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The Colorado River: Tibbetts to Parachute

Saturday & Sunday, June 15 & 16, 2024

After our recent rafting trip through Cataract Canyon and with an upcoming trip into Westwater Canyon planned for July, Jackson and I are both getting closer to having floated all of the Colorado River from Glenwood Canyon to Lake Powell, but we were still missing a large segment of the river from New Castle to De Beque Canyon. We figured it was about time to start working on this section, especially while the water is still high and moving fast, so this weekend we made plans to float the Colorado River from Tibbetts, which is just upstream of New Castle, to Parachute, a length of just under 40 miles. Since this area is an easy drive from home for us, we decided to split it up into two sections and do each one as a short day trip.


Floating Through the Grand Hogback to the Roan Plateau

Average CFS: 18,500

On Saturday morning Chris joined Jackson and me to float the Colorado River from Tibbetts to Rifle. This segment is just over 19 miles in length and the water was cold and moving fast. There were no serious rapids, just some smaller wave trains along the way, and we made it to the boat ramp in Rifle in about 2.5 hours.

Here’s my inflatable kayak ready to leave the Tibbetts Boat Ramp on Saturday morning.

Ready To Go

Coal Ridge and the Grand Hogback was a constant companion along the river during the first part of the float.

Coal Ridge of the Grand Hogback

Chris below Coal Ridge.


Jackson and the Grand Hogback.


We saw a lot of wildlife along the river on both mornings, but this Bald Eagle is the only one I managed to get a decent photo of.

Bald Eagle

Jackson paddling through a small wave train.

Little Waves

After passing through the Grand Hogback we started to see the Roan Plateau on the horizon.

Chris & Jackson

The Rifle Boat Ramp was flooded from the high water level of the river this weekend.

Flooded Boat Ramp


Floating Alongside the Roan Plateau to Parachute Creek

Average CFS: 16,000

On Sunday morning it was just me and Jackson since Chris was going to be riding his bike through the Colorado National Monument. Today, we were going to be floating from Rifle to Parachute, which is about 19 miles in length. The water felt like it was moving a little slower through this section of the river, and there was one river-wide rapid that had some large waves along the way. We still made it to the boat ramp in Parachute in just over 2.5 hours.

The water level at the Rifle Boat Ramp had dropped quite a bit from the previous day, but it was still flooded on Sunday morning.

Rifle Boat Ramp

Today we would be floating beneath the Roan Plateau the entire way.

Roan Plateau

Down the River

Floating Below the Roan Plateau

Edge of the Roan

Paddling the Colorado

Cottonwood Point

Cottonwood Point

Paddling the final stretch into Parachute.

Final Stretch

>> The Colorado River Photo Gallery

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