Colorado River Canoe Trip Info
River Between Dotsero and Bair Ranch
This stretch of the Colorado River is located 110 miles W of Denver right off of I-70.
Map of Colorado River at Dotsero
This part of the Colorado river runs right along the interstate so there is some traffic noise and the views would be better off without it of course. The scenery is worth putting up with the interstate noise though. Both the put in and the take out are very easy access. You will see other canoe and kayaks on this stretch of the river occasionally, but if you go on a weekday, you can often have the river to yourself. If you don't have a second vehicle, portage from the take out to the starting point is very easy with a bicycle. There is a really nice bike path that runs from Dotsero past the Hanging Lake rest area. It's an easy ride. A quarter mile after the put in the Eagle River joins the Colorado River. A little over a mile after the put in you start to enter Glenwood Canyon.
Warnings, Tips, & Other Details
At 1900 CFS this trip takes about two hours at a relaxed pace. This part of the Colorado river can be done "comfortably" with a canoe or kayak when the CFS is between 1300 and 2400 CFS. If you park at the Bair Ranch rest area and take a bicycle on the bike path to get to the put in at Dotsero, the ride is very easy and will take about forty minutes at a good speed. There are two different small sections of rapids up to a class two in this 6 mile section and if you are not comfortable going through them, portage around them is relatively easy. The second rapid is a few hundred feet long and will be a challenge for a beginner and even an amateur may nave trouble. This set of rapids can be avoided by paddling to the far right. You will pass about 6 small islands on this stretch of the Colorado river. There are a couple spots where these islands are side by side. It is easiest to go to the right or left, if you go between the islands you may encounter shallow water. Winds in the afternoon here can pick up out of nowhere so it is best to be off the river before noon or be prepared.
Real time river gauge for this part of the Colorado River
Where to Park
Put In - Take I-70 to the Dotsero exit. Go right off of the exit if you're coming from the east. Follow the road around to the left and go a total of 1/2 mile. Turn left right before the bridge and you're there.
Take Out - Take I-70 to the Bair Ranch rest area exit (the next exit after Dotsero when you're heading west).