Cache La Poudre River - Steven's Gulch to Bridges Take Out



The most popular run on the Cache la Poudre River. This is a technical class III-IV run for rafts. The only "Wild & Scenic River" in the state of Colorado, the Poudre offers great, fast-paced, technical rapids. Best water levels are in June, just like everywhere else in CO.

This run description includes the following sections.  Each section is roughly broken down into 2 mile sections.

Upper Mishawaka
Lower Mishawaka
Poudre Park

The most accurate flow information is based on a gauge marked on a boulder at Pine View Falls.  There are frequent updates on the Poudre Rock Report website (see External Links) or subscribe to the e-mail list.  [edit 23May2014: A new gauge has been installed by the City of Fort Collins near the town of Poudre Park, Hewlett Gulch Bridge Water Depth]

Section Descriptions:

Upper Mishawaka:  Starting at either Steven's Gulch or Upper Landing, this is arguably the best section of III-IV on the Poudre - it is definately the most continuous.  The run starts out with fast class II-III that increases to III+ at 3-way rapid about 1.5 miles into the run.  At good water levels, 3.5' and up on the Pinview Guage, the river is continuous III+/IV- from 3-way until you pass the Mishawaka Inn a little over a mile down river.  When the river gets to 4.5' and above this section is very fun class IV.  Grab a beer at the Mish and continue into the Lower Mishawaka section.  

Lower Mishawaka:  This section is often thought of as the easiest section of the "Steven's Down" run.  Be careful though as this is the shallowest and rockiest section as well.  There are fun rapids in this strecth and good play options, but there is a little more downtime between the rapids.  Fun Fact: At 5' and above some of the biggest waves on the Poudre form in this section.  Take out at the large Poudre Park parking lot, at the Hewletts Gulch Bridge or continue downstream.

Poudre Park: From the end of Lower Mishawaka through the small town of Poudre Park the river goes through its calmest stretch.  At medium to high flows an excellent wave with eddy service forms near one of the last houses in Poudre Park.  As you leave the houses behind you the river starts to pick back up.  Eventually you will float under a bridge and the river will take a 90 degree turn to the right - this is Cardiac.  This rapid is easy enough if you know it is coming, but it has suprised people in the past.  Rumor has it that a miserly troll lives in the house next to Cardiac, but these claims are unsubstantiated.  A few smaller rapids later you will find yourself at Pineview Falls - this is noticeably the biggest rapid on the run - and is the site of the spray painted foot guage that gives the only accurate volume reading for the Poudre Canyon runs.  

Bridges: After Pineview begins the Bridges run.  This is a great class III run that is more chanalized than many of the upstream runs.  Because of its channalized nature it can be succesfully navigated at absurdly low river levels.  This run is fairly straightforward, watch out for the bridges and surf the many fun little waves.  There are two large parking lots that mark the take-out.  Private boaters generally take-out at the upper lot next to a reasonably fun play wave. You can continue downtsream, but be aware of the nasty diversion damn about a mile below the normal bridges take out.  


Class III- to IV+
Current Flow 1820.0 CFS
06-26-2019 08:45
Recommended Flow Minimum: 250.0
Average: 600.0
Maximum: 4700.0
Typical Season Begins: May
Ends: August
Recommended Use Kayaking: Yes
Rafting: Yes
Canoeing: No
Packrafting: No
Fishing: No
Length 12.0 Mile(s)
Gradient 60.0 FPM

Pine View

05-13-2013 -