Boulder Creek - 01. Gun Shy to Jasper Creek

Boulder Creek, Colorado, US


01. Gun Shy to Jasper Creek (The Source)

Usual Difficulty V (for normal flows)
Length 2.5 Miles
Avg. Gradient 350 fpm
Max Gradient 392 fpm

Slot Machine

Slot Machine
Photo by Brian Adkins taken 06/01 @ very low

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
codwr-BOCMIDCO0 150 - 450 cfs V 01h26m 5.5 cfs (too low)

River Description

In 2003 the mile above Hellum's Waterfall was cleaned out and 1st descented. This has doubled the length of the run! The new top 1/2 has a different character, it is not gorged up and the inbetween stuff is easier while the named drops are bigger. The first of these is Gun Shy (Class V), 4 big ledge drops back-to-back with big holes and undercuts on both sides. Shortly downstream is Harvey Wallbanger (Class V), this is one ugly rapid and destined to be carnage central for the Source. It already has a reputation! There is a summer home sitting right next to this rapid, you must tresspass to scout so be very stealth. Just downstream is Hellum's Waterfall. The left channel will bounce down a technical sluice before dropping off a 10' fall and the right channel is a straight shot at a 15' vertical. Both options have rocky landings, and both have been done without pitoning. At this point you are at the old put-in. If this is your 1st time down it is impossible to remember every single cascade in the lower section. So concentrate your scout on the big cascade near the bottom - Dead Hiker Falls. DeForrestation Rapid, the first below Hellums, cleaned up in 2003 and no longer requires a scout. Every other rapid can be run on the fly. At medium to low flows you can expect a few minor pins in-between the major rapids, this run is really abusive to your boat. Think "manky-town". At high water (400cfs+) the rocks are nicely padded out but the creek starts to push into the trees and the holes get evil.

Do all hiking and scouting from river right because there is private property on the left.

Pics of the Upper Source can be found at Brian Adkins Webshots album, and pics of the Lower Source on Mike Albrecht's Webshots album.

To get there: Drive south out of Nederland towards Central City. At the edge of town turn right on the road to Eldora Ski Area, 1/4 mile down the road go straight instead of left to Eldora. After driving through a small town the pavement will end, another mile or so down the dirt road you will come to a fork in the road. To the right is the Fourth of July Road which takes you to the put-in, to the left is the Hessie Road and the take-out.

To get to the new put-in drive about a mile past Hellum's Waterfall, which is very obvious from the road, to a campground on the left. The campground is an undeveloped flat grassy field of about an acre in size with a couple of fire rings scattered about. The creek is only 50 feet from the road and mellow Class II at that point.

The takeout is 1/2 mile up the left fork, Hessie Road, or you can boat Class II(with wood hazards) down to the fork of the road. This latter option is a good idea for low clearance cars.

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.

The various reaches of Boulder Creek,
Jasper Creek (Class V+/VI),
The Source (Class V),
Upper Boulder Canyon (Class V/V+),
Lower Boulder Canyon (Class IV),
Boulder Town Run (Class II/III),
North Fork Boulder (Class V+/VI),
Alto-Alto (Class IV),
Upper South Boulder (Class V+/VI),
Lower South Boulder (Class IV/V+/VI),
Eldorado Canyon (Class V+).

StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2009-02-12 11:33:10


Rapid Summary

Mile Rapid Name Class Features (Legend)
0.5Gun Shy5.0Hazard Waterfall
0.8Harvey Wallbanger5.0Hazard Waterfall
1.0Hellums Waterfall5.0Access Hazard Waterfall Photo
1.2the willowsIV
1.3DeForrestation Rapid5.0Hazard Waterfall Photo
1.41st GorgeIV+
1.5Slot Machine5.0Waterfall Photo
1.6busy water5.0Photo
1.8Dead Hiker Falls5.0Waterfall
1.9more busy water5.0
2.0Cheese GraterIIITakeout Hazard

Rapid Descriptions

Put-in (Class II)
Put-in at a nice flat grassy field about an acre in size with a few fire rings scattered about.

Gun Shy (Class 5.0, Mile 0.5)
A series of 4 ledges back-to-back. The top drop has a must make boof to the right at the entrance, and has a sticky hole at the bottom with undercut rocks on both sides. The next 3 ledges are pretty simple.

Harvey Wallbanger (Class 5.0, Mile 0.8)
The current slams hard into the river right cliff in this tricky drop. The move is a right to left scramble at the last moment. This rapid has become the scene of the vast majority of the carnage on the Source.

Hellums Waterfall (Class 5.0, Mile 1.0)

Put-in for the Source

Put-in for the Source
Photo by Brian Adkins taken 06/01 @ very low

This is a 15' fall that lands on a pile of rocks. In 2003 it was run down the small river left channel regularily, the line looks bad but no-one pitoned.

Kickstart (Class IV, Mile 1.1)
An easy slide with a left turn halfway down.

the willows (Class IV, Mile 1.2)
Make sure to enter the river right channel into the willows directly after Kickstart. Ever been whipped by willows? This section has gotten seriously overgrown in the past few drought years with no flood water to scour out the overhanging vegetation so I've upgraded it to Class IV.

DeForrestation Rapid (Class 5.0, Mile 1.3)

DeForrestation Rapid

DeForrestation Rapid
Photo by Brian Adkins taken 06/01 @ very low

This rapid changed in 2003. It is easier and safer than before, the line is still a boof left but the broach rock at the bottom moved several feet out away from the bottom. Be heads up for this drop after passing under the second foot bridge. The entrance rapid (IV-)is manky as hell.

1st Gorge (Class IV+, Mile 1.4)
After some bony busy water there is a good 2 or 3 boat eddy on river right where you can boat scout the entrance to Slot Machine.

Slot Machine (Class 5.0, Mile 1.5)

Slot Machine

Slot Machine
Photo by Brian Adkins taken 06/01 @ very low

At about 3' wide this is the tightest drop on the run. There is a flat piton rock in the landing zone, but a good boof stroke is difficult. You can eddy out on river right 50' downstream.

busy water (Class 5.0, Mile 1.6)

Average terrain on the Source

Average terrain on the Source
Photo by Brian Adkins taken 06/01 @ very low

From here to Dead Hiker Falls it is continuous IV to V slides, ledges and boulder gardens. Keep on your toes and watch out for wood.

Dead Hiker Falls (Class 5.0, Mile 1.8)
This is the biggest cascade on the river. The second most likely rapid, after Harvey Wallbanger, to kick your ass.

more busy water (Class 5.0, Mile 1.9)
Continuos IV to V slides, ledges, and boulder gardens. About 100 yards below Dead Hiker Falls there is a short slide with an large eddy river right. Downstream, just after crossing under a large log that spans the whole stream, is a tricky little boulder drop that deserves a scout.

Cheese Grater (Class III, Mile 2.0)
Cheese Grater is a metal hazard 10' upstream of the takeout. Takeout at the bridge crossing the creek or continue downstream another 1/4 mile through Class II with wood hazards to the fork of Hessie Road and Fourth of July Road.

User Comments

Users can submit comments.
September 24 2005 (4865 days ago)
Craig IrwinDetails
Mank City, Colorado.
When we get a decent snow year, she'll go for a few weeks.
This run has some tricks.
Take your time to 'sus it out.

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