Difficulty III-IV
Length 2 Miles
Flow Range 500 - 10000 CFS
Flow Rate as of: 2 hours ago 1970 [CFS] 👍 ℹ️
Reach Info Last Updated 09/14/2019 11:08 am

River Description

The Colorado River flowing west through Glenwood Canyon offers a range of whitewater at various levels on the Shoshone section. Recreational flows persist while other regions of the state have dried up. It is common for boaters to get summer, fall and early spring runs on the Shoshone.
The short distance involved lies just below the highway 70 structures above the river. Rapids and levels vary according to seasonal melt in combination with the operation of the Shoshone power plant. 

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)

Rapid Descriptions


default user thumbnail
Paxton jones
3 years ago

I think it is the hardest III+ in the state besides Waterton Canyon. It is most definitely more difficult than Browns Canyon. However, I say this because Shoshone is so powerful. But it is unlikely you will swim if someone leads you down. Frankly, I rarely see a swimmer so maybe its just me and you will rate it III and leave off the +. But jump in this river near 3000 cfs and make no mistake...you are flirting with IV-. I have done some class V and I am nervous about trying this run at 4000 or higher. But this river and I have a bad history. I always have to brace out of some situation or another. Easy to scout...jig the path...adds to the fun.

Gage Descriptions

Tell us about this gauge by leaving a comment.

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.

Date Flow Result Factor  
2006-04-15 n/a Fatality Failed Rescue Read More
2003-05-31 High Fatality One Boat Trip Read More
1997-07-15 High Fatality Other Read More
1993-05-02 Medium Fatality Other Read More
1956-05-24 High Fatality One Boat Trip Read More



article main photo

Upper Colorado Management Plan to be Finalized by June

Hattie Johnson

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.

article main photo

Upper Colorado River User Survey

Hattie Johnson

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. 

article main photo

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.


article main photo

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!

article main photo

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. 

article main photo

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)

article main photo

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. 

article main photo

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.

article main photo

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.

article main photo

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! 

article main photo

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.  

article main photo

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...

article main photo

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. 

article main photo

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.


article main photo

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. 

article main photo

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.


article main photo

ACTION ALERT: Shorten CO's Boating Season?

Megan Hooker

The future of late summer flows in the Colorado River is at risk, and we need your help to show how important these flows are to paddlers. Front Range entities are questioning whether paddlers even use the Colorado River in Glenwood Canyon after Labor Day. If you enjoy the Colorado River, please take two minutes to write a letter to the City Manager of Glenwood Springs. You can help prove that paddlers enjoy late summer flows and prevent the Front Range from taking away an entire month of the paddling season!

article main photo

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!

article main photo

BLM Releases Draft RMP/EIS for Upper Colorado River- CO

Nathan Fey

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.


article main photo

Management Plan submitted for Upper Colorado River (CO)

Nathan Fey

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.

article main photo

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.

article main photo

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.

article main photo

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!

article main photo

Save The Colorado Campaign Awards AW (CO)

Nathan Fey

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.

article main photo

Take Action on Colorado's Right to Float Bill!

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.

article main photo

Vote Today! Should Recreational Boaters have a Right to Float in Colorado?

Nathan Fey

A couple of Colorado media outlets came out opposed to HB 1188! But we can fight back and let our opinions be heard too.

VOTE NOW in the ONLINE POLL - it takes 1 minute!

article main photo

Upper Colorado River - Project Update

Nathan Fey

  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.

article main photo

AW Preserving Boating Opportunities on the Upper Colorado River

Nathan Fey

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.

article main photo

AW helps develop Upper Colorado River Management Plan

Nathan Fey

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.

article main photo

Flow Survey for Upper Colorado River Basin

Nathan Fey

American Whitewater is surveying paddlers on flow preferences for the upper Colorado River and it's tributaries, including Byers Canyon, Gore Canyon, Glenwood Canyon and the Piney River. The data will be collected and incorporated into the Bureau of Land Management's Resource Management Plan (RMP) and Wild and Scenic River Suitability study. The BLM is also considering alternatives to Wild and Scenic designation for their revised RMP, which could threaten flows on some of the best whitewater rivers and creeks in Colorado!
Please take the time to fill out the survey, and help AW identify and protect recreational flows in the Upper Colorado River basin. 

Matt Muir


Nathan Fey

Colorado Stewardship Director


Craig Irwin


Revision #Revision DateAuthorComment
1194049 11/10/08 n/a n/a
1198337 10/08/10 Nathan Fey
1211359 03/06/19 Nathan Fey updated image position
1213615 09/09/19 Nathan Fey updated image position
1213646 09/14/19 Craig Irwin updated description
1213647 09/14/19 Craig Irwin updated description