This photo needs editing.
Difficulty I-II
Length 7 Miles
Gauge SOUTH PLATTE RIVER AT FORT LUPTON, CO.
Flow Range 200 - 10000 CFS
Flow Rate as of: 1 hour ago 302 [CFS] ℹ️
Reach Info Last Updated 02/16/2009 8:18 pm

River Description


Hazards: large omnipresent strainers, bridge abutments, and one dam which might be dangerous at some water levels.

The following description is kindly provided by Nathan Packham:

Putin:
Go North from Denver on I-25 to I-76. Take I-76 East till Hwy-85. Go North on Hwy-85 until you get to the city of Brighton. Exit on Rte. 7 and put in at Veterans Park.

Takeout:
From the putin get back on Hwy-85 and go North 7 miles to Hwy-52 in Fort Lupton. Park in the dirt pull-off next to the river just at the bottom of the Hwy-52 off-ramp from Hwy 85.

This run is a great beginner run. I took my wife who has only been in a kayak a few times - but I wouldn't hesitate taking someone who had never been in a kayak. We went on a warm winter weekend when it was running about 200 cfs. We actually put in a couple miles downstream of the recommended put-in because with the flow so low we didn't want to be on the river all day. The run flows through farmland and prairie but is banked by trees on each side. Only a couple times does it angle over close enough to the highway for the traffic to be a distraction. We saw a bald eagle and some geese and something large splashed into the water behind us before we could see what it was. The dam was runnable - a six inch non-breaking wave with no recirculation - maybe it was lowered or opened for the winter somehow. It would be good to scout to make sure. 200 cfs was probably around the lowest it could be run by a kayak - we dragged bottom a couple times when we lost the sandy streambed. There are a few tires scattered along the run - and in one section the river bank is made of blasted concrete chunks. There are some nice views of the mountains in the distance. There are large fallen tree root tangles at many points in the river but they are easily seen far in advance and avoided.

Rapid Descriptions

Comments

default user thumbnail
Jason Czachor
|
6 years ago

The review above is spot on - prefect for beginners, but realistically, TOO slow. The water levels were really low (day of float said 216cfs, but that was about as low as could be floated). We scraped bottom a number of times - nothing where we had to get out and portage, but still low enough that it was a hassle. To be truthful, at this level, it could be a class 1 all day long, barring the first five minutes into the trip. My wife (first time "whitewater" kayaker) dumped before we were out of Veterans Park on a ~5 ft. drop - mostly my fault for not providing a proper "block of instruction". The rest of the day was "lazy river" - even the dam (which was open) was uneventful. Higher waters would probably pose a risk where portage would be suggested, but we just floated right under the dam doors and scratched the dam door bottom only slightly. Overall, a good run for a true kayak "virgin" but most people who have been on a kayak and can paddle fairly well will be looking for more. Overall trip time ~4 hours. Oh, almost forgot - the takeout section where it says to park is closed (no parking signs in a few places) - we went over the bridge to the other side of the river where there was a baseball field - there is a "road" behind the fields that leads to river access - not a super clean takeout (vegetation, swampy areas) but you can park within 100 yards and takeout just the same - no issue, just be aware.

Summary of Gauge Readings

Call Watertalk @ 831-7135, Division 1, Station 48.

Gauge NameReadingTimeComment
SOUTH PLATTE RIVER AT FORT LUPTON, CO.
AW Gauge Info
302 cfs ℹ️ 01h14m
;

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  
2016-05-06 n/a Fatality Inexperience Read More

Alerts

News

article main photo

Flow Survey Announced For Rio Grande And Conejos Rivers (CO)

2019-01-07 16:45:00-05
Evan Stafford

Alamosa, Colorado - American Whitewater needs your help to define streamflows that support the full range of recreational boating opportunities on the Rio Grande and Conejos Rivers in Southern Colorado. Information provided by you will help set goals for flows and physical conditions to protect and enhance streams, and inform multi-objective projects to improve ecological, recreational, and community values. Please participate in our survey today!

article main photo

AW releases Saint Vrain and Lefthand Creek Recreational Flow Study - CO

2018-12-14 12:19:00-05
Nathan Fey

Longmont, Colorado - As part of a comprehensive Stream Management Plan for the St Vrain Creek Watershed, American Whitewater is collecting and compiling data on recreational uses, and identifying projects and strategies to improve stream health, recreation, and environmental conditions in the region. You can help with this extensive effort. Please participate in the Recreational Flow survey.

 

article main photo

Support Colorado River Access on Colorado Gives Day!

2018-11-29 17:02:00-05
Kestrel Kunz

Colorado Gives Day is on December 4 this year and is fast approaching! Go here to schedule your online donation to support American Whitewater's Colorado River Access Program. All donations made to American Whitewater on Colorado Gives Day (December 4) will be put towards our River Access Program in Colorado. American Whitewater works to improve river access and public safety throughout the state by working with landowners and managers, paddlers, law enforcement, and lawmakers to understand Colorado's river access laws and the ongoing threats to public safety. Thank you for your support!

article main photo

Voluntary River Closure Proposed On the Slate River (CO)

2018-11-02 13:33:00-04
Kestrel Kunz

Crested Butte CO - Alleged disruption to a Heron Rookery and concerned private landowners have led to a "Voluntary Closure" of the Slate River from the Gunsight Bridge to the Town of Crested Butte between March 15 and June 21 for the 2019 season. The Slate River between Oh Be Joyful Campground and Skyland Bridge, a 10.5 mile stretch, provides an incredibly scenic and unique flatwater paddling experience in the Gunnison Valley. The Voluntary clsoure is a product of the Slate River Floating Management Plan, created by a Working Group convened by the Town of Crested Butte and the Crested Butte Land Trust. The Working Group was created in direct response to pressure from the local community including conservationists and private landowners adjacent to the river, who are concerned that a recent increase in boating activity is disturbing a Heron Rookery that straddles the Slate River. 

article main photo

AW Comments on Colorado Nat'l Forest Wilderness Process

2018-09-05 10:00:00-04
Kestrel Kunz

Today, September 5, marked the close of the public review process for the DRAFT Wilderness Evaluation Report. The Evaluation Phase is the second step of 4 different steps required in the assessment of lands that may be suitable for inclusion in the National Wilderness Preservation System (NWPS). American Whitewater thoroughly reviewed the DRAFT Wilderness Evaluation Report and submitted our comments to the Forest Service on September 4, 2018. Overall, we found that key paddling reaches throughout the GMUG area were greatly under-represented in the Polygon narratives and thus weren't acknowledged as contributing factors to the Polygon's respective Wilderness Ratings. We let the Forest Service know this, highlighting specific paddling reaches that should be added to each Polygon and which Polygons we believe should have a higher Wilderness Rating based on the high-quality recreation opportunities that each area has to offer. 

Please stay tuned as we continue to report on the GMUG Land Management Revision Process and in the meantime you can learn more about the GMUG here. (Photo of Josh King by Nick Spitzer)

article main photo

2018 Colorado Whitewater Events

2018-04-02 08:39:00-04
Kestrel Kunz

It's that time of year folks! Colorado Event Season is soon upon us. Whether you've been training all winter in preparation or whether you just enjoy a good show and boating with your friends, these classic Colorado river events are not to miss! 

In addition to the many whitewater festivals that American Whitewater partners with in Colorado, we are excited to announce that AW is hosting Gore Fest again this year! We hope to see you at Rancho Del Rio on August 24 - 26. Stay tuned for more details on race registration, entertainment, and volunteer opportunities.

article main photo

TAKE ACTION: Comment on the Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area Management Plan

2017-11-01 19:24:00-04
Kestrel Kunz

ARKANSAS RIVER, Colo. - The Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area (AHRA) is revising their Management Plan for the first time since 2001. The new Draft Plan was made publicly available in October and the AHRA is accepting public comments through November 10, 2017 (next week!). In order to design effective and productive comments, American Whitewater has thoroughly reviewed the Draft Plan, discussed the Plan with our local Affiliate Clubs, attended AHRA Public Open Houses, and reached out to key members of the local paddling community. To make it easy for you to SUBMIT YOUR COMMENTS, American Whitewater staff have compiled our key concerns and comments for your review. 

article main photo

Colorado Honors the legacy of Matt Brown

2017-10-30 14:17:00-04
Nathan Fey

Gunnison, Colorado - Last Wednesday, Matt Brown - longtime river guide, adventurer, and pillar of the Gunnison Valley community- passed away tragically after an accident in Moab. Matt was so much to so many.  At the request of his family and friends, contributions in Matt's memory can be made to American Whitewater’s River Access work in Colorado.  Matt was a strong ally and advisor in our work to protect the public’s rights to float and fish in the State.  We miss him immensely.

article main photo

Comments needed on Upper Colorado River Recreation Area Management Plan

2017-08-28 12:10:00-04
Nathan Fey

Kremmling, Colorado - The Bureau of Land Management has released for public review and comment a set of preliminary alternatives for managing about 40 miles of the Upper Colorado River between Parshall and State Bridge - including Gore Canyon and Pumphouse. This is your chance to weigh in on whether there should be a day-use permit;  a camping permit with designated campsites in the popular stretch between Pumphouse and State Bridge; and expanding the developed Pumphouse Campground.

article main photo

Gore Fest 2017 is a few weeks away!

2017-08-09 12:45:00-04
Nathan Fey

Bond, Colorado - American Whitewater is presenting Gore Canyon Festival - August 25-27th 2017Online registration is open and there are events for everyone, so sign up today! 

article main photo

A Successful River Cleanup on the St. Vrain (Lyons, CO)

2017-06-07 16:25:00-04
Kestrel Kunz

On Sunday, nearly 50 people gathered on the banks of the St. Vrain River to pick up trash from the water and the shoreline. We started the day off with Hotbox Roasters coffee and donuts, and a few words about River Stewardship – the common cause that brought us all together. We found bedframes, rusty nails, lawn chairs, car doors, plastic water bottles, candy wrappers, fast food containers, and it doesn’t stop there. Our findings are likely a combination of leftover debris from the floods, illegal waste dumping along the river, and built up trash from years of careless passers-by. Thank you to all those that came out for the river cleanup! American Whitewater depends on our affiliate clubs, members, and dedicated volunteers in order to tackle our many River Stewardship projects.  

article main photo

Releases to Lower Dolores River certain in 2017.

2017-02-17 12:33:00-05
Nathan Fey

Cortez, Colorado - Last week, American Whitewater met with local water managers, fisheries biologists, an other interests in Dolores River water, to start negotiating releases from McPhee Dam - like we do every spring.  This year, things are looking very good for the Dolores...

article main photo

Upper Colorado River Access funded by Land & Water Conservation Fund - CO

2017-02-06 14:14:00-05
Nathan Fey

Dotsero, Colorado - A key river access point on the Upper Colorado river, once threatened with closure, has now been permanently protected through a partnership between BLM and Eagle County. 

article main photo

One more day to submit input on Colorado's Brown Canyon National Monument!

2017-01-17 15:47:00-05
Kestrel Kunz

There is only one more day left to share what you value most in the Browns Canyon National Monument planning area! The Bureau of Land Management, U.S Forest Service, and Colorado Parks and Wildlife are working together to develop a Coordinated Management Plan for Browns Canyon National Monument. In order to design a plan that most benefits citizens and visitors of Colorado, the agencies designed an Online Survey and Mapping Tool to understand how the public interacts with the Browns Canyon planning area and what aspects of the area are most important to the public.

 

article main photo

New Report on Impact to San Miguel River From Proposed Reservoirs

2017-01-09 00:00:00-05
Evan Stafford

Colorado - American Whitewater has released a new study on whitewater recreation in the San Miguel River Basin. The Colorado Water Conservation Board (CWCB) requested that Montrose County consult with American Whitewater on recreational needs and future impacts for the San Miguel River. Montrose County acquired conditional water rights to the San Miguel River in hopes of building multiple new reservoirs on BLM land. American Whitewater worked with Montrose County’s agents to assess the impact its conditional storage proposals would have on existing recreational opportunities. 

article main photo

Proposed Asphalt and Gravel Mine threatens the Upper Colorado River

2016-12-06 11:10:00-05
Evan Stafford

A new proposal to allow the development of a 90- acre open pit mine in Eagle County at the gateway to the Colorado River has local river users asking questions. We encourage everyone to attend an Open House December 6 at 6 PM at the Gypsum Recreation Center, and to make your voices heard at the Town Council meeting where they will discuss the application on December 13 at 7 PM.

 

 
article main photo

Lyons Outdoor Games and Burning Can to Support AW

2013-05-15 16:14:00-04
Nathan Fey

Lyons, Colorado - For the second year in a row, Oskar Blues Brewery is hosting the Burning Can Festival at this year Lyons Outdoor Games.  Burning Can, which takes place under the backdrop of Rocky Mountain National Park and the St. Vrain River, is a celebration of good beer, served in a can.  This year, All money raised from Lyons Outdoor Games recycled cans will be donated to American Whitewater. See you there!

article main photo

AW launches Flow Study for Yampa River

2011-03-03 00:00:00-05
Nathan Fey

Colorado - American Whitewater is conducting a study of flow-recreation relationships for the Yampa Basin, and identifying specific metrics for use in the Watershed Flow Evaluation Tool. This study is intended to inform local, state, and federal planning efforts as to the full range and quality of recreational boating opportunities for the Wild and Scenic suitable Yampa River, as well as the Elk and White Rivers, and their tributaries. Your participation in the flow survey is requested.

article main photo

River Access Task Force Submits Recommendations to Colorado Governor

2011-02-02 00:00:00-05
Nathan Fey

Colorado - On December 23, Governor Bill Ritter issued a report outlining a series of proposals for resolving disputes between landowners and rafters in Colorado. He also signed an executive order creating the River Access Mediation Commission to provide a way for some of the most contentious conflicts between boaters and property owners to be addressed. The Governor’s River Access Dispute Resolution Task Force was a 17-member group created in July of 2010 to help craft ways to sort out conflicts on Colorado rivers on a stretch-by-stretch basis as those disputes arise.

article main photo

Help Protect the Yampa River - Colorado

2010-09-30 00:00:00-04
Nathan Fey

Colorado - Last month, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) released their proposed management plan for the Little Snake Resource Area, encompassing over a million acres of soaring plateaus, wild and scenic rivers, and sweeping sagebrush basins.  Special interests are trying to overturn the Bureau of Land Management’s plans to protect portions of the Yampa River – one of the nation's last free flowing rivers.    Let BLM know that protections for these rivers are important to you!

user-avatar

Matt Muir