Cache La Poudre - 05. Narrows Picnic Ground to Steven's Gulch Access

Cache La Poudre, Colorado, US


05. Narrows Picnic Ground to Steven's Gulch Access (The Narrows)

Usual Difficulty IV-V+ (for normal flows)
Length 3.4 Miles
Avg. Gradient 102 fpm
Max Gradient 135 fpm


Photo of Scott McCorvey by Evan Stafford taken August 05 @ 2'

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
codwr-CLAFTCCO0 150 - 1300 cfs IV-V+ 48d17h34m 76.7 cfs (too low)

River Description

The Narrows of the Cache La Poudre can be broken down into three sections with different nature.

The "Upper" section consists of three drops:
Super Collider(V), Cabbage Shredder(IV), and Whiteline(V).
These drops are back to back and easily scouted from the road, be carefull because there really isn't much of a shoulder and there is lots of traffic! Only a few years ago the Upper Narrows, particularily Whiteline Rapid, were considered deadly class VI rapids.

The "Middle" section is good all-around class IV, and is great for those who want to add a little more class IV mileage to the Upper Mishawaka run, just don't forget to portage Lower Narrows! And watch out for Sports Car Corner, the first significant drop in the middle narrows.  This is a manky drop with consequences for the upsidedown boater.

Just below the Highway 14 bridge is the Lower Narrows, which consists of one big burly "classic" class V.  This is a fantastic rapid - a bunch of neat moves, with eddies to catch your breath at most levels, and a very aesthetic position alongside the road. There is a messy rock jumble at the bottom of this rapid to give you incentive to stay on line!

Appropriate levels for these sections vary tremendously. The entire section is commonly run at less than 1' on the Pineview gauge up to about 2'.  Above 2' or 2.5', the Upper and Lower start getting burly, but the middle is excellent.  Above about 3.5', the Upper and Lower are much less frequently run (IMHO, they're moving into the V+ range at those levels), while the middle is now pushy and burly IV+ or "easy V" and a whole lot of fun.  This short run holds a lot of great whitewater.

Locals have been know to run this down to about 50 cfs, they're pretty hard-up for whitewater.  It's possible to get down, but very bony at less than 150 cfs.

Check out the locals view of the Narrows at

To get there: The put-in for the Upper Narrows is at the Narrows Campground or the large pull-off just above Super Collider. For the Middle Narrows, put-in at the base of Whiteline (the really steep constricted rapid), or just down stream at the sharp corner. The take-out is at Steven's Gulch Access, a very nice improved picnic area/launch site with changing rooms.

For descriptions of Colorado runs, see:

Whitewater of the Southern Rockies by Stafford and McCutchen,

or Colorado Rivers and Creeks by Banks and Eckert.  

The most reliable flow information, and a calculator for converting cfs to/from the Pineview gauge, is available from the Poudre Rock Report at

Lat/longitude coords are approximate, from TopoZone.

See also,

Big South (Class V/VI),
Joe Wright Creek (Class V),
Spencer Heights (Class V/VI),
South Fork (Class IV/V),
White Mile Run/Upper Rustic (Class III),
Grandpa's Gorge/Lower Rustic (Class III/IV),
The Narrows (Class IV/V/V+),
Upper Mishawaka (Class III/IV),
Lower Mishiwaka (Class III),
Poudre Park (Class IV),
Bridges (Class III/IV),
Upper North Fork (Class IV/V),
Lower North Fork (Class II/III), and
Filter Plant (Class III).



StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2018-11-13 16:26:22


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.
October 19 2007 (4111 days ago)
You can run this a super low flows (well below 0.5 on the gauge) and late in the year.