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The Colorado River: Palisade to Grand Junction

Palisade Riverbend Park to the Redlands Parkway Boat Ramp
Sunday, May 24, 2020 | Average CFS: 6,300

Even though I had decided to stay home this holiday weekend, I still managed to take a few hours off from packing up our house on Sunday morning so I get on the Colorado River with a few friends for a float through the Grand Valley. A few days prior I had coordinated this last-minute trip with Jackson and Chris at work, and then I found out on Sunday morning that my friend Steve would also be joining us also, which was a nice surprise since I hadn’t seen him in a little while. Since the river is moving fast from spring runoff this time of the year, we decided to put in at the Riverbend Park in Palisade and take out at the Redlands Parkway Boat Ramp, which is about a 17 mile stretch of the river. I haven’t done this section of the Colorado River in a long time, and actually the only time I floated this stretch was with Jackson in his inflatable kayak before I bought my own. We got an early start to try and beat the crowds that we knew would be getting on the river later in the day and we also hoped that the cooler temperature out today might help keep the crowds at bay.

Chris decided to take his hardshell kayak out on the river today.

Ready To Go

Here’s a shot of Jackson and Ken right after we took off from Riverbend Park.

Jackson & Ken

The clouds were looking nice this morning.

Morning Clouds


We would get an occasional view of Mount Garfield through the trees along the river.

Mount Garfield

Steve in his raft.


Chris floating down the river.


Steve rowing below Mount Garfield.

Under Mount Garfield

Cliff and clouds below Orchard Mesa.

Cliff & Clouds

After passing underneath the Eagle Rim Bridge we decided to float through the brand new River Park at Las Colonias Park that Grand Junction had just recently built.

Las Colonias River Park

Take the left channel here to return to the Colorado River.

Return To River

The River Park was the only place we saw a lot of people who were hanging out on the bank of the river throughout the brand new park. Unfortunately, the water flowing through this new channel was very slow and boring at this level. It was like a flat water lake in places, so we had to do a lot of paddling to get back to the Colorado River. I had been hoping they would build a whitewater park in town, but it seems they built a lazy river instead. After returning to the river we stopped on Watson Island just before the Fifth Street Bridge for a lunch break.

Just before meeting up with the Gunnison River, we floated below the old railroad bridge.

Railroad Bridge

Jackson under the bridge.

Under The Bridge

Aside from our short time floating through the Las Colonias River Park, we really didn’t see many other people on the river, which was nice. However, once we returned to the Redlands Parkway Boat Ramp we were surprised at just how full the parking lot was! There were either a lot of people headed downstream from here, or a lot of people had started after us. It was probably a combination of both. The wind also really started to pick up once we got off the river, so I guess our timing was perfect. It turned out to be a nice morning and early afternoon spent on the river with some good friends!

>> Riverbend Park to the Redlands Parkway Photo Gallery


  1. Annie Gingerich
    Annie Gingerich June 26, 2020

    Great pic! About how long did the float take you?

    • Randy Langstraat
      Randy Langstraat June 26, 2020

      I believe it was between 4-5 hours with a stop for lunch on Watson Island.

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