Gore Canyon is one of the most beloved and classic runs in the state. The whitewater is continuous and quality sitting in a beautiful and scenic canyon that parallels the railroad. This is a great run to test your paddling and a fantastic training ground for aspiring class V paddlers. The run starts out with a 45-minute flatwater paddle towards the mouth of the canyon. It is advised to stash your dry gear in the back of your boat for this paddle in as it gets rather hot under the Kremmling sun and you'll be moving on lake water. Once you reach the mouth of the canyon you will see a large boulder on river left dubbed "Change Rock" where you can put your gear on and get ready for the run ahead.
From Change Rock you will peel out into some class III which will lead you to the first major rapid, applesauce. The river will come to a choke point with a horizon line and there is a large rock wall on the right to mark the entrance. The horizon line drops into a steep ramp that ends with a large boof at the bottom that you will want to boof right. This will land in a large pool and lead into some more boogie class III until the canyon opens up and you will see a large boulder on river right which marks the beginning of Gore rapid, the crux of the run. Eddy out behind the rock and scout from the railroad tracks (watch out for trains and railroad workers because they have a history of yelling at scouting boaters). There are four different lines to take through Gore rapid and they will be obvious from the scout but the two most commonly run are left left and the sneak. For left left enter on river left and there will be a large right-hand boof with a large hole named ginger that sits close to the landing you'll want to miss. For the sneak enter on river right and follow the slot boof that lands in a small pool. Peel out and buckle up for the ride through the lower part of the rapid.
Immediately below Gore is a rapid called scissors with a big hole that you will want to boof on the right. Some more boogie will lead you to Pyrite where the river will choke on the right and you will see pyrite rock which you'll want to boof to the left of. Some fantastic class four boogie will lead you to Tunnel rapid which can be identified from the second railroad tunnel after pyrite. Eddy out on river left to scout. Tunnel is a notoriously tricky rapid that ends with a large, sloping drop into a river-wide hole. If you flip, the hole at the bottom will flush you out above 1,100 CFS but it gets stickier with lower flows. Below the tunnel is some more boogie that leads into the most dangerous rapid of the run called toilet bowl, a ledge boof with a violently powerful hole. The move is straight forward and not too difficult: there is a seam in the center that you will want to pull a strong boof over. Make sure to nail this move because there are many horror stories about swims in this hole and getting roped out is common practice. Below toilet bowl, there is a beautiful beach on river left that's nice to step out of your boat and enjoy the day before the final rapid, Kirschbaum's. This is a fun, long, and technical class IV+ rapid. There are many different ways to run this rapid but if you follow the main channel through you can find your way through. After Kirschbaum's, a 30-minute paddle out will land you at the Pumphouse playpark where you will take out.
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)
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.
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?
Permits are not required for this reach.
We have no additional detail on this route.
Use the map below to calculate how
to arrive to the main town from your zipcode.
Upper Colorado River
Lower Gore run
sneak at Gore Falls
View Downstream of Gore Rapid
Upper Gore Falls
Gore Rapid crux
Over the edge
Intro to Tunnel
Gore Rapid Drop In
Seal Drop, put in
Sneak Line on Gore Rapid
Runout on Gore Rapid
Meat Line on Gore Rapid
Tunnel Falls race line (small)
Tunnel Falls race line
Brian running the sneak
Brian in Gore
Tom in Tunnel '03
Tom in Gore '03
Matt in Tunnel
Tunnel, Gore Canyon
Toilet Bowl, Gore Canyon
Beginning Gore Rapid
If someone gets hurt on a river, or you read about a whitewater-related injury, please report it to
American Whitewater. Don't worry about multiple submissions from other witnesses, as our safety
editors will turn multiple witness reports into a single unified accident report.
After 12 years of hard work, the Upper Colorado River Wild and Scenic Alternative Management Plan was finalized and formally accepted by the BLM and USFS to protect and enhance the flow related values – like recreational boating – of the Upper Colorado River.
In an unexpected and strategic move by Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW), a Colorado hunting or fishing license will now be required to access State Wildlife Areas and CPW-leased State Trust Lands (effective July 1, 2020). Many of these affected areas have historically been used for paddling, hiking, rock climbing, mountain biking, camping, and other non-consumptive recreation uses. CPW's press release stated that "This rule is aimed at curtailing non-wildlife-related use of these properties", and while we understand the need to increase revenue to support management of these areas, we have a few concerns with this strategy. On July 1, American Whitewater, Colorado Mountain Club, and multiple other organizations submitted a joint letter to CPW Commissioners requesting that they reconsider the new Rule and find a more practicable and sustainable method for collecting fees for these areas.
The Upper Gunnison Water Conservancy District in Gunnison, Colorado is coordinating a Watershed Management Planning effort "to help protect existing water uses and watershed health in the Upper Gunnison Basin in the face of pressure from increased water demands and permanent reductions in water supply." The current phase is focusing on Tomichi, Cochetopa, Cebolla, Taylor, and the Gunnison River above Blue Mesa. With local stewardship staff in Crested Butte, American Whitewater has joined the Watershed Management Planning Team to help represent recreational river users and quantify flow preferences and recreational opportunities on the Taylor and Gunnison Rivers. American Whitewater is very excited to be involved in this stakeholder driven process and we are asking paddlers to share their input on management priorities for the Upper Gunnison Basin. If you have experience paddling Cebolla, Taylor, or the Upper Gunnison Rivers, please fill out this quick survey!
American Whitewater has been the lead recreational voice in the development of a management plan to protect the paddling values on Upper Colorado from Kremmling to No Name, in Glenwood Canyon. A provisional plan has been in place since 2012, allowing for the group to collect more data and refine the plan. The finalized plan is due to the federal land managers (both the Bureau of Land Management and US Forest Service in this case) in June of this year. Our affiliate club, Upper Colorado Private Boaters Association, is coordinating a happy hour in Edwards on March 20th to discuss how the plan would protect boating and get feedback from the local community on the draft plan. Stay tuned for a location for this meeting.
Upper Colorado River Paddlers, we need your feedback! We’re asking you to participate in a short survey on behalf of the Upper Colorado River Wild and Scenic Stakeholder Group. The Stakeholder Group formed in 2007 as an independent, collaborative group with the goal of protecting and enhancing the remarkable values of the stretch of the Colorado River from Kremmling to Glenwood Springs.
American Whitewater is pleased to announce the 2019 Gore Canyon Festival taking place August 23-25th on the Upper Colorado River. As the leading representative of the river-recreation community on the Upper Colorado River, American Whitewater is deeply invested in creating opportunities to protect, restore, and enjoy whitewater paddling on the Colorado River. The Gore Canyon Festival is the perfect stage to celebrate the beautiful and iconic Colorado River, and an opportunity for our partners to engage the public in cooperative river management.
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.
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!
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.
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)
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.
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.
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.
Bond, Colorado - American Whitewater is presenting Gore Canyon Festival - August 25-27th 2017. Online registration is open and there are events for everyone, so sign up today!
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.
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...
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.
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.
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.
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.
Grand County, Colorado - After several years of negotiations and political maneuvering, engineering, and fundraising, American Whitewater joined representatives from Grand County to break ground on the new Gore Canyon Whitewater Park on the Colorado River. The park is integral to a new water right that protects the river from losing more water in the future, while providing new opportunities for paddlers of all ages and ability.
Kremmling, Colorado - In a recent decision, the Bureau of Land Management has approved Grand County's application to construct a whitewater park on the Colorado River below Gore Canyon. The Proposed Gore Canyon Whitewater Park, located on public lands, seeks to protect streamflows in the Colorado River for recreational paddling. AW has supported this effort for several years, and we are pleased that this recent decision allows Grand County to move forward with construction of the park.
Glenwood Springs, Colorado - In District Court this week, American Whitewater was granted a Motion to Intevene in the case for recreational water rights in the Colorado River. American Whitewater and Western Resource Advocates have jointly interevened in support of Glenwood Springs water rights application in an effort to help the City of Glenwood secure legal protection of streamflows for recreation.
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!
Colorado - For the past 5 years, American Whitewater has been working to protect streamflows and whitewater recreation in the Upper Colorado River, from Gore Canyon to Glenwood Springs. Today, we need your help in demonstrating that paddlers will use the proposed Gore Canyon Whitewater Park beyond Labor Day to October 15th. Please send your letter of support to the Project Coordinator - TODAY!
In addition to seeking comments on the management of lands within the Colorado River Valley Field Office, the BLM is also seeking comments on their management of lands within the Kremmling Field Office, which includes the Upper Colorado and other rivers important to whitewater recreation. This draft Resource Management Plan is also a hefty one, and American Whitewater has distilled this one down too, focusing on the issues that are important to you. You can read our dRMP guide and get tips on how to provide meaningful and substantive comments here. The future flows of the Colorado River depend on it!
The BLM is seeking comments on their management of lands within the Colorado River Valley Field Office, which includes the Upper Colorado and other rivers important to whitewater recreation. The draft Resource Management Plan is hefty, but American Whitewater has distilled it down to the issues that are important to you. You can read our dRMP guide and get tips on how to provide meaningful and substantive comments here. The future flows of the Colorado River depend on it!
Colorado - The State of Colorado has filed for instream-flow water rights for the mainstem of the Colorado River. State instream flow rights provide legal protection of flows that protect the environment to a reasonable degree. For Gore Canyon, Pumphouse, State Bridge, and Dotsero, this is the first time flows have recieved legal protection under Colorado Water Law. American Whitewater has worked to establish these rights since the launch of our Colorado River Stewardship Program.
Colorado - The long anticipated Draft Resource Management Plans and Draft Environmental Impact Statements (DRMP/DEIS) for the Bureau of Land Management's Kremmling and Colorado River Field Offices have been released for public comment.
Both documents outline a Preferred Alternative that includes two options that address river segments found eligible for inclusion into the National Wild and Scenic River System. Under this Management Plan, the BLM will consider defering any suitibility determiniation, and adopt and implement the Stakeholder Group’s Management Plan in order to protect the free-flowing nature, Outstandingly Remarkable Values, and tentative classifications of all river segments.
Colorado - The long awaited Upper Colorado River Wild and Scenic Stakeholder Management Plan, has been submitted to the US BLM and USFS. The Plan, developed by a diverse group of interests including American Whitewater, is proposed to be included in the resource management plan for the Upper Colorado River as a potential Wild and Scenic Rivers management alternative.
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.
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.
Colorado - In an effort to protect what little water is left in the Upper Colorado River, Grand County has filed for two Recreational In-Channel Diversion water rights in district court. These rights are associated with two whitewater parks on the Colorado River. American Whitewater has worked with Grand County over the past three years to develop tools to protect river health, and provide a range of boating opportunities. These rights are part of a suite of protective measures we hope to unveil later in 2011.
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!
Fort Collins, CO – The Save the Colorado River Campaign Fund announced its grants for 2010. In total, $150,000 was donated to ten environmental groups from the top of the river basin all the way to the bottom – all working to protect and restore the Colorado River.
American Whitewater received funding to protect streamflows, and thus boating opportunities, in the Upper Colorado River Basin.
Timberline Tours presents the 2010 Gore Canyon Race - Saturday, August 28, 2010
Colorado - The “Timberline Gore Canyon 2010” event is on! This is a classic Class V whitewater race that brings together the finest whitewater rafters, kayakers and paddlers of all types of river craft. There is no better way to end the Western United States boating season. Enjoy great whitewater racing and camping at Pumphouse Recreation Area with all your fellow boaters.
Kremmling, CO - The popular Pumphouse Section of the Upper Colorado River will be the site for a Pack It Out Campaign coordinated by the US Bureau of Land Management, in partnership with American Whitewater and NRS.
In an effort to reduce impacts from human waste on this popular overnight run, these groups are teaming up to educate river users and hand out FREE WAG BAGs on August 14th.
Since 2007, American Whitewater has negotiated with various state agencies and urban water providers intent on developing new management criteria for the headwaters of the Colorado River, that threaten to allow water providers to nearly dry-up the river without protecting instream flows necessary for fish, wildlife, and outdoor enthusiasts. For two years, American Whitewater has been the lone recreation voice in these negotiations, and we have had measurable success protecting the Colorado River.
By the end of September, the Upper Colorado River Stakeholders Group will submit a local resource management plan alternative for the US BLM's Kremmling and Glenwood Springs Field Offices. American Whitewater has worked for over two years to represent paddlers in the negotiations, ensuring the plan explicitly protects flows that support a range of outstanding boating opportunities in Gore Canyon, Pumphouse, and Glenwood Canyon. The alternative plan crafted by the group seeks to balance permanent protection for recreational values in the Colorado River; water project yield; flexibility for water managers; and certainty for stakeholders.
This is the classic Class V whitewater race on the Upper Colorado River that brings together the finest whitewater rafters, kayakers and paddlers of all types of river craft. As always the race is open to all boaters willing to take on some of the best Class V whitewater in the state of Colorado.
Spectators are welcome but remember: stay off the railway tracks!
The Bureau of Reclamation has released the long-awaited Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for the Windy Gap Firming Project. The Project, proposed by the Municipal Subdistrict of Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District would move the Colorado River another step closer to being a "flat lined" river, with flows perpetually at low flow levels. The Bureau of Reclamation has scheduled two public meetings where citizens can offer written and oral comments: one in Loveland on October 7 and one in Granby on October 9.
An alternative to Wild and Scenic River Management is currently being developed for the Upper Colorado River, that would provide water for growing populations in Colorado, while permanently protecting the iconic river's threatened fish and wildlife habitat, riparian systems, and the world class whitewater from Gore Canyon to Glenwood Canyon. American Whitewater is working to ensure that environmental and recreational flow needs are protected under the new management alternative.
Log into the American Whitewater website and you can contribute to river descriptions,
flow and access tips, and maps associated with runs you've done. You can even add new
runs to the inventory!