Upper Clear Creek Loveland Ski Area to Georgetown
Length of Trip: 13 miles (from Loveland),
12 miles (from Bakersfield)
Gradient: 157ft/mile (from Loveland),
121ft/mile (from Bakersfield)
Difficulty: Class V to VI-
Water Flows: June-July
Flow: No gauge to my knowledge. If it looks like it
might have just enough water, then the water level is perfect.
Call Watertalk @ 831-7135, Division 1, Station 23, for the
Gauge at Lawson. The gauge was reporting 566 when I ran this
section above Georgetown.
Scenery: A-B There are stretches away from
the highway that make this section very pretty, but the sections
along the highway detract from the visual aesthetics and the
highway noise compounds the problem. This run does not lend
itself very well for your viewing pleasure unless you are
Put-In: I-70 west of Denver, heading west take the
Loveland pass exit, then left after going under I-70 as if
getting back on the Highway. Turn right into the Loveland
Ski area. We put in just below the last bridge east of the
parking area. This is private property, the best put-in would
be the Bakersfield Exit off of I-70.
Take-Out: In the town of Georgetown, west end of the
lake where Clear Creek enters the lake. There is parking behind
the condos, and a public foot bridge. There are no good eddies
to take out here, but the water is not moving very fast. Beware
that there is a very low pipe under the bridge, so take out
above the foot bridge. The bridge and pipe are visible from
Description: The upper run of this section is a high
altitude run, that is almost at tree line. Loveland to Bakersville
is a meandering fun little section that is a bit scratchy,
yet class IV due to tight turns. Your eddy catching with bush
grabbing skills should be honed. Below Bakersville this run
turns class V. The river starts out with river wide holes
built with logs for better fishing. The first class V drop
will have I-70 on you left, and a rock wall on the right.
I would like to call this first drop: "Blind Mans Boof",
based on the first descent, where Will Gadd boofed the center
rock and dropped off into space, solely based on my hand signals.
Scout left. This run has lots of fun rapids, logs, tunnels
under I-70, (please scout the tunnels) to keep you amused.
Just upstream of Silver Plum is a long Class V rapid which
leads into a tunnel under I-70. The Silver Plum exit, then
head west on the frontage road will allow you to vehicle scout
this rapid. If you have any problems with this rapid, take
out in Silver Plum! Silver Plum has several bridges that you
will have to duck/roll to get under.
On the east side of Silver Plum is another I-70 tunnel, portage
this tunnel and the rapid just below it. The rapid on the
other side of the tunnel is a class VII cascade which if you
stay upright, you might survive. Put back in where you feel
comfortable. I put in at the Railroad bridge. From this point,
down, this section is class VI-. The eddies are about one
boat in size every half mile or so. Scout everything. There
are trees, steel, railroad timbers and all sorts of junk in
this section. It is harder than it looks, when you have walked
downstream, picking your line, and you turn around to review
it in reverse, you will find the gradient will give you a
crink in the neck looking back up. If you get as far as town,
be prepared to roll under bridges or portage them, depending
This run is extreme. Swimming is not allowed. I would recommend
that this be a kayak run only, with the kayak being a creek
style boat with a keyhole cockpit. C-1s, duckies will have
a tuff time getting under bridges. Rafts just will not fit.