Saint Vrain Creek, North - 02. Buttonrock Preserve to CR 80


Saint Vrain Creek, North, Colorado, US

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02. Buttonrock Preserve to CR 80 (Middle NSV)

Usual Difficulty IV(V) (for normal flows)
Length 1.8 Miles
Avg. Gradient 110 fpm
Max Gradient 133 fpm

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
NORTH SAINT VRAIN CREEK BELOW BUTTONROCK (RA...
codwr-NSVBBRCO0 250 - 900 cfs IV(V) 00h39m 41.7 cfs (too low)


River Description

Middle NSV is a great afterwork run and a great run to test the waters for Colorado Class V. Rapids are mostly natural smooth bedrock with some boulder drops mixed in. It can be fast, shallow and sharp when roadside, but you expected that, right?!

After putting on and floating 2/3 of a mile of Class 2, the cliffs wall in the sides of the canyon and you are presented with a massive horizon line.  

The first rapid is a big stair-stepping drop that sieves out several times. If it weren't for the sneak down the right side it would be an epic Class V+ or VI-. Fortunately the sneak is rather easy, Class V- or IV+.  Don't snooze at the bottom, the gradient keeps crankin' for about another 100 yards.

Run a short technical ledge just below and eddy left to scout the second big rapid (V-). After the second drop, the rapids slow to Class IV and descend in difficulty for the remainder of the run.

To Get There: NORTH out of Lyons on HWY 36 towards Estes Park and after three miles turn left on CR 80. The run is the section where CR 80 leaves the river, so leave a takeout vehicle where the road heads up the hill (or a little further down river if you want to catch some more Class whee after the bridge). Drive slowly and respectfully up this road and look around for critters as you scout.

The put-in is where CR 80 dead-ends at Buttonrock Preserve. The No-Paddling signs refer to the section upstream. Theres a remote possibility the rangers will hastle you, just tell them your boating downstream of the reservoir. You will not be in the in Buttonrock Preserve and that you know to stay off the reservoir. The water police is coming for you! 

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.

A 1997 USFS-Buttonrock Preserve land exchange has changed many local boundaries. If your map is not updated after 1997, your boundary information is not current.

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: 2013-05-12 20:08:32

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Rapid Descriptions

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