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Difficulty II-V
Length 15 Miles
Flow Range 300 - 1200 CFS
Flow Rate as of: 44 minutes ago 51.2 [CFS]
Reach Info Last Updated 12/10/2005 8:31 pm

River Description

This is a great run that I like to do about once a year. There are some big and very continuous rapids in the heart of the canyon. This run is Class IV at low water, Class IV+ at medium, and Class V at high water. At the highest levels this is a rollercoaster of fun, not epic, but if you swam it could be a very long hike out. Generally the bigger the rapid on this river, the more likely the line is right down the gut paddling hard. If the five miles or so in the heart of the run were easily accessable this would be one of the best whitewater runs in the rockies. As it is this run is a long drive to get there, a long dirt road shuttle, for a long paddling day with some serious flatwater and mosquito issues. The flatwater is nowhere near the kind you experience on Westwater or Gore, it is swift moving Class II, but it seems endless, particularily the last 5 miles. I reccomend packing some beer and/or Advil for the last few miles. I don't want this description to sound too harsh, if you're in the area this is an excellent and beautifull wilderness run. It's good enough that I want to make sure I hit it every season, but has enough negatives that I only hit it once a season.

To Get There: From the town of Encampent drive south for about a mile until you see the sign: "Encampent River and Trail". Follow this road to a campground where the road dead-ends at a gate. This is the takeout. To get to the put-in drive back out to the main highway and head south again on the highway. After several miles turn left on FR 550, about 20 miles down this dusty road is Commissary Park, the put-in.

Rapid Descriptions


Class - II Mile - 0
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Mellow Class II/III for about 2 miles after the put-in.

Class IV

Class - IV Mile - 3
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There will be a fun section of Class IV about 3 miles in. It soon mellows out to flatwater again though...

Damnation Alley

Class - 5.0 Mile - 5
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This is the crux of the run. Slowly the gradient will pick up speed (if you are here at high water it will be a rollercoaster of big waves) until you are presented with an obvious horizon line. The bold should just run it down the gut, those who scout usually regret it. Take out on the right below this drop, next to a large logjam, to scout damnation alley. I suppose the really bold could just run it down the gut...

Continuous Rapids

Class - IV Mile - 5.1
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Don't snooze after damnation, this is the most continous part, and actually has some technical moves to make in some of the rapids. The next 2 miles are very continuous, then the next 3 miles slowly mellow out.


Class - II Mile - 10
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The rapids will slowly decrease in diffuculty and regularity after damnation. By the time you are at mile 10 there is nothing but mellow Class II left...


Class - II Mile - 15
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Don't be fooled by the houses you see alongside the river, you are still a few miles from the takeout. Takeout where a hiking bridge crosses the river.


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Brian Adkins
4 months ago

Ran this June 29th and 30th 2019 at 1400-1600 cfs in a group of catarafts. Honestly wasn't that bad at that level. Top end is much higher than 1200cfs in my humble opinion. Fantastic run, can't wait to get back.

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Duke Warner
6 years ago

What is the normal timeframe this run is flowing? [Normally has water from about late May, into July in a good year. The issue is whether any of the roads to the put-in are open. There's often water for only a week or two after the roads are open. Best road info is MountainBuzz or call the Forest Service office]

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Philip Malatin
15 years ago

This is now one of my all time favorites and not to be missed if at all possible. I would put it in the same league as Linville Gorge in overall river experience category. It is beautiful and desolate and clean. The shuttle is straight out of Speed Racer.

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Stephen Hunt
19 years ago

This is one fun run! If you're in the area and are considering it, DO IT! It's mostly III-IV(IV+), but it's very constant. The scenery is magnanimous!

Gage Descriptions

Low: 300 - 500 cfs
Med: 500 - 800 cfs
High: 800 cfs and up

Directions Description

We have no additional detail on this route. Use the map below to calculate how to arrive to the main town from your zipcode.

Date Flow Result Factor  
2009-06-13 High Fatality Cold Water Read More



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Save The Date: Wild West River Fest (WY)

Kestrel Kunz

Cody, Wyoming - This August 19 & 20 the Wild West Paddle Club is hosting the 2017 Wild West River Fest in Cody, Wyoming. In celebration of the beautiful Shoshone River, the Fest has events for everyone - Slalom Race, Class II Sprint, Shoshone Canyon Boater Cross, and many other fun activities for the whole family! Weekend festivities are free to the public, with the exception of race registration fees for competitors. You can find a full schedule here and all competitors need to register online in advance.  


Matt Muir


John Gross


Revision #Revision DateAuthorComment
1192254 12/10/05 n/a n/a
1203508 06/24/14 John Gross n/a