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Colorado whitewater, Big Thompson River

Larimer county, Lake Estes to Drake section whitewater kayaking, rafting, and paddling information.

 

CLASS II-IV+(V+)     11.5 miles
  If you're coming from Fort Collins-Loveland it's not a long drive at all to the put-in location, if you're not familiar with the area there's a road map further down the page. The sections for whitewater rafting and kayaking here in Colorado are often more challenging than in other states, so keep in mind that many of the sections here are not safe for beginners. The scenic beauty of Larimer County and the cool fresh water are reasons enough
    to come here and paddle. The Lake Estes to Drake stretch of Big Thompson River in Colorado is 11.5 miles long and is a class II-IV+(V+) section of whitewater according to American Whitewater. Not too many hotels nearby,
you'll have to drive a bit to get to one, but if you donít have reservations you might end up sleeping in your car. If you have the time you can make this a two day trip, so why not pack your camp stove too. Some people prefer whitewater rafting and some kayaking, either way this area has a large number of paddling rivers. Getting your paddling muscles activated and just hanging out with mother nature will make you glad you came. There's  
camping available near Big Thompson River. This is one of a small number of paddling sections in this river system, there are a few others too. Whitewater paddling here in the Front Range is a great experience.

Briefly about the general area:
If you're visiting Big Thompson River from Drake, you won't be the only one, and a good place is Bobcat Gulch. If you fancy the outdoors you'll fancy it here in the Front Range. Big Thompson River is close to Lory State Park which is a wonderful location. Do pay a visit to Rocky Mountain National Park while you're here at Big Thompson River, and on a good day you can take a hike along the Jug Trail.

Big Thompson River, Lake Estes to Drake road map
Printable road map with the put-in and take-out locations clearly marked.

   

Map
map
Detailed Map


Stats
map
Stats for this river stretch


Weather
weather
Local weather forecast


OUTDOORS
These outdoors activities are available near Big Thompson River.
 Whitewater Near Big Thompson River:
Big Thompson River, Larimer County, 1 miles away
      Class III-IV - 7.75 miles long (Drake to Canyon Mouth)
Big Thompson River, Larimer County, 1 miles away
      Class II-IV+(V+) - 11.5 miles long (Lake Estes to Drake)
Whitewater Outfitter - Rapid Transit Rafting, Larimer County, 10 miles away
      Whitewater outfitter
Saint Vrain Creek - North, Boulder County, 10 miles away
      Class III - 6.5 miles long (CR 80 to Lyons)
Saint Vrain Creek - North, Boulder County, 10 miles away
      Class IV(V) - 1.8 miles long (Buttonrock Preserve to CR 80)
Cache La Poudre River, Larimer County, 14 miles away
      Class IV - 2 miles long (Poudre Park Picnic Gound to below Pine View Falls)
Cache La Poudre River, Larimer County, 14 miles away
      Class III - 3 miles long (Mishiwaka Inn to Poudre Park Picnic Ground)
Cache La Poudre River, Larimer County, 14 miles away
      Class III-IV - 2 miles long (below Pineview Falls to Mile Marker 114.7)
Cache La Poudre River, Larimer County, 14 miles away
      Class III-IV - 3.3 miles long (Steven's Gulch Access to Mishawaka Inn)
Saint Vrain Creek - South, Boulder County, 15 miles away
      Class V+ - 5 miles long (Confluence to 1 in 5 Rapid)
 Ski Areas Near Big Thompson River:
Eldora, Colorado , 31 miles away, 1600 foot drop, 12 lifts, 53 runs
Winter Park, Colorado , 42 miles away, 3060 foot drop, 26 lifts, 145 runs
SolVista Basin, Colorado , 44 miles away, 1000 foot drop, 6 lifts, 37 runs
Loveland, Colorado , 56 miles away, 2410 foot drop, 10 lifts, 92 runs
Arapahoe Basin, Colorado , 56 miles away, 2270 foot drop, 7 lifts, 105 runs
Keystone, Colorado , 61 miles away, 3128 foot drop, 20 lifts, 135 runs
Breckenridge, Colorado , 71 miles away, 3398 foot drop, 27 lifts, 146 runs
Copper Mountain, Colorado , 75 miles away, 2601 foot drop, 23 lifts, 125 runs
Snowy Range, Wyoming , 77 miles away, 990 foot drop, 5 lifts, 27 runs
Vail, Colorado , 83 miles away, 3450 foot drop, 31 lifts, 193 runs
 Marinas Near Big Thompson River:
Carter Lake Marina, Loveland , 9 miles away
Inlet Bay Marina at Horsetooth, Fort Collins , 12 miles away
Boyd Lake Marina, Loveland , 19 miles away
Boulder Reservoir Marina, Boulder , 20 miles away
 Hotels Near Big Thompson River:
Rodeway Inn Estes Park, Estes Park , 12 miles away
Solitude Cabins, Estes Park , 12 miles away
Comfort Inn Estes Park, Estes Park , 12 miles away
BEST WESTERN PLUS Silver Saddle, Estes Park , 12 miles away
Americas Best Value Inn, Estes Park , 13 miles away
 Campgrounds Near Big Thompson River:
Seven Pines Campground and Cabin, Drake, 4 miles away
Pinewood Reservoir - Windy Pines, Drake, 4 miles away
Pinewood Reservoir - The Launch, Drake, 4 miles away
 Trails Near Big Thompson River:
Round Mountain Trail, Larimer , 2 miles away
Jug Trail, Larimer , 3 miles away
Crosier Mountain Trail, Larimer , 5 miles away
Storm Mountain Trail, Larimer , 6 miles away
Sheep Creek Trail, Larimer , 8 miles away
 Public Lands Near Big Thompson River:
Rocky Mountain National Park, Estes Park - CO , 13 miles away
Lory State Park, Colorado , 12 miles away
Boyd Lake State Park, Colorado , 20 miles away
Roosevelt National Forest, Colorado , 26 miles away
 Golf Courses Near Big Thompson River:
Haystack Mountain Golf Course, Longmont , 10 miles away
Estes Valley Recreation District Estes Park Golf Club, Estes Park , 13 miles away
Estes Park Golf Courses, Estes Park , 13 miles away
 Lakes Near Big Thompson River
Lon Hagler Reservoir, Larimer , 13 miles away
Dixon Reservoir, Larimer , 14 miles away
Watson Lake, Larimer , 15 miles away

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Some content, including Reach Name, Class, Coordinates, and Length, comes from American Whitewater with permission.