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The Dolores River: Fisher Creek to the Colorado River

Gateway Canyon: Fisher Creek to Dewey Bridge | Average CFS: 2,170
Saturday, June 10, 2023

This weekend Jackson was only free on Saturday so we planned a day trip to float down another section of the lower Dolores River from Fisher Creek to the Dewey Bridge Campground since it’s not too far away from home. Although most people run this stretch starting from Gateway, we decided to launch closer to Fisher Creek so that we would be able to easily finish it in a day while also skipping Stateline and Rockslide Rapids. While this kind of day trip would typically require a very long shuttle that would not make it worth the effort for most, living in the middle of the shuttle made the logistics a little easier for us. After work on Friday, Jackson and I dropped off his vehicle at the Dewey Bridge Campground and then returned home for the night. Then on Saturday morning Diane rode with us down past Gateway as we looked for a spot to put-in and then she drove my Jeep back home for us. This way we wouldn’t have to return to pick it up later in the day which would have required at least an additional four hours of driving time!

The clouds were looking good this morning over the cliffs of Dolores Point as we followed the Dolores River west from Gateway.

Gateway Morning

Gateway Canyons

About a mile before reaching the end of the road at the mouth of Fisher Creek, Diane spotted a good place to launch, so we stopped there and started rigging our boats.

Along the Dolores

It was turning out to be another great morning for a float as we got on the river.

Dolores River Morning

Into The Canyon

After about a mile on the water we passed by the mouth of Cottonwood Canyon with the Dolores River Overlook high above just before reaching Fisher Creek Rapid.

Cottonwood Canyon & Dolores River Overlook

Dolores River Canyon

Canyon Walls

After a couple more miles on the river we stopped to hike into Serpent’s Tongue Canyon.

Into the Serpent's Tongue

It was a beautiful narrow canyon with running water and pools that was definitely worth the stop!

Serpent's Tongue Canyon Bend

A Canyon Walk

Canyon Reflection

Serpent's Tongue Canyon View

Canyon Seeps

Serpent's Tongue Canyon

Around the Bend

Jackson Below

Canyon Narrows

Weeping Wall

Golden Wall

After the hike we got back on the river and continued downstream.

Wingate Wall

Dolores River View

Back on the River

Soon the beautiful red Wingate canyon walls disappeared and the views opened up a bit more.

Dolores River View

Entrada Views

Relaxing on the Dolores River


Dolores River View

We floated past these remnants of an old water wheel that was originally used by the ranch across the river.

Water Wheel Remnants

Dolores River View

The slowest floating of the day happened along Roberts Bottom where the Colorado River backed up for a ways into the Dolores.

Roberts Bottom

Looking up the Colorado River on the left as we floated through the confluence of the two rivers.

Dolores - Colorado Confluence

The last two miles of the day were on the much-wider Colorado River.

Return to the Colorado River

We passed below the remains of the old Dewey Bridge for the second time in less than a month.

Underneath the Dewey Bridge

Dewey Bridge

Afternoon Clouds

Once we reached the take-out at the Dewey Bridge Campground I just had to get a photo of this bench that is now covered with sand since I took a photo of it last month when Jackson was floating on the water right next to it. It’s amazing how much sediment the Colorado River can move around!

Bench in the Sand

Once we packed up our boats and gear into Jackson’s car it was an easy drive back home since we didn’t have to drive back to Gateway to get my Jeep. It was another great day on the Dolores River!

>> Fisher Creek to the Colorado River Photo Gallery

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