Saint Vrain Creek, North, Colorado, US
|Usual Difficulty||III (for normal flows)|
|Avg. Gradient||56 fpm|
|Max Gradient||87 fpm|
|SAINT VRAIN CREEK AT LYONS, CO|
|codwr-SVCLYOCO0||150 - 400 cfs||III||01h12m||40 cfs (too low)|
Colorado front range experienced huge floods in September 2013 and resulted in massive changes to many rivers. In some places the roads were washed out. The restoration efforts took years. On the St Vrain there are massive changes to the riverbed on the lower sections. These also may be closed to boating in 2014. Not sure about the upper (top) runs as the extremely heavy rains were mostly at lower elevations so it's possible the upper section didn't experience unusually high flows. It's probably prudent to be prepared for effects of major flooding on the lower reaches of the upper runs.
There are two sections to Lower NSV. The first section "Shelly's Cottages" starts after the Middle North Saint Vrain and is a Class III+ creek run with one Class IV drop that has a lateral wave . The put-in is about 1 mile up CR 80 where the road departs from the river. CR 80 is about 4 miles away from Lyons on Rt 36 going towards Estes Park. The first rapid III+ is hard to enter since the No Trespassing signs start in the middle of the rapid. About 1 /2 mile below is a fun boulder garden rapid with Class III+ moves. From there is boogy water for another 1/2 mile to the Class IV lateral wave drop. Afterwards is Class III water that has some play. The takeout is at the wooden arched Apple Valley Bridge, which is about 1/2 mile downstream of the water diversion dam which has boat ramp on the right side. Minimum levels are about 200 cfs.
The second section, "Apple Valley," is Class II, which is about 3 miles long and starts at the wooden arched Apple Valley bridge (3 miles away from Lyons). About 1/4 mile downstream is a rock structure with the line on the river right side. Aftwards is Class II water that flows through a cool valley with great scenery and even passes by Planet Bluegrass. Watch for some wood on this run, since many old trees fall into the water, but most can easily be navigated. The river flows without any flatwater and is a great beginner run. The run ends at the Lyons Whitewater Park which has 9 drops to play in. The run can be extended to the Black Bear Hole 1 mile further. An old small ledge drop in this section has been fixed and is now a fun drop to run. Minimum flows are about 160 cfs for the Apple Valley run and about 80 cfs for just the Lyons Whitewater Park.
- Submitted by Arn Hayden
To Get There: The uppermost put-in is on CR80 at the MNSV takeout. If CR80 leaves the river you have gone too far. Apple Valley Bridge is obvious from Hwy 36 and is about 3 miles outside of Lyons. To get to the Lyons Whitewater Park is head south on Hwy 7 (left at main intersection) and go about 50 yards before turning right on Park Dr, if you cross the creek you've gone too far. The Black Bear Hole is located across the street from the Black Bear Inn on the main drag in Lyons.
See Colorado Rivers and Creeks II, by Banks and Eckardt (The Bible), for info on this and most of the other kewl runs of Colorado.
Lat/longitude coords are approximate, from TopoZone.