South Platte, Colorado, US
|Usual Difficulty||III-IV (for normal flows)|
|Avg. Gradient||74 fpm|
|SOUTH PLATTE RIVER AT SOUTH PLATTE|
|codwr-PLASPLCO0||300 - 5000 cfs||III-IV||01h11m||289 cfs (too low)|
The South Platte below the confluence is a delightful but short run. The only drawback is the takeout, which involves walking back up to the cars. That walk out is certainly one of the easiest in the Rockies as it follows an almost flat old road bed.
The Waterton Canyon run starts out as a mild moving stream with only a few small waves. After about an 1/8 to a 1/4 mile the river picks up and the run starts to develop character. The longest rapid is S turn which is fairly continuous for about a 1/4 to half mile. The river has plenty of play spots but the rocks are sharp so be careful when you flip.
S turn ends in a pool with an ominous looking horizon line at most medium to low flows. At higher flow you will not stop till you hit the takeout.
The horizon line marks Green Bridge rapid. This drop is fairly straightforward except you should be careful of rebar on the old bridge piling if you choose one of the less obvious lines. Most people boat down the left at normal flows.
Immediately below Green Bridge Rapid is a small pool that is followed up by Avalanche/Land slide rapid. While this drop looks ominous it is straightforward on the right but has a broaching rock on river left.
After another small pool you will arrive at Vertical Blender. This drop has two distinct ledges and some solid holes. The bottom of Vertical Blender is the lake and the takeout.
If you hit this run a high flows the whole things is one big rapid.
For historical reasons everyone should be aware that a great whitewater canyon was once downstream of Waterton but this was inundated by the DWB.
|Mile||Rapid Name||Class||Features (Legend)|
|0.3||S-Turn / Initiation||III|
|0.6||Green Bridge Rapid||III+|
This is a extensive almost 1/2 mile long rapid. Most of this is wave train with holes and eddies.