Box Elder Canyon is scenic with minimal access. Once in the canyon, rescue or retreat will be difficult should something go wrong. The signature rapids all have bedrock features making for ledges and slides with a good dose of mank to keep things interesting. Loaf is the biggest and most regularly portaged of the upper. Dungball is right after loaf and is ugly but get's run fairly often. There is an interesting portage through some boulders on the left. It's a not quite vert multidrop water fall with a boxed in stomping hole at the base. Scout/Portage left and have a bag on the left cliff for anyone who wants to run it.
The run is really all one canyon but the middle or perhaps better described inner canyon is high consequence with minimal options for safety. So the story goes... the only descent saw an unnamed swimmer got stuck in a cave. He used his high level climbing skills to boulder his way out of the cave and dyno back into the main flow hand boofing the final ledge of the rapid on his ass.
Getting There: Take Interstate 25 to just east of Glenrock. Take Box Elder Road (county road 17) south to Converse County Park.
Most of Box Elder Canyon lies within Converse County Park. Boaters are allowed to boat the creek and to portage fences when necessary, however tresspassing on private property at put in or take out is not legal.
The most commonly boated section is the upper canyon. Since the put in access at the Road 17 bridge has become a problem, most boaters hike down one gulley in the park to put in and hike back up another gulley to take out.
From the upper take-out it's easy to hike around and check out the middle canyon. It's impressive just to peer in. Moving another drainage downstream you can hike back to river level and run the lower canyon which is a step easier and step cleaner. I know of 2 descents. The first group took-out on some ranchers property. 2 land owners got in an armed argument about whether to allow the paddlers access. Ugly. When I did the lower we paddled a lot of ranch side flat water with cow shit rapidly degrading the water quality and plenty of barb wire fences to deal with. We took out at the highway and the Bixby Ranch called the police on us. The highway is an illegal take-out but the WYO SP told the landowner floating and portaging the numerous barb wire fences was legal. He let us off with a warning. Paddling much more flatwater down to the platte and using a fishing access is a legal but unattractive option.
Glenn, April 2014.
Other information sources:
Both canyons with more water: http://vimeo.com/1136213
discussion about the access issues at the put-in: http://www.mountainbuzz.com/forums/f14/boxelder-access-47740.html
Boxelder has several solid CL Vs including the middle canyon with only one descent. Access issues exists at the standard put-in and the take-out for the lower canyon.
Several rocks visible from the bridge above the canyon are used to estimate flows. When the rock in the middle is covered, flow is about 180 cfs.
When the lower rock on river left after the bridge is covered, flow is about 250 cfs
When the last rock is covered on the left, flow is above 350 cfs.
Permits are not required for this reach.
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Cody, Wyoming - This August 19 & 20 the Wild West Paddle Club is hosting the 2017 Wild West River Fest in Cody, Wyoming. In celebration of the beautiful Shoshone River, the Fest has events for everyone - Slalom Race, Class II Sprint, Shoshone Canyon Boater Cross, and many other fun activities for the whole family! Weekend festivities are free to the public, with the exception of race registration fees for competitors. You can find a full schedule here and all competitors need to register online in advance.
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