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Difficulty IV
Length 0.75 Miles
Gauge EAST RIVER BELOW CEMENT CREEK NR CRESTED BUTTE, CO
Flow Range 600 - 3000 CFS
Flow Rate as of: 1 hour ago 790 [CFS] ℹ️
Reach Info Last Updated 03/26/2019 3:43 pm

River Description


In the shadow of spectacular Gothic Mountain, the Upper East is the easiest of the Crested Butte creeks. There are 6 slides that deserve a quick scout. If your a Class V paddler take your play boat and surf every single wave the whole way down. Confident Class III boaters should be able to make it down this run as long as they have good babysitters.

The end of this stretch includes “Stupid Falls”, a spectacular vert to slide waterfall that is 60 feet tall. At moderate flows, the upper stretch provides an unique opportunity for intermediate paddlers to test their skills on slides and moderately sized slides. At high water, this can be the most challenging run in Crested Butte. This segment is set in the Gothic Valley, the wildflower capital of Colorado and provides scenic views of the East River corridor.

To get there: Take Gothic Rd out of Crested Butte until you cross the river. This bridge is the put-in. To get to the takeout continue down the road another 50 yards past the bridge and take the first dirt road on the right. About a mile down that road keep an eye out for a large flat field to the right with the grass next to the road trampled down a bit from parking. Look for a small trail leading to the far corner of the field, this is where to scout Stupid Falls and the takeout.

The Quadruple Crown: Because of the short length and proximity of the Crested Butte creeks all 4 of them can be run in the same day. The East River is the best to start out with; it has the largest flow and the least gradient of the four. Next in line is Daisy Creek. Just continue downstream after Daisy to the confluence with the Slate River; there will be about 1/2 mile of slack water until the first rapid. The takeout for the Slate River is the same as Oh Be Joyful Creek so just walk or drive up to the OBJ put-in from there.

Rapid Descriptions

Midget Wrestler

Class - IV Mile - 0.2
Rapid Thumbnail Missing
The small but potent hole at the bottom is the "midget", and he is grumpy. There are two lines, left and right. The left line is a bit easier, you start center and work left, just squeeking by the midget on the left. The right line you follow the wave train down the right side and over a stompin' ledge, then slide over the shallow ledge to the right of the midget. This is the only hard rapid that can be seen from Gothic Road.

Slide #2

Class - III Mile - 0.3
Rapid Thumbnail Missing
This is almost a waterfall, it drops about 12' of nearly vertical with no hydraulic. Run it left of center, follow the green water.

Slides #3, 4, & 5

Class - III Mile - 0.4
Rapid Thumbnail Missing
Three short 5' vertical slides that are back-to-back. There is a log on the left in the last slide.

Slide #6

Class - IV Mile - 0.6
Rapid Thumbnail Missing
A bony diagonal ledge at top is followed with a large hole on bottom left. Enter center left and work right.

Stupid Falls

Class - 5.3 Mile - 0.75
Rapid Thumbnail Missing
This is a 60' stair-stepping incentive to make sure you know where to take out. The falls are actually run quite frequently, by those with rubber spines and/or good chiropractors!

Comments

Gage Descriptions

This creek is fed entirely by the days snowmelt so the later you put on the higher the flow will be. Peak flows are at sunset or shortly after.

Before June look for minimum flows of 1000 cfs or higher. Early in spring the gauges, located far downstream of the actual reach, are mostly reading snow melt from lower elevations.

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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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Date Flow Result Factor  
1997-06-15 Medium Injury Poor Planning Read More

Alerts

News

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Gunnison Flow Study: Success, Next steps underway

2013-10-14 13:51:00-04
Chris Menges

American Whitewater is pleased release a full report on the results of our summer 2013 Gunnison River Flow Survey, in addition to recommendations for regional water managers. This data will enable the management community to better evaluate opportunities to protect recreational flows in the Gunnison Basin now and into the future. Please read the post for full results and how we are using them.

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Help Protect Crested Butte Area Rivers and Creeks under Wild and Scenic Act

2019-02-26 12:09:30-05
Kestrel Kunz

The Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre, and Gunnison National Forests (GMUG) are conducting a Wild and Scenic River Eligibility Evaluation as part of the current Forest Plan Revision process. While the Forest Service is mandated to conduct an Eligibility Study as part of the Plan Revision process, this opportunity only happens every 15-20 years and we need to ensure that the Study is comprehensive and robust. We need YOU to share your love and knowledge of these rivers with the Forest Service! We've put together an easy-to-use tool for you to submit comments here. Please consider personalizing your comments and take the time to review the Forest Service's Story Map of the Eligibility Evaluation. 

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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.

 

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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!

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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. 

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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)

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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. 

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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.

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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.

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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! 

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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.  

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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...

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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. 

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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.

 

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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. 

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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.

 

 
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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!

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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.

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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.

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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!

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Take Action on Colorado's Right to Float Bill!

2010-03-04 00:00:00-05
Nathan Fey

This spring, the Colorado Legislature is considering a bill, which helps protect the rights of commercial boaters to float on commercial sections of river, and increases the safety of boaters by decriminalizing incidental contact with private land to portage obstacles. HB -1188 is a good bill, but doesn't go far enough! HB-1188 passed out of the House by a vote of 40-25, and is scheduled to be introduced in the Senate Judiciary Committee for a vote on March 17th. We urge you to contact members of Colorado’s Senate Judiciary Committee and ask them to support HB-1188, and to amend the bill to include all members of the paddling public.

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Vote Today! Should Recreational Boaters have a Right to Float in Colorado?

2010-02-23 00:00:00-05
Nathan Fey

A couple of Colorado media outlets came out opposed to HB 1188! But we can fight back and let our opinions be heard too.

VOTE NOW in the ONLINE POLL - it takes 1 minute!

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Matt Muir

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Chris Menges

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Kestrel Kunz