Colorado - 02. Gore Canyon

Colorado, Colorado, US


02. Gore Canyon

Usual Difficulty IV-V (for normal flows)
Length 9.5 Miles
Avg. Gradient 35 fpm
Max Gradient 120 fpm

Gore Rapid crux

Gore Rapid crux
Photo taken 04/07/11

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
usgs-09058000 700 - 2500 cfs IV-V 01h09m 426 cfs (too low)

River Description

Gore Canyon is the post-season run for advanced intermediates and experts in Colorado. Levels usually run 1000+ CFS July until October.

At prime levels, 1000 to 1200 CFS, this run is a solid Class IV run with two Class IV+'s (Pyrite and Kirshbaum) and two solid Class V's (Gore Rapid and Tunnel Rapid).

Four miles of flatwater begin this dark rock canyon with the train track as your companion.

Above 1200 CFS, creek boats are recommended ... and better bring your water wings!

Beware the spiders in the sneak at Gore Rapid.

See Mike Albrecht's and Ed Hanson's photos of Gore Canyon.

Shuttle Directions: About one mile south of Kremmling head west on Trough Road (1 rd). Take a right 1/2 mile down this road, before crossing the river, to get to the put-in.
The take-out is about 10 miles further down Trough Road at Pumphouse Campground. There is a small fee at Pumphouse to maintain the facilities.

Reaches of the Colorado River:
01. Hot Sulphur Springs to Hwy 40 bridge (Byers Canyon) (CO, IV)
02. Gore Canyon (CO, IV-V)
03. Pumphouse campground to Rancho Del Rio (Pumphouse) (CO, III)
04. Hanging Lake Exit 125 (I-70) to Shoshone Power Plant Exit 123 (I-70) (Barrel Springs) (CO, IV-V [V+])
05. Shoshone Power Plant, Exit 123 (I-70) to Grizzly Creek, Exit 121 (I-70) (Shoshone) (CO, III-IV)
06. Cameo Dam (Big Sur / Lucky 7) (CO, III)
07. Loma to Westwater (Ruby / Horsethief Canyons) (CO-UT, II)
08. Westwater to Rose Ranch (Westwater Canyon) (UT, I-IV)
09. Cisco (Rose Ranch) to Moab (Professor Valley) (UT, I-III)
10. Moab to Powell Reservoir (Cataract Canyon) (UT, I-IV)
11. Lees Ferry to Lake Mead (Grand Canyon) (AZ, I-V)
12. Black Canyon (AZ-NV, I)

StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2018-07-01 01:11:42


Stream team editor

Rapid Summary

Mile Rapid Name Class Features (Legend)
0.0Put-InIPutin Photo
4.51st RapidIII+
5.5Gore Rapid5.0Hazard Waterfall Photo
5.7Pyrite FallsIV+
6.0Lots o' Class IVIV
7.0Tunnel Falls5.0Photo
7.3Toilet BowlIV
7.5Kirshbaum's RapidIV+
9.5Pumphouse CampgroundIITakeout

Rapid Descriptions

Put-In (Class I)
icon of message Photo removed
Fun slide into the river, 4+ miles of hideous lake-like class I until the rapids

1st Rapid (Class III+, Mile 4.5)
Suit up river left just above this rapid.

Applesauce (Class IV, Mile 5.0)
This is the most dangerous rapid on the river. Fortunately it is a simple move to the right to avoid a dangerous rock pile in the center. Huge pool at the bottom.

Gore Rapid (Class 5.0, Mile 5.5)

Meat Line on Gore Rapid

Meat Line on Gore Rapid
Photo of Matt Booth by Darren Livingston taken 07/25/04 @ Medium

This is the signature drop of the run. Sorta long with technical moves and one mean hole. There are 3 different lines through the crux drop. Mary Anne (the sneak), which drops you in an eddy for a controlled peel out into the rest of the rapid. The spout in the center is The Professor, a more technical line that will land you just to the right of Ginger(the big hole). The large flow on river left is The Meat(pictured).

Scissors (Class IV, Mile 5.6)
Offset holes and pushy current make for a tight move. Swimmers in Gore Rapid might be swept into this rapid, yardsale gear almost certainly will.

Pyrite Falls (Class IV+, Mile 5.7)
6' to 8' river wide ledge. 1st timers must run it without scouting;-) The sneak is on the left, meat line is right down the middle, and a technical line rarely run on the right. There is a pool at the base for collecting gear which often washes down all the way from Gore Rapid.

Lots o' Class IV (Class IV, Mile 6.0)
Pool drop Class IV from Pyrite to Tunnel. Watch out for a few random big holes and try not to think about Tunnel too much;-)

Tunnel Falls (Class 5.0, Mile 7.0)

Tunnel, Gore Canyon

Tunnel, Gore Canyon
Photo of Ratt Boy trying to find a good line by Tom Carter (KHCC) taken 07/31/99 @ 1200 cfs

A river wide 10' to 12' ledge with a very pushy Class IV lead-in. The hole gets meaner at low water (less than 900cfs). This is usually the crux of the run for most people. The line is pretty much a straight shot, but the hydraulic is legendary, and there is always a crowd of onlookers. There is a very fine sneak line to the left, the meat is right down the main current, and a bony sneak down the right side. The meat line is suprisingly forgiving to playboats, more often than not they just melt right through. Creek boats are another matter, I have seen some horrific rides here. After watching one friend take a severe beating I congratulated her on staying in her boat for so long, she said that the ride was so violent that she never had the opportunity to pop her skirt and swim!

Toilet Bowl (Class IV, Mile 7.3)
This is the worst hydraulic on the run. The standard line is a bony sneak on the far left, the meat line is center left, and a technical - but less bony sneak on far right. If you get stuck in this hole there is a 99.999% chance you will have to swim out of it.

Kirshbaum's Rapid (Class IV+, Mile 7.5)

This is the longest and most technical rapid in Gore Canyon. In 2003 there was a log pinned at the top of the rapid on the right. Every time down I somehow manage to end up somewhere different. Some lines are definitely better than others! The standard line is right, left, right over the course of about 200 yards.

Pumphouse Campground (Class II, Mile 9.5)
this is the takeout

User Comments

Users can submit comments.
January 27 2015 (1454 days ago)
Marc McCordDetails
I am comparing mileage markers for Gore Canyon rapids to measurements I am making on Google Earth
and finding significant discrepancies. The AW info lists Applesauce Rapid at 5.0 miles while my
measurements say it is at 4.0 miles, and the markers for other rapids below Applesauce are also
off, but not by the same amount. Does anybody have any actual GPS waypoints for where each of these
rapids begins so that correct measurements can be made?

Associated Projects

  • Basin Non-Consumptive Needs Assesments (CO)
    AW is working to define stream-flows that meet recreational boating needs across Colorado. In both the Colorado and Yampa River Basin's, AW has helped develop baseline data for whitewater recreation
  • Gore Canyon Whitewater Park (CO)
    AW is working with Grand County, CO to establish a new whitewater park on the Upper Colorado River. We have worked to identify the best location, and build support for the proposed project.
  • Upper Colorado River (CO)
    American Whitewater is working with various stakeholders to develop a resource management plan for the BLM, as an alternative to "Wild and Scenic River" management.
  • Windy Gap Firming Project (CO)
    American Whitewater is working to protect outstanding paddling opportunities in Colorado, and a healthy Colorado River system from future water development.