Paddlers who enjoy the thrill of fast, shallow water and technical terrain (class IV and V) need to test their mettle on lower South Boulder Creek. This stretch of water runs 6.7 miles from Gross Reservoir to Eldorado State Park and features a variety of advanced sections that make for a formidable day on the river. Be warned that there are two class V+ drops with lots of exposed rock and strong currents. This run is for advanced kayakers only!
What Makes It Great
With all the other terrestrial sports dominating Boulder, South Boulder Creek is an overlooked test piece that puts paddlers on the edge of control, especially at the “The Brain” and Martin Gulch Falls obstacles at the upper part of the creek. The lower mile section at Eldorado is a great way to get used to the personality of South Boulder Creek (and makes for good laps with a car shuttle).
The sheer power and technicality of the river presents a series of challenges that are sure to please those looking for a thrill-a-minute paddle through some of the most pristine and isolated wilderness in the Boulder area. Rather than run the entire segment from the top near Gross Reservoir, many people prefer to run the one-mile section at Eldorado State Park -- a quick, easy to reach destination that still offers a whole lot of action.
Who is Going to Love It
Strong, experienced kayakers who aren’t afraid of fast water, aggressive drops and alternating rocky and shallow passages. The river is best run in May or early June when the water runs high.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
Put in for Lower South Boulder Creek is 1/4 mile below Gross Dam off Gross Dam Road about 8 miles from Chautauqua Park (Flagstaff Road becomes East Gross Dam Road). From the vehicle bridge that crosses the creek, park river-left, uphill in the now-developed parking turnout of the turn. Denver Water Board property surrounds this unique putin, so stick to the foot trail that runs from the turnout down to the creek.
For the Eldorado State Park run, simply go to the gate at Eldorado State Park in south Boulder (an $8 fee applies for a vehicle day pass). Put in along the creek where ever you feel comfortable.