Lake Creek, Colorado, US
|Usual Difficulty||V+ (for normal flows)|
|Avg. Gradient||137 fpm|
|Max Gradient||235 fpm|
|LAKE CREEK ABOVE TWIN LAKES RESERVOIR|
|codwr-LAKATLCO0||300 - 1000 cfs||V+||01h19m||89.8 cfs (too low)|
Lake Creek is a schizophrenic stream. 1/2 of it is meandering Class II, 1/3 is undefined continuous Class IV, and the rest is a handfull of sick V+ bedrock gorges. If you run the upper half be sure you scout the locations of Tombstone(V) and Toaster(V) before putting on. Floating into either could be fatal if you have not scouted them and don't realize what they are. If you run the Lower Gorge(V+,VI), make sure to scout the whole thing! Last but not least, do not forget to run Cauldron Rapid(V)! It's the second biggest drop, but lacks some of the scare factors of the rapids upstream.
The entire run parallels Hwy 82. The upper put-in is at milemarker 69, the take-out above the Lower Gorge is at mm 74.5, and Cauldron Rapid is at about mm 79.
In 2003 Lake Creek ran at huge levels (almost 2000cfs) for almost an entire month, as a result I have heard that almost all rapids had changed, some dramatic - some minor. Most significant was Tombstone which turned into an unrunnable sieve, no ifs and or butts this is now a mandatory portage!!!
|Mile||Rapid Name||Class||Features (Legend)|
|2.4||Road 82c, SF Lake Creek Rd||N/A|
|7.5||The Brain Rapid||5.2|
|8.3||Parry Creek Campground Bridge||IV|
This is a very dangerous seive, and is reported to be a mandatory portage. Make sure to scout the location of this rapid just above the South Fork of Lake Creek Road. Or, put-in right below the seive and catch a mile or so of fun warm-up IV before it mellows out again.
The Road 82c bridge provides access to the creek below Tombstone Rapid.
Not In My Back Yard, there are several summer homes surrounding this beautiful rapid so you can't scout it until you boat down to the entrance. At the top of the rapid there is a park bench with a no tresspassing sign next to it. Despite the sign it is OK to scout on river right, just be low profile and respectfull. The entrance drop has logs stretched across it at head level, the middle is a fast s-turn with undercuts leading into a constriction. Then the creek splits, river right is a waterfall and left is a smaller broken fall.
This is would be a relatively simple 10' waterfall if it weren't for the fact that it pours directly into a huge undercut boulder. A hard boof left will just barely land you away from the undercut. This rapid is one of the main reasons I call Lake Creek schizophrenic, there is nothing but boring Class II a mile above and below it. Take out just downstream if you don't want to run the Lower Gorge.
Whether you consider this a V+ or VI, one fact is undisputed: this cascade is huge!
This bridge provides a take out above the lower Gorge.
This is one of the best rapids in Colorado! It's a pounding funneling waterfall that dumps you in a big bubbling rock cauldron! At low flows the narrow exit from the cauldron is blocked by wood.