Arkansas - 05. Fisherman's Bridge access to Stone Bridge access

Arkansas, Colorado, US


05. Fisherman's Bridge access to Stone Bridge access (Browns Canyon)

Usual Difficulty III (varies with level)
Length 13 Miles
Avg. Gradient 31 fpm

Toilet Bowl, Brown's Canyon

Toilet Bowl, Brown's Canyon
Photo of Toilet Bowl Rapid at 800 cfs by Brad Goettemoeller ( @ 800 cfs

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
usgs-07091200 300 - 5000 cfs III 111d16h33m 189 cfs (too low)

River Description

Brown's Canyon is arguably the best Class III run in the state. Brown's is a beautiful little canyon with lots of smooth rounded granite, up on the hills and in the river too. The only sign of civilization is the railroad on river left. Canyon Doors is one of the first rapids and is generally considered the best playspot on the run. At high water, say 3000cfs, you have to surf it on the fly because there is no eddy. The biggest rapid is Zoom Flume, about 1/2 way down the run, it kinda sorta approaches Class IV in difficulty. I ran this at 1200cfs and it still had a bigwater feel with some swirlies to negotiate, I can only imagine that would be much more pronounced at higher water. Even though I ran it on a weekday, it was June, it was very crowded with guided rafts. If you do run this it is highly reccomended to avoid weekends during peak tourist season.

To Get There: For the put-in at Fisherman's Bridge take Hwy 285 to mile 144.7 and turn east down to the river on County Road 301. Cross the bridge and take an immediate right to the public access downstream river left of the bridge. For the take-out return to Hwy 285 and head downstream. Your first option (generally used when flows are low or if you're looking to shorten the run) is Hecla Junction. The turn-off for this access is at Hwy 285 mile 135.5 where County Rd 194 takes you down to the public access on river right. For the alternate access that gives you a bit longer run, continue to Hwy 285 mile 133.9 and turn onto Hwy 291. Before you cross the river, turn onto County Hwy 191 and follow it to the Stone Bridge public access. The river access is controlled by the State Parks system and requires a day-use fee is required. Considering the massive number of users State Parks collects a lot of money here and the rangers are notorious for being very aggressive in making sure you pay the fee.

check out Julie Keller's great photos of this reach.

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 20:45:17


Stream team editor

Rapid Summary

Mile Rapid Name Class Features (Legend)
0.0Ruby Mountain CampgroundIIPutin
3.5Canyon DoorsIIIPlayspot
3.8Pinball RapidIII
6.0Zoom FlumeIII+Hazard
8.0Giant Steps RapidIII
9.5Hecla JunctionIIAccess
10.0Seidel's SuckholeIIIHazard
11.0Double Drop RapidIII
13.0Stone BridgeIITakeout

Rapid Descriptions

Ruby Mountain Campground (Class II)
The put-in

Canyon Doors (Class III, Mile 3.5)
Fun breaking wave, best playspot in the canyon.

Zoom Flume (Class III+, Mile 6.0)
The big one. There should be lots of activity on the banks to clue you that this rapid is just below. Big waves and pushy current, I do remember one rock in the middle to avoid.

Hecla Junction (Class II, Mile 9.5)
Alternate takeout, reccomended at low water or at really high water when Stone Bridge has no clearance underneath.

Seidel's Suckhole (Class III, Mile 10.0)
Big wave/hole at high water

Stone Bridge (Class II, Mile 13.0)
The takeout

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