Arkansas - 02. The Numbers

Arkansas, Colorado, US


02. The Numbers (Numbers Launch to Railroad Bridge Launch)

Usual Difficulty IV (varies with level)
Length 5.98 Miles
Avg. Gradient 71 fpm

(RM) All of Number 5

(RM) All of Number 5
Photo by Rob Maxwell @ 960

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
usgs-07087050 300 - 3500 cfs III-IV 108d07h22m 83.4 cfs (too low)
usgs-07091200 200 - 3500 cfs IV 108d07h22m 189 cfs (too low)

River Description

The Numbers is widely considered just about the best Class IV run in the state of Colorado. At low levels the river channelizes and is fun IV- down to about 300cfs for playboaters. At about 1000cfs the rapids graduate to IV proper, and over 2200cfs they take on a IV+ character.

There are six major Class IV rapids creatively named number 1 through 6, although most takeout shortly after #5. Rapid #1 is the most technical, but #4 and #5 generally have the most carnage. Above 3000cfs, the run takes on a big water character, massive holes abound. At this level a powerfull 8 foot surfing wave forms at the base of rapid 1 and 1/2.

There is a lot of private property around the rapids so scouting is most likely illegal. Do what you have to do to be safe. As noted above, most people take out just after #5 where there are an abundance of unofficial takeouts. If the water level is medium to high consider making the most of a short run and takeout below #6 at the railroad trestle.

Elevations: The river at the launch area is about 8,640 feet, while the take out at the railroad trestle is about 8,247 feet. 

Other Information Sources:
Colorado Rivers and Creeks II, by Banks and Eckardt (The Bible)

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: 2017-10-14 18:11:27


Stream team editor
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Big Fork, MT 59911
Phone: 301-602-3405

Rapid Summary

Mile Rapid Name Class Features (Legend)
0.0Numbers Launch AreaN/APutin Photo
1.4Scott's BridgeN/AAccess
2.8371 BridgeN/AAccess Photo
3.3Take Out below #5N/AAccess
6.0Railroad Bridge Take outN/ATakeout Photo

Rapid Descriptions

Numbers Launch Area (Class N/A)

(RM) Numbers Launch

(RM) Numbers Launch
Photo of Milt Aitken, Kirk Duchow and Dave Cannon by Rob Maxwell @ 960

Pay a state park fee to park and launch here.  This access location is managed by the State Parks, but was acquired with the efforts of American Whitewater. 

#1 (Class IV, Mile 1.3)

Enter center right, after pour over work way back to left

#1.5 (Class III, Mile 1.4)

One and 1/2 Wave

One and 1/2 Wave
Photo of Tom Campbell by Brian Adkins taken 06/03 @ 3000cfs - high

Changes with the flow.

#2 (Class IV, Mile 1.9)

(RM) Number 2

(RM) Number 2
Photo of Dave Cannon by Rob Maxwell @ 960

Enter in center and pretty much run down the middle.  (at 2300 - 2500 cfs)

#3 (Class IV, Mile 2.1)

This rapid has a meaningful hole in the top middle at 2400 cfs. There was a narrow smooth line down the left and a wider smooth line down the right, but had to cut back left at the bottom (after passing the hole) to miss a rock.  Just go right or left to avoid the top center hole and read-and-run from there.

#4 (Class IV, Mile 2.5)

#4 around 2300 cfs

#4 around 2300 cfs
Photo taken 06/16/14

Run center left and avoid the meat of the wave holes just to the left.  Stay away from the diversion channel halfway down on the river right bank and a pour-over rock (pour-over @ 2300cfs, prob sticking out of the water at lower water level) on river left.  don't get complacent when you are done with the rapid as there were a few holes in the bottom left of the runout of the rapid.
i recommend scouting #4 from the river left bank.  there is a dirt road close to this rapid and you can drive up to see it prior to putting on the river or just get out above the rapid.

371 Bridge (Class N/A, Mile 2.8)

looking upstream at runout of #4

looking upstream at runout of #4
Photo taken 06/16/14

#5 (Class IV, Mile 2.9)

Number 5

Number 5
Photo of Eric Bessette by Thomas O'Keefe © taken 06/03/04

This rapid follows immediately after a bridge.  The river makes an S turn, right then left.   There is a private house on river left, so you can't scout. There are some good eddy's on the river right bank near the entrance tongue / drop so you can take a break and evaluate your line.

Enter the rapid by the steep slot on river right.  Work back center left to avoid a hole, then follow the flow.   


Take Out below #5 (Class N/A, Mile 3.3)

Some people like to do a short run and take out below #5. Just after passing underneath powerlines, take out on river left.  There are large turnouts that provide easy access  to and from the public road.

#6 (Class IV, Mile 4.3)

I recall starting center left, driving to the right to avoid a hole on the left.  I aimed for a small rock island on the right side of the flow as a landmark.  Once passed the rock island on the left side, I drove back to the left to avoid a hole on the right. 

Railroad Bridge Take out (Class N/A, Mile 6.0)

(RM) RR Bridge Numbers Take-Out

(RM) RR Bridge Numbers Take-Out
Photo of RR Bridge Take-Out by Rob Maxwell @ 960

As the railroad bridge comes into view, look for a developed boat ramp on river left. 

There are a few campsites here along with toilets.

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