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 23.
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 nice eddy.