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Colorado Whitewater Rafting & Kayaking
South Platte River Rafting & Kayaking


The South Platte River starts in the Pike National Forest in park County. The river then travels southeast to Eleven Mile Canyon Reservoir before it flows northeast through the Cheesman Reservoir into Denver then up to Greeley. The South Platte River is a popular fishing area as well as a popular area to camp.

The river runs through the Eleven Mile Canyon. This section of the river can only be navigated with kayaks and duckies. The rapids range from class III-V+ with many eddies, waves, holes, side rapids and tight "S" turns.

The section of the river from Bailey to Pine is the only wild navigable canyon on the North Fork. The section of the river is mostly reserved for expert paddlers. The river flows over many steep slopes covered with ponderosa pines along the banks. The best time to raft is between July and August. From Buffalo Creek to South Fork Confluence, technical Class IV rapids plunge over a series of steep drops. From Deckers to North Fork, the rapids are generally light with class I to II rapids through the Platte Canyon. These runs are generally short because the river flows through private property.

The International Rapid Rating Scale:

  • Class I: Easy. Fast moving water with riffles, small waves.
  • Class II: Novice. Straightforward rapids, wide, clear channels.
  • Class III: Intermediate. Rapids, moderate, irregular waves.
  • Class IV: Advanced. Intense, powerful rapids, precise boat handling.
  • Class V: Expert. Long, obstructed, violent rapids.

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Places to Stay & Fun Things to Do

Boxwood Gulch Ranch - Private Water Fishing Web page link icon
FISH 12 MONTHS A YEAR on the North Fork of the South Platte River at Boxwood Gulch. Trips are lead by licensed guides. The Ranch in Shawnee is 50 miles west of Denver on Hwy 285 (less traffic than I70).
Minturn Anglers: Fly-Shops in Minturn, Vail Village, Denver Web page link icon Photos on page icon
Anglers are our Guides! You will catch FISH! FLY SHOPS: Minturn and Vail Village. Experience Colorado Fly-Fishing.Horseback/Fishing Trip. Pre/Post-Wedding Excursions. HOOK YOUR KIDS ON FISHING.

More Activities & Information

Park County, Colorado includes: Alma, Como, Fairplay, Hartsel, Jefferson, Spinney Mountain Reservoir

Rafting & Kayaking in Colorado

Click to return to main Colorado Rafting & Kayaking Map

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