Needle Creek - 01. Forest service Trail 504 Hike and Huck

Needle Creek, Colorado, US


01. Forest service Trail 504 Hike and Huck

Usual Difficulty V (for normal flows)
Avg. Gradient 400 fpm

Needle Creek

Needle Creek
Photo of Josh Sandage by Gordon Dalton taken 6/2006

River Description

Needle Creek is a small tributary of the Upper Animas River. The creek drains the fourteen-thousand foot Needle Mountains; Sunlight Peak, Mount Eolus, and Windom Peak. Accessing Needle can require some creativity - this is the Weminuche Wilderness and it is definitely not roadside. On our exploratory run, we enjoyed an overnight trip down the Upper Animas with the probing of Needle Creek as the highlight. Another option could involve a train ride straight to Needleton.

Forest service trail 504 parallels Needle Creek from the Animas River all the way up to Chicago Basin and beyond. Hike up the trail to access the top of Needle Creek, putting on whenever you are tired of hiking and ready for hucking.

There will be wood in the creek, but on our run I was surprised at how little wood was in the way. All of the main drops were free of wood; there was only wood in some of the flatter "boogie-water" sections and it was possible to get around or under most of that. I was also surprised at how quality most of the drops actually were. There are some nice granite cascades and slides like "Needle Tracks," to spice up the continual rock gardens. One of the more complex drops, "Eye of the Needle," starts with a boof over a wood dam leading into a tight, twisting slot move with a fairly sticky hole at the bottom.

Combined with the Upper Animas and the Rockwood Box, this makes for a variety of boating styles in one trip: from micro-creeking to big-water in one day. Oh yeah, save some energy for the hike-out to Rockwood Depot.

Gordon Dalton

StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2009-06-08 14:04:44


Rapid Descriptions

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