Bear Creek - 01. Idledale to Morrison

Bear Creek, Colorado, US


01. Idledale to Morrison

Usual Difficulty III-V (for normal flows)
Length 3 Miles
Avg. Gradient 185 fpm

Bear Creek spring 2015

Bear Creek spring 2015
Photo by Craig D. Irwin taken 05/06/15

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
codwr-BCRMORCO0 120 - 650 cfs III-V 47d03h25m 8.96 cfs (too low)

River Description

Bear Creek is an intermittent stream with the roadside qualities of being fast-paced and definitely impacted by a number of concrete structures, diversions and wood.
Bear Creek contains Colorado-style Class IV/V with plenty of small waterfalls packing unique power and hydrology. Being near Denver, expect urban stormwater while the willow, tamarisk and russian olive whip you into the next rapid.
Bear Creek is a very small streambed, so expect facial combat with overhanging vegetation.
Some stretches are notorious for it's sticky hydraulics at high water.

Its not advised over +/- 500 CFS by most. Your visual inspection will cause lots of questioning (sikbird level @+/- 600 CFS). 
Bear Creek flows through JeffCO parks and has a number of good hikes with a stick to explore local geological features.

The flooding of September 2013 resulted in significant changes to many Colorado rivers. Bear Creek flooded at this time also and due to the damages state agencies continue mitigation efforts into 2015.

Streambed alterations and woody debris are common. These structures may cause significant and instant streambed alteration causing WTF moments. (WTF:Welcome to Frontrange... ) There are frequently lumber piles and strainers on Bear Creek.
** Now watch out for that low bridge!! This run and many other Colorado Streams and Rivers are all surrounded by competing water providers and urban straws.

Pics of Bear Creek and Colorado classics at Webshots photo album.

Please help American Whitewater to provide you better access and safer runs through Bear Creek by donating $100 to American Whitewater and becoming an annual member.

For a special 2015 offer, get in touch with AWA when you donate and contact the Streamkeeper for this stream reach and you may be eligible for one guided tour of Bear Creek and the beer of your choice at take out.

Thank you for supporting American Whitewater.
May Colorado's amazing natural resources only get more purifie, protected and accessible.

Permit Information

This run is heavily permitted by the Jefferson County funsquad. Colorado has lots of private land and interesting access issues. To get your permit to run Bear Creek, call American Whitewater and donate $100. AWA can provide you contact information to the streamkeeper of this reach whereupon you will receive one personal trip down Bear Creek for each $100 donated to AWA.

StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2015-07-07 00:48:35


Stream team editor

Rapid Summary

Mile Rapid Name Class Features (Legend)
0.0IdledaleIVPutin Hazard
0.3No Scout Falls5.0Waterfall
0.81st Slide5.0Waterfall
1.0No Fun Falls5.1Portage Hazard Waterfall
1.62nd Slide5.0Waterfall
2.2Diversion Dam5.0Access Waterfall
2.5Hair O' the Bear5.0Waterfall
3.0Morrison City ParkIVTakeout

Rapid Descriptions

Idledale (Class IV)

Putin at the first street you come to in Idledale.

Park smart, like you live there and dont want to screw your neighbors. Do not block driveways.

Please find a safe vehicle pullout by the creek or highway. There is a low water bridge 100 ft downstream, at 250cfs you have to duck to get under it.

At over 700cfs, call 911 and begin rescue breathing.

No Scout Falls (Class 5.0, Mile 0.3)
A disgruntled land owner overlooks this rapid, you can't scout this rapid without tresspassing on his land. At least it's relatively easy. Take the far right channel, boof left over a juicy hole, then go with the flow as is it zig-zags back and forth.

1st Slide (Class 5.0, Mile 0.8)
Just downstream from a tight corkskrewing rapid, run it center right.

No Fun Falls (Class 5.1, Mile 1.0)

Long and pushy entrance into steep little gorge, through a couple big holes then over a 10' waterfall.

Beware of the right side at the bottom.

2nd Slide (Class 5.0, Mile 1.6)

Run right but not too far right to avoid overhanging rock on bank for flows under 250cfs.

Diversion Dam (Class 5.0, Mile 2.2)
No keeper hydraulic at the bottom so boof away! If you've had your hands full above take out here.

Hair O' the Bear (Class 5.0, Mile 2.5)

This hectic 1/2 mile long rapid is chock full of big holes, and has no eddyies.

This face scraping run provides a thick tunnel of overhanging willows. Not a good place to swim... all of Bear Creek that is.

High flow note: at over 650cfs this section is NOT advised.

Morrison City Park (Class IV, Mile 3.0)
Continuous pushy white water all the way to the take out. Get out just before the bridge over the creek, on river left. From the main drag in Morrison turn left at Maple Ave, then right at Bear Creek Ave just before the bridge over the creek. Follow the signs for Morrison City Park.

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