Bluegrass Creek - Tunnel outlet to Highway 34

Bluegrass Creek, Wyoming, US


Tunnel outlet to Highway 34

Usual Difficulty II-V+ (for normal flows)
Length 20 Miles
Avg. Gradient 67 fpm

Small Version of Main Event

Small Version of Main Event
Photo of Bryan Houle by Brian Adkins taken 07/19/03 @ 362 cfs

River Description

This is a bizarre post-season run courtesy of the ranchers of south-east Wyoming. The water in Wheatland Reservoir #2, which comes from the Laramie River, is siphoned off into Bluegrass Creek. You will have a 23 mile (guestimate) run with 20+ fences over the creek, 3 BIG V to V+ rapids, 2 or 3 miles of fun III/IV, and 20 miles of swift moving Class II.

The beta in CRCII is outdated on this run. The Flying X Ranch no longer welcomes paddlers and you have no choice but to do the 23 mile run.

The put-in is truly bizarre with the water coming out of a hole in the side of the hill and proceding to immediately cascade(V+) down what was once a sagebrush filled draw. The streambed is only as old as the diversion, 50-60 years max?, so the bedrock is jagged and scary looking. This section reminds me of No Fun Falls of Bear Creek, on steroids and/or crack. The gradient looks to be about 300fpm or so for 1/2 mile until the water dumps into Bluegrass Creek proper.

At the bottom you are unceremoniously dumped into the main channel of Bluegrass Creek, relax, there is only about 10 miles of Class II until the next significant rapids.

It is hard to say what Bluegrass Creek is. Is it a Class V hair run with a lot of flatwater? Is it an intermediate run with 2 long, but easy, portages? From both perspectives it has some major negatives, but considering the lack of other kayaking opportunities in the area during the time of year this runs it is actually worth it. Just remember the Advil and consider it an adventure.

StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2011-09-14 20:29:37

Rapid Summary

Mile Rapid Name Class Features (Legend)
0.0Stampede!5.2Putin Portage Hazard Waterfall
0.3Bucking Bronco5.2Portage Hazard Waterfall
0.5Class IIIIHazard
10.0Good TimesIVPlayspot
15.0The Main Event5.1Portage Hazard Waterfall
15.5Class IIIIHazard
23.0Highway 34IITakeout Hazard

Rapid Descriptions

Stampede! (Class 5.2)
Stampede!(V+) is an 18' waterfall at the put-in, which funnelizes(aka - no eddys) you into an 8' pourover that slams into a jagged wall. After that you've got about 100 yards of swift eddyless III/IV before you should eddy out on the right and scout the next bit of hair.

Bucking Bronco (Class 5.2, Mile 0.3)
Bucking Bronco(V+) has 2 or 3 severe lateral cross currents before launching you off a 10' ski jump of a ledge. The run out to Bucking Bronco is about 200 yards of swift eddyless IV+ to V-(depending on waterlevel or who you ask).

Class II (Class II, Mile 0.5)
At this point you will want to keep a sharp eye out for barbwire fences, you will most likely encounter 20+ before the takeout. Some are in better repair than others. For most of them I was able to find a weak spot and push myself under the wires. But watch out for those well constructed ones with tight wires. There are also a handfull of lowhead dams, we were able to run all of them.

Good Times (Class IV, Mile 10.0)
Somewhere around mile 10 to 12 the creek drops into a scenic bedrock canyon. The rapids in here are of the highest quality III with the occasional IV and one IV+. After 2 or 3 miles of good times the rapids will mellow out again for a while before reaching The Main Event

The Main Event (Class 5.1, Mile 15.0)
The Main Event(V) looks like something straight out of California, it is a series 3 big drops carved into smooth bedrock. 1. There is a long bedrock slide that slams into the river right wall, creating a massive hole/pillow 2. Then the creek charges off an 18' waterfall into a cauldron. 3. There is a short inescapable gorge before a final steep 18' slide with a stout hole at the bottom.

Class II (Class II, Mile 15.5)
Pop some Advil and continue downstream for the final 5 or 6 miles of Class II until the highway. There are some ranch houses near the creek in this final stretch, and this is the location of those well constructed barbwire fences over the creek.

Highway 34 (Class II, Mile 23.0)
The takeout. One of the worst fences is right under the bridge, class II with a complete lack of a good eddy above it.

User Comments

Users can submit comments.
September 14 2011 (2202 days ago)
Paul MartzenDetails
The Wheatland tunnel was constructed between 1883 and 1886 by the Wyoming Development Corporation.
Canals #1 & 2 were constructed at the same time. The reservoirs were constructed a bit later; 1901
for reservoir #2.

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