Gore Canyon is the quintessential Colorado Class V run because of its tough rapids and reliable summer flows. River flows in Colorado are somewhat complicated but Gore Canyon generally has reliable water from mid-July to mid-October.

Rafting Tunnel Falls on Gore Canyon

Rafting Tunnel Falls on Gore Canyon

The hardest rapids are Gore Rapid and Tunnel Falls. Both can be portaged with a reasonable amount of effort making this a run that solid Class IV paddlers can attempt. There are quite a few nearly river-wide ledge holes so it really helps to have someone who knows the run well to know where they are and where to go.

The last drop, Kirshbaum Rapid, is too long to portage so you'll need to run this one if you're a timid paddler. It's a long rapid full of back to back Class IV moves making it Class IV+ or V depending on flows and how your rate rapids.

Trip Highlights

Mile 0: Put-in at the parking lot and boat ramp on the Blue River.

Gore Canyon put-in on the Blue River

Gore Canyon put-in on the Blue River

Mile 0.2: The Blue River joins the Colorado River. The next 3.7 miles are a flatwater warm up.

Mile 3.9: Gear-Up-Rock has a small beach on the left that most groups stop at to put on dry tops an dry suits.

Mile 4: Whitewater Warm-Up (III) is a nice series of rapids that make a nice warm up before Applesauce.

Mile 4.3: Applesauce (IV) is generally considered the most dangerous rapid on the run due to some nasty rocks on the left. It can easily be scouted from the left.

Mile 5: Gore Rapid (III) is a fierce rapid that should be scouted from the railroad tracks on the right. There are many possible lines to consider. Since Scissors and Pyrite come immediately after it's a good idea to scout those from the train tracks too.

Rafting the final part of Gore Rapid

Rafting the final part of Gore Rapid

Mile 5.1: Scissors (IV) has a big hole in the middle that should be avoided. It's easy to scout this one while you're scouting Gore Rapid.

Mile 5.2: Pyrite Falls (IV) comes soon after Scissors. This is another rapid with a big hole that most people avoid by taking the far left line. Below Pyrite Falls there are a lot of fun Class IV rapids before Tunnel Falls.

Raft driving left at Pyrite Falls

Raft driving left at Pyrite Falls

Mile 6.3: Tunnel Falls (V) is a big drop named after a nearby railroad tunnel that should be scouted from the right. It can be portaged on the right with moderate effort.

Kayak beat down in Tunnel Falls

Kayak beat down in Tunnel Falls

Mile 6.55: Toilet Bowl (IV) is a nasty river wide hydraulic much like a lowhead dam. The standard line is to sneak it on the far left.

Rafting the center line at Toilet Bowl at 850 cfs

Rafting the center line at Toilet Bowl at 850 cfs

Mile 6.7: Kirshbaum (IV+) is a long rapid that can be scouted from the right. Each move is Class IV but since it is so long most people give it a Class IV+ or V rating.

The final move at Kirshbaum Rapid

The final move at Kirshbaum Rapid

Mile 9.3: Take-out at Pumphouse Recreation Site. This is location of the Gore Canyon Whitewater Park with a couple fun play waves.

Raft surfing at the Gore Canyon Whitewater Park

Raft surfing at the Gore Canyon Whitewater Park

Written by
Zach Collier

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