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Left Hand Canyon River Guide
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River Guide

Left Hand Canyon: Just Northwest of Boulder

Length of Trip: 3.8 miles
Gradient: 190 ft/mile
Difficulty: Class IV and Class V at high water
Water Flows: May-July.
Flow: The gauge is not available on any accessible systems that I know of. There is a gauge at the take-out. A good low flow will read 2' on the gauge.
Scenery: A-B This entire run follows the road. The road does not have a great deal of traffic, and in many spots you can not see the road unless you look carefully. Over-all a pretty run.
Put-In: Drive North out of Boulder on US Highway 36. A few miles out of town is a turn to the left which is Left Hand Canyon. You will have just driven over the creek, but it is barely noticeable at this point due to the irrigation ditches just upstream. 5.2 miles to a fork in the road, and two creeks come together. This is the put-in just below the confluence.

Take-Out: 1.4 miles from US Highway 36 going up Left Hand Canyon. There are two dams and a gauge on the concrete sides of the sluice. On the upper dam, open a barb wire fence gate, walk across a wood bridge toward a small stone building, and you will see the gauge going down into the water. Currently, I do not know whose property this is.
Description: You should road scout this entire run before you put in. There are several culverts to check and see if they are clear. This run has quite a few trees to jump and paddle over, under and around. There are lots of tight maneuvers, and small eddies, most places you will have great difficulty turning your boat around. At low flows, you have time to react to the rapids. At high water, this run would be Class V chute. Low flows are around 100 cfs and high water would be around 250 cfs. This is a classic front range steep creek. If you want to hone your skills for the Class V creeks of the front range, this is your training creek. It makes a great after work run.

If you want a Class IV creek run to enjoy, this is your run. You can put-in or take-out in many spots. There are lots of little challenges along this section to give you some excitement. Due to the size of the run, small boats only. Small solo canoes can run this section at low flows, I'm not sure about high water.
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