Colorado River - Barrel Springs



Barrel Springs is the run from the Hanging Lake exit to Shoshone. 

Carry your boat from the parking lot at Hanging Lake downstream past the dam and usually past Upper Death on the bike path. Watch for bicyclists/pedestrians using the path. Put in below Upper Death rapid. This is a gnarly rapid that is not run very often. Run the runout or put in afterwards, up next is Life After Death, then Barrel Springs rapid. There is one more hole below Barrel before reaching the Shoshone put in. You can take out at Shoshone, but your best option though is to run Shoshone and use the take out for that run at Grizzly Creek exit. 4 miles includes Shoshone class III/IV.

Unfortunately at the Shoshone exit you can only head west. Since you have to go to Grizzly Creek anyway, so might as well get a couple extra miles. This also applies to the Hangin Lake exit, you can only head west.

Also, this run sits above the Shoshone Power Plant and below its diversion dam at Hanging Lake. What this means is that most of the water is diverted to the power plant through a pipe in the mountainside, around this section, rejoining the Colorado River at the Shoshone Exit. This results in ELF conditions most of the time. Usually in the spring at flows above 1800 on the dotsero gauge or when they do maintenance on the tunnels for the power plant  each fall this section will run. 

Notes on flows:
There are two turbines at the Shoshone Power Plant. When one is running 700cfs goes around Barrel, when both are take away 1250cfs. How do you know if Barrel is running? Option A) Dotero Gauge is at 1,800cfs or above Option B) Check the>road conditions>live video feeds> and take the Glenwood Canyon Video Tour, then wait for the camera labelled "E. Barrel Springs" and you get a nice shot of Barrel Springs Rapid. 

The following is for the effective flow in Barrel (Dotsero gauge minus 1,250cfs or per formula above):

300-800 cfs- Fun boofs, but ELFy IV+(NR)

1800 cfs- IV+(NR) - Best intro level, padded but not overpowering

4000 cfs- V(NR) - Beefy, major holes

6000 cfs- V+(NR) - Huge, scout everything, set safety, and be prepared for long swims, i.e. past Shoshone.  

Put In: Hanging Lake Exit 125 parking then put in below Upper Death.

Take Out: Grizzly exit 121


Erik Larsson
Class IV+ to V+
Current Flow 980.0 CFS
07-14-2024 20:54
Estimated Flow
Recommended Flow Minimum: 500.0
Average: 2000.0
Maximum: 8000.0
Typical Season Begins: January
Ends: December
Recommended Use Kayaking: Yes
Rafting: No
Canoeing: No
Packrafting: No
Fishing: No
Length 4.0 Mile(s)
Gradient 85.0 FPM