Difficulty IV
Length 5.98 Miles
Flow Range 200 - 3500 CFS
Flow Rate as of: 57 minutes ago 302 [CFS] 👍 ⚠️
Reach Info Last Updated 04/08/2019 7:24 pm

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 these levels, a powerful 8-foot surfing wave forms at the base of rapid #1.5.
Much of the land on either side of the river is private property, 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 is 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).

Rapid Descriptions

Numbers Launch Area

Class - N/A Mile - 0

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. 


Class - IV Mile - 1.3
Rapid Thumbnail Missing

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

Scott's Bridge

Class - N/A Mile - 1.37
Rapid Thumbnail Missing


Class - III Mile - 1.4

Changes with the flow.


Class - IV Mile - 1.92

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


Class - IV Mile - 2.09
Rapid Thumbnail Missing

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.


Class - IV Mile - 2.5
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


Class - IV Mile - 2.9

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
Rapid Thumbnail Missing

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.


Class - IV Mile - 4.29
Rapid Thumbnail Missing

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 - 5.98

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.


default user thumbnail
Bob M
5 years ago

how is there absolutely zero beta on this run?

Gage Descriptions

Low: 300 - 1,000 cfs
Med: 1,000 - 2,200 cfs
High: 2,200 cfs and up



Directions Description

To Get There: The put-in for the Numbers can be found at Hwy 24 mile 199.9 where a dirt road turns down to the river and Scott's Bridge. Before crossing the bridge turn left headed upstream for about a mile along a road that runs between the river and the railroad tracks. Be prepared to pay a fee for using the launch which is maintained by State Parks.

To get to the takout take Hwy 24 south to mile 201.5 and turn off onto County Road 371. Cross the river and bear right headed downstream along river left. At this point you are now directly next to #5 which is on the downstream side of the bridge. Continuing on down the road you will find a couple of alternative public access sites. For the full run, it's 3.3 miles down this road to the Railroad Bridge access which also has a couple of camp sites.

One alternative for this run is to start out by running the Pine Creek section.

Date Flow Result Factor  
2016-07-05 Low Fatality Poor Group / Scene Management Read More
2001-05-26 High Fatality High Water Read More
1998-06-23 Medium Fatality One Boat Trip Read More
1996-06-02 Medium Fatality One Boat Trip Read More
1995-06-17 High Fatality High Water Read More
1991-06-12 Medium Fatality Failed Rescue Read More
1990-06-07 High Near Miss/Rescue Other Read More
1982-07-07 Low Fatality Other Read More
1982-05-15 n/a Fatality Read More




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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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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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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!


sammer elias


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Drew Althage