Castle Creek - Castle Creek


This is a fun, short, easy creek run near Aspen, usually combined with the Slaughterhouse section on the Roaring Fork. Although this run has no big drops, it's fast and creeky, requiring some quick maneuvers and providing an excellent introduction to creeking. This run is notorious for wood so be vigilant about ensuring safe passage.

The main whitewater begins when you reach a small manmade dam.  The banks tend to be bushy, making scouting a bit of a chore, but everything on this run can be readily scouted and even portaged. After about a mile of some fun whitewater in a usually crystal clear river, the creek confluences with the Roaring Fork just above the Slaughterhouse bridge. If Castle Creek is flowing, then the Roaring Fork is almost guaranteed to be at a good level, so most people will continue downstream. Some savy boaters may swap out their creekboats for playboats at the Slaughterhouse put-in.

My first run down this creek was with a small group of tentative boaters. We spent a long time scrambling through the brush, scouting, setting safety, and slowly working our group of four through the first section of rapids.  At that point, we had a mutiny and one member decided she was in over her head and walked out, winding her way through residential properties up the hillside.  Another in our group was on the fence, but decided to portage a rapid and continue on downstream.  As it turned out the run is so short that, the main section of whitewater was almost already over and it turned to class III until the confluence.

Our outcome was way better in comparison with another story I heard from some friends.  They took a group into Castle Creek at high water.  They lost track of one member of their group who got stuffed in a pile of wood.  Everything turned out ok, but that wasn't determined until after search and rescue had been called.  Watch out for wood!


Class IV+ to V-
Current Flow Visual or Unknown
Estimated Flow
Recommended Flow Minimum: 200.0
Average: 350.0
Maximum: 1000.0
Typical Season Begins: May
Ends: July
Recommended Use Kayaking: Yes
Rafting: No
Canoeing: No
Packrafting: No
Fishing: No
Length 2.0 Mile(s)
Gradient FPM