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Piedra River Rafting 2017-02-14T22:49:10+00:00

The Piedra River is a remote and rugged wilderness whitewater run through two jaw-dropping box canyons.  The Upper Piedra, known as the “second box,” and the Lower Piedra, through the “First Box,” create two distinct sections of challenging whitewater.  It is one of the most restrictive commercially regulated rivers in Colorado and only saw 190 commercial guests in 2010.   The Piedra flows early and the prime window is short with flows peaking in mid to late May.  Our Piedra rafting trip offerings are based upon snowmelt river flow and seasonal road access determined by Mother Nature and the Forest Service.  Typically we can run only Full Piedra trips in May.  When flows in the upper canyon drop and the Forest service opens First Fork Road we are then able to offer trips on just the Lower Canyon.

Upper Piedra:

Wild and Scenic Beauty

The trip starts on a very low volume creek that bumps and scrapes its way through beautiful gorges and canyons. As you travel downstream, small tributaries and side creeks cascade in, increasing the flow, speed, and intensity. Two large rapids guard the exit from this secretive southwestern jewel. This early-season gem and elusive local favorite has been considered for a “Wild and Scenic” designation. Commercial rafting trips on the Piedra are few and far between which adds to the pristine wilderness feeling.

  • Difficulty – Intermediate (class III to IV-)
  • Length – 11 miles
  • Duration – 1 Day, 7 to 8 hours
  • Launch Time – 8:00
  • Price – $149 – all gear and lunch included
  • Requirements – 90 lb min, ages 12 and up, previous experience recommended

*4 people are needed to make any Piedra trip go.  We try to book trips on Sunday, Tuesday, and Friday so smaller groups can combine.  There is a very short seasonal window to run the Upper Piedra.  The First Fork Road has to be open to the midway point and flows need to be at least 800 CFS.  We typically offer only “Full Piedra” trips until the water levels drop later in the season.

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Lower Piedra:

“Rowdy and Remote”

Spanish explorers named it “El Rio de la Piedra Parada” or “The River of the Stone Wall,” after the towering walls of the First Box Canyon that rise 1000 feet up from the river. The action starts early in this committing, sheer walled gorge with steep drops stacked in rapid succession. The gradient of the river averages 50 feet per mile throughout the run, but steepens to over 80 in the Lower Box Canyon. Adding to the challenge are two mudslides that push boulders into the constricted channel. The crux rapid of the run, “Eye of the Needle,” is most often portaged to increase the odds of a successful trip through Lucifers Rapid directly below. After a lunch stop at a natural hot springs, the intensity subsides and the river slides through fun intermediate rapids on its way out of this unforgettable canyon.

  • Difficulty – Advanced (class III+ to IV+)
  • Length – 10 miles
  • Duration – 1 Day, 6 to 7 hours
  • Launch Times – 8:00
  • Price  – $199 – all gear and lunch included
  • Requirements – 90 lb min, ages 14 and up, previous experience required

*4 people are needed to make any Piedra trip go.  We try to book trips on Sunday, Tuesday and Friday so smaller groups can combine.  To run the Lower Piedra, First Fork Road has to be open and flows should be between 400 and 2200 CFS.  We typically offer only “Full Piedra” trips until the water levels drop later in the season.

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Full Piedra:

A Rafting Marathon

This is the trip our guides hope you choose.  High water, the right crew, an early start, excellent fitness, and a wild sense of adventure are all required to run both sections of the Piedra in one day.  You’d be hard pressed to find a more remote and rewarding single day whitewater rafting trip.  Sleep well and eat your Wheaties for this full day!

  • Difficulty – Advanced (class III to IV+)
  • Length – 21 miles
  • Duration – 1 Day, 9 to 10 hours
  • Launch Times – 7:45
  • Price  – $249 – all gear and lunch included
  • Requirements – 90 lb min, ages 16 and up, previous experience and excellent fitness required

*4 people are needed to make any Piedra trip go.  We try to book trips on Sunday, Tuesday, and Friday so smaller groups can combine. If you have any doubts about a Piedra raft trip being appropriate for anyone in your group, we highly recommend taking a “warm-up” trip on the West Fork.  You and your guide can use the trip to decide if you are physically and mentally prepared for a more difficult piece of water.  Previous Piedra river clients say they really appreciated this “warm-up” trip on the West Fork to get their group dialed, paddling strong, and ready to step up the excitement.

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