Dolores River Class II+
The Dolores River is a beautiful back-country river tucked away from normal travel in extreme western Colorado, approximately 50 miles southwest of Grand Junction, CO. Beginning at the confluence of the San Miguel and Dolores Rivers and winding up in Gateway, CO, this 30-mile section lies almost untouched by boaters. This Colorado canoe trip is the most suitable stretch for open canoes and consists of quiet water interspersed with rapids up to Class II and III in difficulty. The natural setting is spectacular with the river framed by massive red sandstone cliffs, hundreds of feet high. The scenery will test your photography skills because the vistas are magnificent!
This remote area is steeped in local western history. The canyon was an escape route and hideout for Butch Cassidy and his Hole in the Wall Gang after robbing the Telluride bank in 1889. You’ll also see a large abandoned mining flume built in the 1890’s hanging suspended high above the river on the canyon walls.
The Dolores River is recommended for those who are looking for adventure and a more challenging paddle. At least one experienced paddler per canoe is suggested; children should be 13 years of age or older. We will also be paddling with near-empty canoes which is very beneficial when negotiating the rapids of the Dolores. You will leave personal gear like clothes, tents, sleeping bags, coolers, etc., in your vehicle. Each morning we will shuttle the cars to the next riverside campsite.
Please see our: What to Bring list for a gear list, what may be rented and additional trip details.
Day 1: Meet your guide staff at the park in Gateway, CO, located 50 miles southwest of Grand Junction and enjoy a continental breakfast before driving to your first night campsite. This is a car-supported trip and your vehicle will be positioned at each campsite, allowing you to paddle with empty canoes making them more maneuverable.
You will drive to the confluence of the Dolores and San Miguel Rivers in as few cars as possible and launch. Shortly after launching, you will begin paddling past the remnants of an abandoned gold mining flume anchored high above on the canyon walls. This architectural feat is an archaeological mystery as it is unknown if it was every operational.
Paddle downriver until approximately noon and enjoy lunch on the rivers edge maybe catching a glimpse of the area wildlife.
After lunch continue paddling and having water fights until roughly 2 p.m. and make camp at Louise Pit Bridge where your car has been parked.
Late afternoon on the first day is devoted to setting up your tent and possibly taking a short hike to an abandoned mine or relaxing, playing, and floating in the river.
Happy Hour begins at 5:30 p.m. and shrimp, cheese, crackers and wine are served.
Dinner is served around 7 p.m. followed by campfire activities that may include games, singing, western tall tales, or guitar playing.
Day 2: The middle day will consist of paddling through flat water and intermittent small rapids until reaching the Peregrine Rapid campsite. The guides will supervise running each canoe through Peregrine Rapid and you can choose not to paddle through it. Again, your car will be positioned here where we will camp for the night. You will have time to bathe and relax in the river before Happy Hour begins around 5:30 p.m.
Day 3: You will break down camp after a hearty breakfast. Some of the highlights of the day include Salt Creek and Larson’s Rapids adding some exciting fun to the journey.
You typically reach the Gateway takeout between 2-4 p.m. after lunch on the last day of the trip. Your car will be at the Gateway takeout allowing time to return home.
We no longer offer reservations for this adventure.
Please contact: Centennial Canoe Outfitters, LLC at (720) 283-0553
You can also contact them by email at: firstname.lastname@example.org
You will meet your guide staff in Gateway, CO, about 50 miles south of Grand Junction, Colorado at 7:30am.
You can also use Googlemaps.
If you cancel 28 days or more before your trips launch date you can get a full refund less a $30/person processing fee
We strongly recommend purchasing trip insurance through Travelex at 1-800-228-9792 (www.travelexinsurance.com), if you do not wish to loose money due to unforeseen circumstances. You will be asked for location #06-0079 by Travelex.
If you cancel your trip, you must notify us in writing. Any refunds owed will be based on the day our office receives your notice.
Exceptions to this policy cannot be made for any reason, including personal emergencies or the weather. There is no refund for leaving a trip early, arriving late, or choosing not to do all the offered activities.
CCO reserves the right to change tour itineraries or cancel any tour without notice due to acts of nature, safety concerns, political unrest, insufficient number of participants or other conditions. If we are unable to provide you with another trip that is satisfactory, all moneys paid will be refunded and the moneys shall constitute full settlement with you.
We are not responsible for any additional expenses that may be incurred because of a cancelled tour, travel delay, or flight cancellations, including non-refundable lodging deposits and non-refundable air tickets.
A guest may be asked to leave a trip if a guide feels that their continuing participation may prove harmful to that person or to the well being of other guests. We are not responsible for any additional expenses incurred by such guests.
Have a wonderful adventure!