Clear Creek: Georgetown to I-70 and Rt. 6
Length of Trip: 18 miles
Gradient: 86ft/mile (From Dumont to mouth of canyon)
Difficulty: Class III and IV
High Water Flows: Mid-May and June, boatable through
August. Low water is 200cfs, good water is 350cfs, and high
water is above 500 cfs.
Flow: Call Watertalk @ 831-7135, Division 1, Station
Put-In: There are numerous put-ins/take-outs along
this section. You can put in just below the Georgetown lake
dam, but I do not recommend this section. The best boating
is by far, from St. Marys Glacier down to Rt. 6.
Take-Out: Just below the I-70 bridge on Rt. 6, across
from Kermits, or the Gravel pit on Rt. 6. Shuttle is I-70
to Rt. 6 exit.
Shuttle: I-70 and Frontage Road corridor.
Idaho Springs to Kermits is about a 5 mile run. Canoes and
convental rafts will have a difficult time due to the continous
nature of this section and the short wave lengths. There are
few eddies, if any, to catch once a boat is filled with water.
Description: If you put in just below the Georgetown
dam, you will find many river hazards, including a road culvert
just downstream. The first little bit is Class IV rocks and
bushes, so if you run this section, put in where the road
crosses the river just below the dam. Continuing downstream
you will run into more culverts, tunnels under I-70, numerous
barb-wire fences, at least one low bridge, beaver dams, and
several river wide trees. Heed my warning against any boats
beside kayaks, and maybe inflatable kayaks running this section,
canoes and rafts are too high to fit under many of the river
hazards, and duckies may also be too high. For kayakers, the
ducks, beavers, birds, and sense of adventure somehow makes
this run worth doing. Most of the water is class II-III, but
the start is class IV, and the obsticles up the rating. Under
the Empire bridge is a class IV rapid, and a full tree blocks
the river just downstream.
At the junction of I-70 and the Hwy 40 is another put-in.
If you put-in on the West Fork of Clear Creek, you will be
able to run a nice class IV rapid just below the confleunce
with Clear Creek. A little ways down is another put-in at
Fall Creek from St. Marys Glacier. Park near Fall Creek, and
walk/slide your boat under I-70 into Clear Creek. This section
has mostly class IV boating down to Idaho Springs and is a
unique run to Colorado as it has been channelized into a pool
drop run. This channelization makes this run very runnable
in low water. It would be a great section to hang gates for
slalom racers to practice racing. The drops along this section
come at you fast, and they are blind horizon lines. If you
don't know where to run the drop, you will approach the horizon
line slow, so you don't charge over the edge into a rock,
but if you go slow, you might miss the rock and land in a
river wide hole. It is best to bring a probe boater or someone
that knows the river well. The first boater can tell the rest
of the group behind them where to run the ledge.
At the West end of Idaho Springs, right at the on/off ramp
is a put-in or take-out. You can run or put-in below the class
IV rapid that lurks just around the corner. Once beyond the
class IV rapid at the put-in, the rest of the run is class
III in difficultly, with one class IV just above the take-out.
If you takie a swim on this section it is more difficult than
it looks to get out of the river due to its continous rapids
and a lack of eddies. The last rapid, class IV is just upstream
of the I-70 bridge and the Clear Creek Canyon I-70 exit. This
rapid can be portaged on the talus. Take-out just below I-70,
on the left there is a break in the large boulders with a