Upper South Platte River

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A report by Harry Savage:

I paddled the South Platte north of Deckers on Saturday, September 7, 2002. I put in at Bridge Crossing picnic area ($4.00 fee to park) on rt 67. My kids bailed out on me so I was alone in a MR Freedom. I took out at an unnamed parking area just above the "narrows". The "narrows" is an area marked Danger, no trespassing, no boating, no tubing, by the Denver water board. The trip was approximately 8 miles long and took 3 hours and 15 minutes. I floated with slow paddling. I stoped three times to scout. The first was near a little island not far from the put-in. Scouting was not productive so I went river left and it was OK. The second time was just above a curved ledge above a small but river-wide hole. I walked downstream and also looked at what I call the little narrows, a stretch of white water. The little narrows was easily runable down the middle, except there was one large sharp rock near the top in the middle so go just left of the middle near it. It would flip you or rip the bottom of your boat out. The third time is when I saw the boulders, see below.

I have not checked the river level for that day and I need to do this. Whatever it was, it was perfect. The water moved nicely, and the channel was always obvious and often right down the middle. The scenery was beautiful. Fishermen were present in the upper 1-2 miles but they were pleasant. Miraculously, I was the only boater on the river. At one place, about 7.8-7.9 miles below the put in, or near the take out, there are house size boulders across the river. The first time you come around the bend and see them covering the river you can't help but yell "WOW". I pulled out just above the boulders and scouted. There is only one possible channel and it is to the river left.

After driving the road along the river from Deckers to Bridge Crossing, I selected Bridge Crossing as the put-in for the following two reasons. The Bridge at Trumball looked low. Somewhere (I forgot to mark the map thinking I could remember, sorry), between Deckers and Bridge Crossing, some idiot(s) stretched a steel cable across the river.

-- Marek Uliasz (uliasz@frii.com), September 16, 2002

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