Looking for a local place to paddle? These are some of the most popular runs near Montrose. While we strive to provide accurate information, please check conditions first. Please paddle safely!
For current river flows please visit:
Montrose Water Sports Park
Located in Montrose’s Baldridge Park, the recently built Watersports Park has become a gem of the Western Slope!
Ridgway State Park
Mountain scenery mingles with magnificent campgrounds at Ridgway State Park. Modern, universally-accessible recreation areas and the five-mile long reservoir make memorable days and nights.
Only 15 miles from the town of Ouray, Ridgway’s great outdoors – the “Switzerland of America” – welcomes those from near and far. The park’s popular campgrounds, beautiful reservoir, picnic and playground areas, extensive trails, and diverse wildlife offer year-round activities for all types of outdoor enthusiasts. Come enjoy our swimbeach too!
There is so much to see and do in this peaceful, sunny, beautiful spot of Colorado. Come and enjoy it!
The Taylor is a superb beginner (near Almont), intermediate (below Todd’s slot) and advanced (from Lottus Creek) river and will have water when most everything else is dry. Below Todd’s slot lay miles of beautiful continuous class III mountain water to the takeout by the bridge right above a resort (can’t remember the name). Below this bridge to Almont the river steadily decreases in gradient until it is a placid class II stream where it meets the East River at Almont to form the Gunnison.
Between Delta and Grand Junction:
Easy whitewater, Class II+
Length: 26 miles
Difficulty: Class II+
Gradient: 6 fpm
Put-in: Escalante Bridge
This scenic run is one of the most mellow sections of the Gunnison and is well worth the paddle for a beginner or anyone who wants to get off the beaten path. Though there are several major highways nearby, and this is not a wilderness by any stretch, there is a very quaint and remote feel to the run. Dominguez Canyon is about halfway into the run and is well worth exploring. There is a beautiful 30 foot waterfall a few miles up this remote side canyon.
Winding through portions of the Dominguez-Escalante National Conservation Area, the lower Gunnison river offers a highly scenic and gentle float from the town of Delta to Grand Junction. The river flows northwest through beautiful slick rock canyon country interspersed with small ranches and fruit orchards. Cottonwood stands hold Great Blue Heron rookeries and the area is an April breeding ground for Canadian Geese. Canoe, kayak, and raft float trips can be made in one day or multiple days.
Delta to Whitewater – 39 miles (2 days)
Escalante Canyon to Whitewater – 28.7 miles (1-2 days)
Escalante Canyon to Dominguez Canyon – 13.2 miles (1 day)
Dominguez Canyon to Whitewater – 14 miles (1 day)
Whitewater to Grand Junction – 13.5 miles (1 day)
Best times: May through early October. Average gradient: 7.3 fpm with a 375 foot drop. Class I-II, including a small diversion between Escalante and Dominguez canyons. Run on left. More information:
Escalante Canyon of the Gunnison River
The 800-foot-deep canyon from Escalante Creek to Redlands Dam offers beautiful scenery, hidden rock art and solitude. The 39-mile trip through Class I and II water takes 11 to 16 hours and offers opportunities for hiking, wildlife viewing and exploring.
The Gunnison river through the Gunnison gorge offers a technical and remote whitewater experience for rafters, kayakers and canoeists. Your trip can vary widely depending on time of year and flow from dam releases and winter snowpack.
For more information on the Gunnison Gorge, follow the link below:
The San Miguel offers the whitewater boater a variety of runs, all within the Class II – III range. The consistent gradient and continuous flow of the river provide the boater with an abundance of whitewater, no one of which is overly difficult. While the river should be easily negotiable by the intermediate whitewater boater, numerous strainers and downed wood form spring floods can make the river more challenging than its rating would suggest. Use caution in maneuvering around these ever-changing obstacles.
AW Class III
Length: 5.2 miles
Average gradient: 60 fpm
Put-in location coordinates:
Takeout location coordinates:
Norwood Bridge to Green Truss Bridge:
AW Class III
Length: 16 miles
Average gradient: 46 fpm
Put-in location coordinates:
For more information on the San Miguel River, follow the link below:
The headwaters of the Upper Animas is the uppermost and probably the least paddled section of the entire river. The Class II – III section starts near the mining ghost town of Eureka and ends in the town of Silverton / Upper A put-in. Beware of mining debris and other hazards on this meandering alpine stretch. The water is frigid and the rocks are sharp. The majority of the run is Class II with a little Class III here and there. Most of this stretch is roadside and can be scouted on the shuttle.