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Difficulty V+
Length 2 Miles
Gauge SOUTH SAINT VRAIN NEAR WARD
Flow Range 150 - 600 CFS
Flow Rate as of: 14 hours ago 3.47 [CFS] ℹ️
Reach Info Last Updated 12/12/2018 1:44 am

River Description


Colorado road side mank at its finest, with a unique touch. 

This tall roadside canyon comes complete with multiple put-in and take-out options for variable spice factor; boasting hairy cascades and gnarly ledges to keep you on your toes the whole way down. 

After driving three miles towards Allenspark, from Lyons on highway 7 you'll come around a corner and see a roughly five foot spout drop, this is 1in5.  

Use the large dirt pull off next to the rapid as a take out.  A large cotton wood tree acts a good marker from river level, if you wish to take out above this one.

It's a good idea to scout this one. Safety is recommended.

The main line on 1in5 is off the left, a good right stroke will bring you home. This drop becomes substantially meatier above 400 cfs. The right side acts as a potential sneak at these levels. If water is running over the rock on river left, it may be a good idea to take out above.

This rapid is ideal for lapping. Get creative with put in methods.                        

It is important to be aware of the cave on the river right side of the pool, created by the boulder that creates the two channels. Too date no person has been stuck in that room, several boats have though. They where in there for quite awhile.

For the put in, drive about a mile and a half up the road, coming around another bend you'll see Jihad, a steep and manky drop, with an out of play log in the middle of two pinches.  Use the first pull off on the right directly adjacent to the drop. Gear up and scout. 

There are several put ins depending on how high you want to walk up. Hiking up the shoulder will bring you to a very steap cascading section, barreling around a sheer corner: The Narrows. If this looks like your jam, keep hiking. If not, put in below all that nastiness. Be aware, put in spots are loose at best.

The top of the Narrows is marked by a river wide ledge drop with a dynamic lip.  This is the one and only, Hot Donna. After running this you're commited to the rest of the section. Find a good spot above to get in and send'er on down. Hot Donna is run off of the left with a big right boof, it is easy to get eddied out on the left after landing.

Next is White Lightening, run down the left; this is followed quickly by two back to back boulder jumbles. Run the first on the left, then hussle back right for the second. Lastly, slip down the left side final pile, dodging a hidden piton rock. Catch the big eddy on the right and breathe a sigh of relief. 

Don't let your gaurd down just yet, you still have a series of class IV+ drops, and then Jihad. The top of Jihad is run down the left tongue, despite what you might think, you won't piton.  The more left you come in at the top, the less difficult the move at the lip will be. Move across the pool toward the right, mind the log.  

Run the second tier from right to left, and take solice in knowing the sketchest part is behind you. The rapids from below jihad are all fun IV+ until 1in5. This section is easily routable with someone who knows the lines. Don't forget to keep your eye's peeled for the 1in5 cottonwood tree.

This run is at the most two miles from the top of Narrows, so lapping is typicaly a popular idea.

As of 2017, several groups have put in above Narrows, but below the confluence, and run through 1in5. There are several technical class IV/V drops in this section, and more than a few log portages.

Have fun, be safe, and don't forget to keep your eyes peeled for wood.

 

The various reaches of of Saint Vrain Creek,

Upper NSV (Class V+/VI-),
Middle NSV (Class IV/V),
Lower NSV (Class II/III),
Upper SSV (Class V+/VI-),
Left Hand Creek (Class IV).

Rapid Descriptions

Hot Donna

Class - V Mile - 0
Rapid Thumbnail Missing

The enteracne drop of the Narrows.

The Narrows, Proper

Class - V Mile - 0.1
Rapid Thumbnail Missing

Commiting, steap and hairy. Mind the rocks.

Hershey Squirt

Class - IV Mile - 0.2
Rapid Thumbnail Missing

If narrows doesnt look appealing, putting in above this class IV hydrolic is common. 

Ariel's Hole

Class - IV+ Mile - 0.25
Rapid Thumbnail Missing

A sticky ledge, right below Hershey Squirt.  Run on the left, don't under estimate it. 

Bad Cat

Class - IV+ Mile - 0.251

The small spout immeditaly after Ariel's Hole.

Jihad

Class - V Mile - 0.5

Scout this guy before putting on.  Don't worry, despite what you might think, you won't piton. Mind the log and try to stay upright. 

Putting in below this is common as well. 

Triple Step

Class - IV Mile - 0.7
Rapid Thumbnail Missing

Slippery Pete

Class - IV Mile - 0.8
Rapid Thumbnail Missing

Speed Dating

Class - IV+ Mile - 1
Rapid Thumbnail Missing

A tight and fast corner, that drops for a while and culminates in a steep ledge boof. 

This One Gets Sticky

Class - IV Mile - 1.2
Rapid Thumbnail Missing

A river wide sleeper ledge below the run out of Speed Dating.  This one is sneaky and gets quite sticky as the water comes up. 

Reach Around

Class - IV Mile - 1.3
Rapid Thumbnail Missing

Bridge Drop

Class - IV Mile - 1.4
Rapid Thumbnail Missing

A long class IV section, with a flimsy bridge over the river. 

Emergency Exit

Class - N/A Mile - 1.41
Rapid Thumbnail Missing

A tight move that comes up fast once you have passed under the Bridge Drop bridge.  Run on the left, and be heads up, you will pass next to undercuts on both sides. 

Got Ya

Class - IV Mile - 1.5
Rapid Thumbnail Missing

A tight slot that can sneak up you, below a shallow section immeditaly following emergancy exit.  Run on the right, think tight. The left line leads to a heavy piton. 

1in5

Class - V Mile - 2

The odds against you are 1 in 5. Cool smooth bedrock drop, Class V. 

Big right Boof.

Beware the cave on river right in the pool.

Comments

Gage Descriptions

The gauge for the South St. Vrain is primarily visual. (1in5)

Basically, the flow for SSV is determined by taking the South Saint Vrain in Lyons minus the North Saint Vrain below Buttonrock Reservoir.

150 CFS is the bare minimum

250 ~ 400 CFS is good

400~600 CFS is high, narrows not typicaly run

750 CFS, highest decent, jihad to 1in5

Directions Description


The entire run is next to HWY 7, about three miles upstream of Lyons.

The last class V drop, 1in5 is an obvious spout visible from the road.  Use the large dirt pull off as a take out.  A large cotton wood tree can be seen from the river, and acts as a good marker if you wish to take out above 1in5.

For the put in, drive a mile and a half up the road, coming around another bend you'll see Jihad, a steep and manky drop with an out of play log the middle of two pinches.  Use the first pull off on the right directly next to the drop.

No Accident Reports

Alerts

News

article main photo

Land and Water Conservation Fund Secures Access to Upper Colorado River

5/8/2019
Hattie Johnson

A bill to fully fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) was introduced last month by Colorado Senator Cory Gardener and West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin and cosponsored by Colorado Senator Michael Bennett. If passed the bill would provide $900M annually for projects protecting natural, cultural and historic resources. Existing funding from the LWCF recently enabled the transfer of two important river access points on the Upper Colorado River. The State Bridge and Two Bridges parcels were owned by Eagle County and had been improved - boat ramps, parking, restroom/changing facilities - by the Eagle County Open Space program with coordination and management support from the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). This land transfer will protect public access at these locations in perpetuity. 

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

12/14/2018
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!

11/29/2018
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)

11/2/2018
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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Saint Vrain Stream Management Planning is Underway (CO)

9/5/2018
Nathan Fey

Lyons, Colorado - The St. Vrain Creek on Colorado's northern Front Range is one of several Colorado streams now targeted for comprehensive management plans.   American Whitewater is helping lead the effort, and a series of public and stakeholder meetings is underway this month. Your input can help decide how we can improve public access and safety, stream health, and connectivity between our communities - all critically important after the flooding of September 2013. 

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AW Comments on Colorado Nat'l Forest Wilderness Process

9/5/2018
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

11/1/2017
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

10/30/2017
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

8/28/2017
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!

8/9/2017
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)

6/7/2017
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.

2/17/2017
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

2/6/2017
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!

1/17/2017
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

1/9/2017
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

12/6/2016
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

5/15/2013
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

3/3/2011
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

2/2/2011
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

9/30/2010
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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Take Action on Colorado's Right to Float Bill!

3/4/2010
Nathan Fey

This spring, the Colorado Legislature is considering a bill, which helps protect the rights of commercial boaters to float on commercial sections of river, and increases the safety of boaters by decriminalizing incidental contact with private land to portage obstacles. HB -1188 is a good bill, but doesn't go far enough! HB-1188 passed out of the House by a vote of 40-25, and is scheduled to be introduced in the Senate Judiciary Committee for a vote on March 17th. We urge you to contact members of Colorado’s Senate Judiciary Committee and ask them to support HB-1188, and to amend the bill to include all members of the paddling public.

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Matt Muir

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Paul Martzen

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Craig Irwin

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Spencer Huff

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Kestrel Kunz

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Nathan Fey

Colorado Stewardship Director

Revisions

Revision #Revision DateAuthorComment
1193797 02/16/09 n/a n/a
1203339 04/30/14 Paul Martzen 2013 flood notes
1204619 05/05/15 Craig Irwin 22
1207682 08/16/17 Spencer Huff Post flood update
1205994 04/09/16 Craig Irwin 2016.04
1208264 09/06/17 Kestrel Kunz
1209864 12/10/18 Nathan Fey
1210668 12/12/18 Nathan Fey
1210672 12/12/18 Nathan Fey