San Miguel River
Splashy, fast and fun, the San Miguel offers terrific rafting for guests of any experience level. Running the San Miguel requires constant manuevering and excellent teamwork. Grab a paddle and jump in the raft!
Our upper river 1/2 day trip launches near Deep Creek, just 6 miles downstream from Telluride, and runs approximately 12 miles west to our take-out site just below Placerville. At typical flows, this is more intense whitewater than the lower run, with long sections of constant class III rapids and occassional class III+ whitewater.
Our age limit for the upper river is 15 years. All participants must be strong swimmers in excellent physical condition. Boat capacity is limited to 4 paddlers on the upper river. As you'll find out, you'll want a little extra elbow room...
Telluride Outside offers two full day rafting trips on the San Miguel. Our Norwood Canyon full day trip launches at Beaver Creek and runs 19.5 miles through the remote Norwood Canyon to our take-out near Pinon Bridge. We are surrounded by solitude and nature's beauty as we pass through this remote corridor on one of the last undammed rivers in the Rockies. From a whitewater standpoint, Norwood Canyon offers an abundance of class II+ rapids and a handful of class III rapids, including the entertaining "Ledges."
Our other full day choice combines the two half-day routes, launching at Deep Creek and running all the way to Beaver Creek (approximately 21 miles). As described above, the upper 12 miles offer fast action class III-III+ whitewater. In the second half, the gradient eases somewhat, but is still characterized by intricate paddling through a maze of class II-III whitewater. Capacity is limited to 4/boat on the upper/lower full day, with a minimum age of 15 years.
San Miguel rafting prices include transportation to and from Telluride, splash suits, river booties, snacks and drinks.
The Dolores, "River of Sorrows," ranks among the finest wilderness whitewater experiences in the United States. We run two distinct sections of the Dolores on multi-day float trips, described in greater detail below. 1-day trips are conducted on the first 19 miles of the Ponderosa Canyon.
In addition to high adventure, the Dolores offers fascinating cultural and historical highlights for fortunate rafters who travel its canyons. The Dolores traverses the northern edge of the historical homeland of the Anasazi, an ancient culture that flourished from 500 AD. to 1300 AD. Haunting examples of rock art (petroglyphs) and cliff dwellings may be found in these canyons. Dinosaur tracks may still be seen in the rock around one area of the river.
Ponderosa Canyon, Bradfield Bridge to Dove Creek Pump Station (1-day trips and start of 3-day trips)
This first section of the lower Dolores River begins at Bradfield Bridge and ends at Slickrock, CO. The first 19 miles run through the deepening walls of upper Ponderosa Canyon. The canyon gets its name from the huge ponderosa pines that grow within it. This section is characterized by non-stop class II-II+ whitewater, a wonderful day trip and excellent warm up for more challenging rapids downstream.
Ponderosa Canyon, Dove Creek Pump Station to Slickrock (2-day and 3-day trips)
The 28 miles from Dove Creek Pumps to Slickrock are among the most glorious in western whitewater. Class III rapids are nearly continuous for the first 7 miles, leading up to the notorious Snaggletooth. "Snag" is a class IV-V rapid that features a major drop and requires fast action paddling through a quarter mile of boulder studded whitewater. Class III water continues for almost ten miles downstream from Snaggletooth. At most flow levels, Dove Creek to Slickrock is a 2-day float.
Slickrock Canyon: Big Gypsum to Bedrock (2-3 day trips)
The third section of the Dolores begins at Slickrock and ends at Bedrock, CO. We typically launch from the Big Gypsum river access, 13 miles downstream from Slickrock. Slickrock Canyon is noted for red sandstone and smooth rock walls towering 500 feet or more above the winding river. A handful of class II and III rapids punctuate magnificent scenery and a remarkable landscape. We camp either one or two nights on this stretch, depending upon water flows and our trip itinerary.
Typical Launch Dates (number of launches and specifics days of week remain the same each year)
Ponderosa Canyon, including Snaggletooth section on 2 or 3-day trip
April 24 (Thurs) 1, 2 or 3-day trip
April 30 (Weds) 1, 2 or 3-day trip
May 5 (Mon) 1, 2 or 3-day trip
May 8 (Thurs) 1, 2 or 3-day trip
May 10 (Sat) 1, 2 or 3-day trip
May 13 (Tues) 1, 2 or 3-day trip
May 21 (Weds) 1, 2 or 3-day trip
May 23 (Fri) 1, 2 or 3-day trip
May 24 (Sat) 1, 2 or 3-day trip
May 27 (Tues) 1, 2 or 3-day trip
June 4 (Weds) 1, 2 or 3-day trip
June 5 (Thurs) 1, 2 or 3-day trip
June 7 (Sat) 1, 2 or 3-day trip
June 9 (Mon) 1, 2 or 3-day trip
June 11 (Weds) 1, 2 or 3-day trip
June 12 (Thurs) 1, 2 or 3-day trip
June 14 (Sat) 1, 2 or 3-day trip
June 16 (Mon) 1, 2 or 3-day trip
June 18 (Weds) 1, 2 or 3-day trip
Slickrock Canyon (Big Gyp to Bedrock)
April 27 (Sun) 2 or 3-day trip
May 24 (Sat) 2 or 3-day trip
June 3 (Tues) 2 or 3-day trip
Meals: Overnight trips are fully catered with delicious meals utilizing fresh ingredients. Typical breakfast fare includes pancakes, sausages, oatmeal and fruit. For lunch, fresh sandwiches and salads are prepared on the river. Dinner selections include freshly prepared pasta dishes, "Mexican Night," and brownies for dessert. Vegetarian menues are available upon request. Alcoholic beverages are not provided, but guests are welcome to bring modest quantities for their enjoyment.
Prices include round trip transportation from Telluride, BLM resource access fees, shuttles and all meals. Guests are required to bring certain articles of personal equipment for the river and camp. Please inquire for a complete gear list.