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Difficulty I-IV
Length 13 Miles
Gauge N/A
Flow Range
Reach Info Last Updated 06/04/2007 7:06 pm

River Description


So if you have ever wondered how the folks in Wyoming put water in Bluegrass Creek, here is your answer.
They release water from Wheatland #2 (or Wheatland #3 in some situations) and let it flow down the Laramie River to a small lake.  The tunnel for Bluegrass leaves that lake.  However if you want to use that water for a paddle down the Laramie River instead of Bluegrass Creek you are in luck.
There are some good and bad options for access to this run.  The best options are to cross private ranch land if the rqanchers let you.  Otherwise you have some flat water at the top of the run..
The takeout is easy to reach.  Drive up Tunnel Road from WY 34.  Take a left about 5 yards after crossing the first small stream (Laramie River post diversion).  Take your next left and then work your way uphill (like your headed to Bluegrass).  However once your past the cattle guard go right and drive back down to the lake with the diversion.  Drive as far up the lake shore as you can get and leave a car for the takeout.
The put in is a bit of an adventure.  Go back to Tunnel Road drive till its ends and go left.  Take this road for about 5+ miles and you will see a left immediately after a cattle guard.  (If you see signs for Wheatland #3 you went to far).  Go left and drive about 3 miles.  Thunder River Rd (Laramie River Ranches) is on your left turn here if you go further the road turns private and is posted.  Once on Thunder River Rd. you will cross the Laramie River (this is an access point but not a good one).  The best option is the keep driving and take both left turns when the road forks.  Eventually the road will end on an odd cul-de-sac or turn around in the middle of the sagebrush desert.  Hike down to the river from here.  The map shows this as state land BTW and you can bypass the fences if you follow them to the right.
There are BETTER access points downstream for both the put in and takeout.  These are on private land and you would have to negotiate access.  One of the ranches is a dude ranch and thus might be quite favorable to paying boater customers.

Read the individual rapid descriptions.
The Laramie is a long trip but it hold water late in the season with flows in August and September.
The first 4 miles are mostly flat.  The only excitement are some weirs and 2 small wire fences that can be paddled over.
After mile 4.5 the river leaves the pastoral area and enters a canyon.  The first canyon is very scenic but not too difficult.  Most rapids are class II with a few surfing spots.  The great scenery and remote canyon might make for a good camping spot.
After the nice warm up the river makes a hard turn and starts to drop over 120 ft/mile.  This section is remote and full of class III-IV rapids.  Don't run this unless your willing to walk them or a good boater.  The river has two small waterfalls. Once your done with the big stuff you have another scenic class II-III paddle out.
There is one barbed wire fence just above the takeout as the river enters the lake.  Carry around it.

All things considered you can't beat this run for water flows late in the year.  However be warned the river is a long one and your probably only going to run it a few times a year.
The run can get abusive; if you run it at flows less than 300 cfs it will be painful for you and your boat. 

Rapid Descriptions

put in

Class - Mile - 0
Park at the odd little turn around in the middle of the sagebrush desert on Thunder River Rd.

First Weir

Class - II Mile - 1.53
A breached weir. Easy to run

Weir 2

Class - II Mile - 2.81
A slightly more difficult weir.  This one is still easy to run

Garret Rd

Class - Mile - 3.31
Rapid Thumbnail Missing
A private bridge crosses the river and would be a takeout if you needed it in an ABSOLUTE emergency

Weir 3

Class - III Mile - 3.81
Rapid Thumbnail Missing
The third weir is the largest but still has an easy line  

Weir 4

Class - II Mile - 4.23
Rapid Thumbnail Missing
The final weir is fairly small and straightforward.  This is the last of the "real" flatwater

first canyon

Class - II+ Mile - 4.25
The first canyon on the Laramie is fairly easy class II and III with few hazards.

Surfing spot

Class - II Mile - 5.79
A small class II rapid has a decent surf wave.  This is part of the easy class II stuff in the first canyon.

Start of the big stuff

Class - III Mile - 6.25
After you pass the surfing rapid you enter the steep canyon (120 ft/mile).  It starts out easy but pick up quickly.

Prime time

Class - IV Mile - 6.3
Prime Time starts out the big rapids.  The approach to this drop is on a blind left corner.  Pay attention to the river as it picks up speed because this rapid could collect logs, pin boats, or beat you down.

Prime Time boof

Class - IV Mile - 6.3
There are two lines in Prime Time.  A boof off the right of the pillow or some ledges on the left.

ledge below Prime Time

Class - II+ Mile - 6.31

Boofs and rock gardens

Class - III Mile - 6.45
A series of boofs and rock gardens follow Prime Time

First Falls

Class - IV Mile - 6.64
The Laramie has 2 small waterfalls.  This is the first one.  Scout on river left.

Flume

Class - III+ Mile - 6.85
The flume follows below the First falls.  This rapid has two parts and leads into the big drop/main event on the Laramie.

Flume part 2

Class - III+ Mile - 6.93
After the first part of the Flume eddy out on the left and scout the big drop

Big one/Main Event

Class - IV Mile - 6.94
The biggest rapid on the Laramie is a two stage waterfall that starts off with a narrow approch and a big hole.  This is followed by a large boulder that splits the flow right above a 8 foot waterfall drop.
I am sure this one has a better name.  If you know it let me know or post it.

Big one/main event

Class - IV Mile - 6.95
The second part of the drop is the waterfall/ledge.

Nozzle

Class - III+ Mile - 6.98
After the big drop the river constricts into a tight nozzle and drops though some boulders.  The drop is straight forward.

last one

Class - III Mile - 7.02
The canyon open up with a final class III- rapid.  This one is easy.

Gazebo

Class - Mile - 7.14
Rapid Thumbnail Missing
A gazebo and outhouse are on river right.  You could hike out here but it would be a long hike.

paddle out

Class - II+ Mile - 7.49
After the steep stuff the river opens up and the paddle out begins.  Many of the rapids here are class II with a few easy IIIs.

Takeout

Class - Mile - 13.31
The lake that feeds Bluegrass Creek provides the takout.

Comments

No Gage

Gage Descriptions

Have you ever wondered how they get water into Bluegrass creek.  It is pumped by a short tunnel  from the Laramie after it leave Wheatland  #2.  That tunnel is past the takeout on this run.
Call 307-742-7657 (auto) or 307-742-0023 (voice) for the outlfow from Wheatland #2.
The water here is the same flow that feeds Bluegrass Creek past the takeout.

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.

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Save The Date: Wild West River Fest (WY)

7/3/2017
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.  

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Matt Muir

Revisions

Revision #Revision DateAuthorComment
1192256 06/04/07 n/a n/a