Cache La Poudre, Colorado, US
|Usual Difficulty||III-IV (for normal flows)|
|Avg. Gradient||64 fpm|
|CACHE LA POUDRE AT CANYON MOUTH NEAR FORT COLLINS|
|codwr-CLAFTCCO0||300 - 3000 cfs||III-IV||00h24m||1640 cfs (running)|
|4 - 5+ ft on the Pineview gauge.|
Photo: Twin Pin Rapid at 3.5 feet, by Brad Goettemoeller, courtesy of and copyright by www.allaboutrivers.com.
Check out their description of this reach.
This is the most challenging stretch of water below the Narrows. Most of the rapids are of the III/IV variety and can be read on the run. The first rapid of consequence is split rock (also called Triple Rock, Twin Pin, etc.), which has an asthetic line in the middle until high water, when the hole becomes very sticky and has resulted in a number of good stories. The next significant drop is Tunnel Rapid (IV). Here the river has forceful waves and hydraulics before the current slams into a large undercut wall on the left. Obviously, the rapid is located right next to a hwy tunnel. Shortly downstream there is an excellent squirt spot on river left, it's so good it's called the U.S.S.(Ultimate Squirt Spot). Directly up-river from the Mishawaka Inn is its eponymous rapid, Mishawaka Falls(IV). Mishiwaka in is overrun by Hippies and/or bikers in the summer. At times it is like a Phish concert and/or Hells Angels rally.
This is an outstanding play run at about 3.25 to 4 feet on the Pineview gauge. Above 4', the current is rapid and you only get one, on-the-fly shot a river features. A strong roll is recommended at high water, when swims are surprisingly common and they are often long, bruising, and very cold.
To get there: The put-in is at Steven's Gulch Access or Upper Landing; both are very nice improved picnic area/launch sites with changing rooms. The take-out is at the Mishawaka Inn, here you can have a beer with greasy food while you enjoy the biker and/or hippy odors. Or one of the many pull-outs or picnic areas below the Mish.
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 http://www.poudrerockreport.com
Lat/longitude coords are approximate, from TopoZone.
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).