Arkansas - 01. Granite to Numbers Launch Site

Arkansas, Colorado, US


01. Granite to Numbers Launch Site (Pinecreek)

Usual Difficulty IV-V (varies with level)
Length 6 Miles
Avg. Gradient 58 fpm
Max Gradient 200 fpm

Pine Creek Canyon

Pine Creek Canyon
Photo of Pine Creek Rapid at 800 cfs by Brad Goettemoeller ( @ 800 cfs

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
usgs-07087050 200 - 5000 cfs IV-V 110d18h29m 83.4 cfs (too low)

River Description

Pine Creek through the numbers ... a classic Colorado run.

This run is not to be taken lightly and still not featured in the latest sikbird video.

This is the steepest section of the Arkansas River and is fun at every level.

The normal middle range of flows (1200cfs-2000cfs) is the most challenging. The run gets very defined with the crux s-bend move becoming tight. At these levels the s-bend hole is sticky and will punish you. Since the advent of play boats I have noticed that it seems less severe than when it used to eat Freefalls and other big bouncy boats. Pine Creek rapid proper is generally described in three sections. 1. The entrance: The top of the rapid is fast and pushy but not super demanding. 2. The s-bend: The s-bend move is tough, you need to make a move to the left or right to avoid a big hole it is moving really fast and many people don't know whats coming by the time they are on top of the hole. Swims here can be rough so if you don't like the looks of it put in below the hole in the first good eddy. The classic move is to the left but I have always thought the right run was a safer bet. 3. Triple Drop: Below the s-bend there is a short lull (100ft.) and then you are into the triple drop. This seciton is super fun and fast. Run the triple drop up the middle and hang on!

Below the triple drop the river goes into fun class IV rapids. There is great play as catch on the fly surfing Class IV goes.

Below Pine Creek section there is a huge granite boulder in the middle of the river that pinches the main flow between a smaller boulder on the left. This makes a great cartwheel spot at flows between 800cfs and about 1500cfs.

This run may not be consider as super hard by new school standards. This run does and has had severe consequneces for many boaters.

Be vigilant at the S-Turn Rapid. Any swims on this section are survival mode claw-yourway-to-shore swimming. Ditch the boat, save the life. 

Powerful forces are underway, choose life.  Pine Creek Rapid is really cold and the rapid is continous The run out is not forgiving. Take this run seriously.

To Get There: Highway 24 parallels the run on river right although you can only see the river in a couple places. Put in at the small town of Granite at Hwy 24 mile 193.8 where County Road 397 crosses the river to an access on river left. There is an alternate access a couple miles downstream below the broken up dam that is used as a put-in particularly when flows are low. This access is reached from Hwy 24 mile 195.7 where you turn onto the dirt road headed upstream to an access site below the dam that still puts you upstream of Pine Creek rapid. If you're just doing a short run you can take-out at the Numbers access. At Hwy 24 mile 199.9 head down towards the river and before crossing Scott's Bridge turn left headed upstream. It's a mile up this dirt road to the Numbers access site. Alternatively, most folks just continue on downstream and run the Numbers and take-out after #5 or at the Railroad Bridge access.

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.

See also Pinecreek (Class IV/V),
The Numbers (Class IV),
Fractions/ Frogrock/ Milkrun (Class III),
Buena Vista (Class III),
Browns Canyon (Class III),
Salida (Class III),
Rincon (Class III),
Pinnacle Rock (Class III),
Royal Gorge (Class III/IV).



StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2017-07-09 20:41:48


Stream team editor

Rapid Descriptions

icon of message No rapids entered. If you know names, and locations of the rapids please contact and advise the StreamTeam member for this run.

User Comments

Users can submit comments.
May 10 2011 (2811 days ago)
Dan DyerDetails
This description of the Granite run only mentions Pine Creek Rapid...any chance of getting a
description of the Granite run?