5. Cool smooth bedrock drop, Class V.


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Associated Projects

  • Highlands Ditch Rehabilitation (CO)
    On the Saint Vrain River, in the Town of Lyons, AW is working with a group of fellow river enthusiasts to rehabilitate the Highlands Ditch Diversion to allow for better navigability, fish passage, and