This photo needs editing.
Difficulty IV-V(V+)
Length 4 Miles
Flow Range 275 - 2000 CFS
Flow Rate as of: 1 hour ago 67 [CFS]
Reach Info Last Updated 04/18/2020 3:16 pm

River Description

Gilman Gorge is a classic run in the high country characterized by consistent class 4/5 rapids for four miles. It can be run from ~200 to 1500 CFS (the run changes character above 700). The top half is classic class 4/5 boogie water followed by two miles of class 5 drops. One you pass Fall Creek on the left be ready for the run to change character.

The run used to have a reputation of being manky, with mining and railroad debris, but this was cleaned up recently and is now mostly clean (with the exception of Slurry Pipe Rapid).

Scouting and portaging are easy to do throughout the gorge.

Logistics: This is a convenient creek run close to Vail and a popular evening run with the locals. Take exit 171 off I-70 just west of Vail onto Hwy. 24. Head 4.7 miles south on Hwy. 24 and just before crossing the Eagle River turn right onto Tigwon Road. Follow this road 0.5 miles to a pull-out along the Eagle River that serves as a take-out. To reach the put-in return to Hwy. 24 and head south up river. After a few miles of climbing up the hill you will cross a high arch bridge. After crossing this bridge take the dirt road that leads down to the river to a small parking area at the confluence of Homestake Creek and the Eagle River. Alternatively continue up Hwy 24 which now parallels Homestake Creek and add the steep drops of this classic creek as an jump start to Gilman. Note that CRC mentions parking on the highway, but in the past few years, parking at the river level hasn't been a problem. There no longer seems to be any issues at the put-in or take-out, in regards to private property and the authorities.

Rapid Descriptions


Class - Mile - 0

Upper Half

Class - IV Mile - 0
Rapid Thumbnail Missing
The first 2 miles consists of fast-moving, read and run class III and IV rapids.

Gilman Mine

Class - N/A Mile - 2

You can't miss it.

Fall Creek Rapid

Class - 5.0 Mile - 2.2
Starts at railroad overpass. Fall Creek comes in on the left. Longest rapid of the run. Builds up to 10' crux drop about 2/3 of the way down, which becomes a sticky hole at higher flows. Technical run-out. Scout before the bridge or just after.

S-turn Rapid

Class - IV Mile - 2.5
Rapid Thumbnail Missing
Can be run down right or left channel.

Boof Rapid

Class - IV+ Mile - 2.6
Fun, technical 5' boof in the middle of this one.

Tower Rapid

Class - IV Mile - 2.8
This double drop rapid is identified by a large rock tower on river right. Look for a riverwide log at the entrance, which may need portaging, depending on water level. UPDATE - in the Spring of '04 local boates cut out the left end of the log, creating a means for passage without a portage.

Boogie Water

Class - IV Mile - 3
Rapid Thumbnail Missing
Primarily read and run with a few holes to punch.


Class - II Mile - 3.1
Rapid Thumbnail Missing
1/2 mile of class II.

Slurry Pipe Rapid

Class - 5.1 Mile - 3.6
Contrary to CRC, most local boaters run this rapid on a regular basis. A definite scout for a newbie. This steep and manky rapid starts at the railroad bridge and contains some artificial hazards. Watch out for the sticky "guardian hole" located directly under the bridge, which is generally snuck on the right or left. Lots of sharp rocks so stay upright. Although AW rates this as a "Standard Rated Rapid" of 5.2 difficulty, this rapid is probably better classified as a 5.1 at low to medium flows and a 5.2 at high water.


Class - Mile - 4
Rapid Thumbnail Missing
Tigawon Road (FR 707).


default user thumbnail
Craig Phillips
8 years ago

The current gauge is the Eagle Source. Homestake meets the source at the start of the run, and this is the boogie water. Once you get to the meat (i.e. fall creek rapid) of the run you get a boost of cfs from fall creek coming into the river. The best gauge to use for this run would be the Eagle near Minturn. The lowest its been run of late is 150, but I wouldn't recommend going in until roughly 275-300.

Gage Descriptions

The gauge listed above is located just downstream of the take-out. Look for a minimum of 100 cfs at the put-in (put-in cfs = "Eagle at Redcliff" + "Homestake Creek at Gold Park"), although locals run this as low as 60 at the put-in. The difference in put-in flow and take-out flow can be attributed primarily to Fall Creek, which comes in about halfway down the run (obvious). The minimum recommended flow level corresponds roughly to a 1'-6" to 2' reading on the dowd stick gauge, located a ways downstream, at the beginning of Dowd Chute.

Directions Description

We have no additional detail on this route. Use the map below to calculate how to arrive to the main town from your zipcode.

No Accident Reports




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Colorado Parks & Wildlife to Require Hunting or Fishing License at River Access

Kestrel Kunz

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.

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Opportunity to Participate in Upper Gunnison Watershed Management Plan (CO)

Kestrel Kunz

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! 

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Eagle River and Gore Creek Flow Survey

Hattie Johnson

We need your help defining paddler flow preferences that support recreational opportunities in the Eagle River watershed. Please take this link to a user survey that will allow you to report on how changes in streamflows affect recreation quality on several sections of the Eagle River and Gore Creek. Information collected by this study will be used to assess river-dependent recreation as part of the Eagle River Community Water Plan. Your input will help identify the full range of flows necessary to support activities like kayaking, rafting, float-fishing, tubing, and stand-up paddle boarding for novice, intermediate, and expert users alike. The information you provide will help protect and enhance local tourism-based economies and the high quality-of-life enjoyed by Eagle County residents.

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AW releases Saint Vrain and Lefthand Creek Recreational Flow Study - CO

Nathan Fey

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.


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Support Colorado River Access on Colorado Gives Day!

Kestrel Kunz

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!

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Voluntary River Closure Proposed On the Slate River (CO)

Kestrel Kunz

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. 

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AW Comments on Colorado Nat'l Forest Wilderness Process

Kestrel Kunz

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)

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TAKE ACTION: Comment on the Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area Management Plan

Kestrel Kunz

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. 

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Colorado Honors the legacy of Matt Brown

Nathan Fey

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.

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Comments needed on Upper Colorado River Recreation Area Management Plan

Nathan Fey

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.

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Gore Fest 2017 is a few weeks away!

Nathan Fey

Bond, Colorado - American Whitewater is presenting Gore Canyon Festival - August 25-27th 2017Online registration is open and there are events for everyone, so sign up today! 

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A Successful River Cleanup on the St. Vrain (Lyons, CO)

Kestrel Kunz

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.  

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Releases to Lower Dolores River certain in 2017.

Nathan Fey

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...

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Upper Colorado River Access funded by Land & Water Conservation Fund - CO

Nathan Fey

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. 

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One more day to submit input on Colorado's Brown Canyon National Monument!

Kestrel Kunz

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.


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New Report on Impact to San Miguel River From Proposed Reservoirs

Evan Stafford

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. 

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Proposed Asphalt and Gravel Mine threatens the Upper Colorado River

Evan Stafford

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.


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Lyons Outdoor Games and Burning Can to Support AW

Nathan Fey

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!

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AW launches Flow Study for Yampa River

Nathan Fey

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.

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River Access Task Force Submits Recommendations to Colorado Governor

Nathan Fey

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.

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Help Protect the Yampa River - Colorado

Nathan Fey

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!

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Ask Your Senators to Modernize Our Nation’s Hardrock Mining Policy

Ben Van Camp

Help Preserve Whitewater & Paddling Throughout the Deserts and Mountains of the West. Reforming the 1872 Mining Law will, finally, give recreation values a voice on how our federal public lands are managed



Scott McCorvey


Craig Irwin


Bryan Houle


Nathan Fey

Colorado Stewardship Director


Revision #Revision DateAuthorComment
1207743 06/19/17 Scott McCorvey
1214716 04/18/20 Craig Irwin updated name
1214717 04/18/20 Craig Irwin updated description
1190184 02/27/09 Bryan Houle n/a
1197802 10/08/10 Nathan Fey mine photo added
1210827 01/13/19 Nathan Fey