|Kayaking In Buena Vista, Colorado Whitewater Park||
Posted: 7/6/2011 5:31:22 PM
Kayaking In Buena Vista Whitewater Park
By Earl Richmond
The Buena Vista Whitewater Park has been recently expanded down into the South Main Neighborhood development. Now with 4 main in water structures and numerous eddy and trail improvements, the Buena Vista play park is on its way to being the premier whitewater park in Colorado. All of the features were fine tuned in the spring of 2008 to optimize the hydraulic performance and better the park for everyone who uses it. Be sure to check it out the next time you are in the Upper Arkansas Valley.
To get the Buena Vista River Park is easy. Come to Buena Vista from Highway 24 to the only stop light. Turn east onto E Main St and take that road till it ends at the River Park. There is great parking, changing rooms, boat ramps, trails and access all up and down the west side of the river. Below are descriptions of each of the 4 main features as of May 2008.
Uptown Wave: Optimal Flows: Optimal Flows: 600 - 2000 cfs.
This is the original wave/hole that was constructed in 2002. It is located just upstream of the “Whipple” or Midland Trail Bridge at the end of E. Main St. The boat ramp provides easy access to large eddies and is a popular rafting put in and take out. The feature is dynamic and has some power to it. It looks bigger than its bite and always will wash you out and has a large recovery area for rolling. Intermediate and advanced paddlers thrive at this spot, while beginners have fun too, but get tossed around some. In most flows boaters can do multiple moves and big air tricks. It is the most visible feature in Buena Vista so behave and be social. It is also a favorite spot for lounging, tubing, and dog swimming.
Midtown Wave: Optimal Flows: 300-1500 cfs
This friendly surfer is located 1/4 mile downstream from the Uptown Hole and is accessed several ways. The best is to stay in your boat and float down some class II water to it. You can also hike down a wide trail or park you car in front on the Buena Vista Community Center and walk down the stairs to the river. It is right there.
This wave is a river wide feature that is great for beginner and intermediate play boaters.. At these flows, you can surf and spin all day out there with ease, but be ware of rafts coming by. There is a 150 foot eddy on river left, so it is simple to get back to the feature in a kayak. It is deep and safe and makes paddlers feel confident. At higher flows, above 1500 cfs, the wave tends to flatten out and is harder to stay on but the surfer right corner becomes good for cart wheeling and spinning.
There is a great viewing area and is the starting point of the new river trail that leads down from the Midtown Wave through South Main. 2008 improvements include adding rock to both wings to concentrate more water to the center. Result; deeper wave/hole, with more energy and more retentive. Still very friendly with a gigantic recovery pool. This has quickly become the crowd favorite with easy cartwheels, free wheels and low water looping potential
Town Feature: Optimal Flows: all levels. 300-1000 cfs for the Pocket Wave.
Below Midtown you will find some incredible new large and small eddies which are awesome for controlling your decent of the river. They are a great training area for attaining, eddy drills, rolling practice, ferrying, etc. You can float right down the middle or pick your way down in style. It is a great area for those that need this type of skill development in a controlled area.
A few hundred yards down you will notice two river wings that jet into the current from both river banks. These wings help accelerate the water to the center of the river, where a large island of rock is located creating a fun foam pile for surfing, spinning and cart wheeling. Improvements were made to the river bed depth to make this pocket wave steeper at higher flows. Results: More fun at higher flows. This feature is great to build your play boating skills because it is not super easy to get onto. You have to ferry out to it and be precise with your edge control to stay on. It may be a little hard for some, but if you use it, you will become a better boater overall.
This area is beautiful with a great trail on river right where your friends and or dog can chase you down stream. You will notice a myriad of fisherman, hikers and bikers on your right and the “Midland Trail System” on river left. You feel like you are secluded in a far away country, but you are in the heart of the South Main Neighborhood in Buena Vista.
Downtown Hole: Optimal Flows: 300-2000 cfs
This hole is located at the “South Main Town Square” and is accessible by boat from the Uptown or Midtown features, by foot on the river trail, or by car if you drive into the South Main Neighborhood off of E Main St. The Downtown Hole is the most obvious hole in the South Main neighborhood. It is river wide and is now fun at all levels.
With the new improvements this feature has changed dramatically. The lower pool height was raised and eddy service improved. Result: The feature literally went from scary to docile the day of the improvements. It is very user friendly now and soft and gentle. As of spring flows, the bottom hole has turned into the “beginner spot” for easy surfing spinning and cart wheeling. It is much deeper and has a much larger recovery zone down stream.
There is great eddy service on both sides and it is also a great spectator area. There is plenty of shade and shelter here on those hot days and nice big rocks to warm up on when it is cool. Take out on the river right hand side and walk back up stream on the river trail or up the South Main boat ramp to your car or to the upper shelf trail system. If you stay in the water you will get to run some fun class III rapids, but access to the river is limited until you get to Johnson’s Village, 1.5 miles downstream from the Downtown hole.
Come on down, we hope to see you all here in Buena Vista. The park is ready for you all to enjoy. Our trails are great too, so bring your bike and or hiking shoes. Plus the hot springs here will keep you warm and rejuvenate you after a long day of play boating in Buena Vista.
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Brought to you by Buena Vista Chamber of Commerce and Colorado Tourism Office
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