Elk Creek (Animas trib.) - 01. Elk Creek (Animas trib.)

Elk Creek (Animas trib.), Colorado, US


01. Elk Creek (Animas trib.)

Usual Difficulty III-IV (for normal flows)
Avg. Gradient 200 fpm

Elk Creek of the Animas

Elk Creek of the Animas
Photo by G Dalton

River Description

Elk Creek is a tributary of the Upper Animas River. Elk joins the Animas about five miles below Silverton, at Elk Park. Elk has one of the bigger drainage of the Upper Animas tributaries (probably a larger drainage than nearby Needle Creek ).
Harris H and I explored this little run in mid-July, 2008. I'd say this is a little late in the season to hit Elk, but that's when we were there and some afternoon thunderstorms helped the level a bit. We also ran it very late in the day, exiting the last gorge of Elk not long before dark.
There is a good trail along the river-right side of Elk Creek which also gives a birds-eye view of most of the creek for scouting. You will not see the final gorge of Elk from the trail though. I scouted this last gorge from its rim before we dropped-in, and there was one heavy log jam in there. We were able to carry over the jam though.
Elk is mainly high-speed class III-IV boulder gardens in the last mile and a half or more before the Animas. It wasn't tough, but it was fast bopping over rounded boulders with an occasional log in the creek. There may or may not be an eddy above wood, so be heads-up. Harris called this "class threefive" since it was easy boating with the occasional mad scramble above a bad strainer. Pretty laid-back for a Colorado exploratory in my opinion though; and it made for some nice variation to an Animas overnighter. Needle Creek (downstream) has bigger drops, but the rock in Elk seemed more rounded.
Gordon Dalton

StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2017-07-09 21:06:02


Rapid Descriptions

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