Dolores River – Colorado
200 miles | Class II-IV+ | (3-5-8 or 10 days)
The Dolores River flows 230 miles north from the Bear Mountains in Colorado lying deep within the San Juan National Forest. Hosting Arches National Park and petroglyphs and ruins of the Anasazi peoples, the Dolores River white water rafting also has a rich history of gold, silver and carnotite (used to produce uranium) mining.
A raft trip on the Dolores River white water rafting offers more unbroken miles of wilderness river scenery and thrills than any river trip in the lower forty eight states, one of America’s best rafting runs and ranking only behind the “Grand Canyon” of the Colorado and Middle Fork of the Salmon as a classic paddling experience. The Dolores River is at its most runnable state in early spring run (mid-April thru mid-June) for white water rafting in Colorado. Low water requires the use of canoes for fishing trips which can sometimes be run summer and fall as well. Minimum age of 10.
Ponderosa Gorge BOOK ONE DAY | BOOK 2 DAY | BOOK 3 DAY
47 miles | Class III-IV | 3 days
Here the Dolores River white water rafting flows down through the high country, clear green and cold, teeming with trout. Camping under the branches of ancient 100′ Ponderosa pines, you can listen to the roar of the legendary Class IV Snaggle Tooth Rapid, the beginning of one of the most challenging stretches of whitewater rafting in Colorado, culminating in the fury of the Narrows ten miles downstream.
Ponderosa – Slickrock Canyon – Hanging Flume Canyon – Lower Gateway Canyon
(ages 10 and up)
50 miles | Class II-III | 2-3 days
Slowing its flow as it enters the grottos and side canyons of Slickrock, float past towering walls streaked with desert varnish and forming the most enchanting and beautiful desert canyon in the American Southwest. Hidden in the mysterious corners of the canyons are prehistoric Anasazi pictographs and ruins. More moderate rapids in this section of the river provide a good stretch for instructional kayak, canoe or inflatable kayaking. Camp beneath overhangs where the “Ancient Ones” camped thousands of years ago.
Hanging Flume Canyon
45 miles | Class II-III | 2-3 days
After leaving Slickrock Canyon, the Dolores River meanders across Paradox Valley beneath giant cottonwoods where rookeries of Great Blue Heron and other bird life thrive. Below Paradox Canyon the river reaches its confluence with the San Miguel River (doubling its volume) and enters Hanging Flume Canyon. The tattered remains of the flume built in the 1800’s to transport water to the “high bar” of Lone Tree Placer Mine can still be seen suspended hundreds of feet above the river.
Lower Gateway Canyon
38 miles | Class III-IV | 2-3 days
The last section of the Dolores River before its confluence with the Colorado River brings you Gateway Canyon and offers again the challenge of technical whitewater thrills. Abundant birds and wildlife surround you along with Indian rock art, both petroglyphs and pictographs, found on the canyon walls. We float beyond the “Rio Nuestra Senora de los Dolores” and mingle with the Colorado River under the historic Deway Bridge in Castle Valley.