Animas - 04. Tacoma to Rockwood Rail Yard (Rockwood Box)

Animas, Colorado, US


04. Tacoma to Rockwood Rail Yard (Rockwood Box)

Usual Difficulty IV-V (for normal flows)
Length 2.6 Miles
Avg. Gradient 118 fpm
Max Gradient 120 fpm

In the gorge

In the gorge
Photo of John Huisjen by Andrew Althage taken 03/29/15 @ 500 cfs

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
usgs-09359020 300 - 1000 cfs IV-V 66d17h17m 68.9 cfs (too low)

River Description

The Rockwood Box is paddled as a continuation of the Upper Animas River in beautiful Southern Colorado.

If you feel you've been pushed to your max on the Upper then you should consider taking out at the Tacoma train stop. You can catch the last train around 5:30 pm (Check the current train schedule.) or if it's already passed your only option is to hike out along the tracks (although this is considered trespassing). If you arrive at Tacoma hungry for more action then continue on. Just be aware that the rapids become more challenging, the canyon walls provide fewer opportunities for exit, and finding the take-out is critical. Past the take-out the river plunges into the unrunnable Lower Rockwood Box. Check locally for the latest scouting report on the Box

For additional information see: Banks, G. and D. Eckhardt. 1999. Colorado Rivers and Creeks, 2nd edition.

Notes from the streamkeeper: The first rapid in the Rockwood box is known as Mandatory Thrashing by most kayakers and by The Guardian by some rafting companies (even though it is rarely rafted due to the strenuous hike out). At low to medium flows go far right. At medium to high flows run right down the center. This rapid is extremely difficult to scout.

Another difficult rapid you will come to is called Red Wall - a boulder choked affair with a center to left to center run, but might be totally different rapid at various flows.

About the takeout: there is a sign that says 'take out' and if you miss that there is a road on river right that should get your attention.

!! Whatever you do do not go past the TAKE OUT sign. (Unless you are spiderman or superman...)

Permit Information


StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2017-07-11 16:15:34


Stream team editor

Rapid Summary

Mile Rapid Name Class Features (Legend)
0.0Mandatory Thrashing5.0Waterfall Playspot
0.0Red WallVPlayspot

Rapid Descriptions

Mandatory Thrashing (Class 5.0)

heh heh... its the Box, so go with someone who knows this place

Red Wall (Class V)

Look for the Red Wall and then stay off it

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