Ponderosa Gorge. Here the river flows down through the high country, clear green and cold, teeming with trout. Camping under the branches of ancient 100' Ponderosa pines, you can listen to the roar of the legendary Class IV Snaggletooth Rapid, the beginning of one of the most challenging stretches of whitewater in the West, culminating in the fury of the Narrows ten miles downstream.
Slick rock Canyon. Slowing its flow as it enters the grottos and side canyons of Slick rock, float past towering walls streaked with desert varnish and forming the most enchanting and beautiful desert canyon in the American Southwest. Hidden in the mysterious corners of the canyons are prehistoric Anasazi pictographs and ruins. More moderate rapids in this section of the river provide a good stretch for instructional kayak, canoe or inflatable kayaking. Camp beneath overhangs where the “Ancient Ones” camped thousands of years ago.
Hanging Flume Canyon. After leaving Slick rock Canyon, the Dolores River meanders across Paradox Valley beneath giant cottonwoods where rookeries of Great Blue Heron and other bird life thrive. Below Paradox Canyon the river reaches its confluence with the San Miguel River (doubling its volume) and enters Hanging Flume Canyon. The tattered remains of the flume built in the 1800’s to transport water to the “high bar” of Lone Tree Placer Mine can still be seen suspended hundreds of feet above the river.
Lower Gateway Canyon. The last section of the Dolores River before its confluence with the Colorado River brings you Gateway Canyon and offers again the challenge of technical whitewater thrills. Abundant birds and wildlife surround you along with Indian rock art, both petroglyphs and pictographs, found on the canyon walls. We float beyond the “Rio Nuestra Senora de los Dolores” and mingle with the Colorado River under the historic Deway Bridge in Castle Valley.
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