Encampment - State Line to Encampment (canyon)

Encampment, Wyoming, US


State Line to Encampment (canyon)

Usual Difficulty II-V (for normal flows)
Length 15 Miles
Avg. Gradient 77 fpm
Max Gradient 150 fpm

Damnation Alley

Damnation Alley
Photo of D.A. at 350 CFS (Put-in gauge) by Schizzle taken 06/15/04 @ 350 (put-in), 750 TO

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
usgs-06625000 300 - 1200 cfs II-V 01h10m 116 cfs (too low)

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.

StreamTeam Status: Verified
Last Updated: 2005-12-10 20:31:29

Rapid Summary

Mile Rapid Name Class Features (Legend)
3.0Class IVIV
5.0Damnation Alley5.0Waterfall
5.1Continuous RapidsIV

Rapid Descriptions

Put-In (Class II)
Mellow Class II/III for about 2 miles after the put-in.

Class IV (Class IV, Mile 3.0)
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 5.0)
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)
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.

flatwater (Class II, Mile 10.0)
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...

take-out (Class II, Mile 15.0)
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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