Colorado River - Gore Canyon



Gore Canyon or "Gore" is the run that all kayakers want to hit to consider themselves coming of age.  Every state or area has classic runs and Gore is Colorado's crown jewel at the head of the mighty Colorado river.  Once the Colorado river has gained some volume after flowing out of Rocky Mountain NP it cuts a rowdy path through Gore Canyon leaving some of the best solid IV and light V rapids in the state.

From the putin you have a 3 to 4 mile flatwater paddle to get to the canyon.  Consider this a good primer to get your shoulders warmed up.  There has been issues with landowners and the railroad further down so don't try to cut out the flatwater to get to the goods by using a different putin.  

Once in the canyon the rapids remain continuous but Gore has a pool drop feel to it (especially at lower flows).  At high flows or flood levels most of these rapids can give you a severe pounding if you miss your lines.  

Good boaters can style this run in their playboats all day long.  For most, you should take your creeker/tank boat until you are familiar with this run. Don't let pride trick you into running anything you aren't ready for.  Even though portages can be sketchy feel free to walk anything that makes sense to you.

For paddlers within a 2-3 hour radius and with the skills to paddle this run, Gore Canyon is Colorado's great savior, with a season that often starts as early as March and extends into early November.  It's not uncommon to find Durango and New Mexico boaters making the trek up here in late summer and fall in search of whitewater.  Some people complain about the long flatwater paddle in, but it's a great workout and I've seen more wildlife in the 3 mile paddle in than anywhere else in Colorado: bald eagles, a wide assortment of water fowl, hawks, pelicans, moose, beavers, antelop, coyotoes, river otters, and more.

Over the last 5 years, Brian Bank has become synonymous with Gore Canyon, making it his local run.  I have little doubt that he's logged more miles on this run than anyone else in the world and is intent on trying out every possible line.  His presence solved my problem for finding a partner when I discovered I could call him at least 1 hour before I showed up at the put-in and he'd always be game to meet me.  This past year, I've realized I don't even need to call him, he's guaranteed to be there running laps.  He'll point out wildlife to you on the way in and show you some unique lines in the canyon.  Get there early and do some laps with him - or me!


KSC, anonymous
Class IV to V+
Current Flow 1200.0 CFS
07-14-2024 16:15

View River Forecast

Recommended Flow Minimum: 370.0
Average: 1300.0
Maximum: 2400.0
Typical Season Begins: January
Ends: December
Recommended Use Kayaking: Yes
Rafting: Yes
Canoeing: No
Packrafting: No
Fishing: No
Length 9.0 Mile(s)
Gradient 115.0 FPM

Gore put-in

09-15-2012 - Confluence of Blue and Colorado Rivers

Photo By: Kevin Cripps