Dolores River SRMA
This 102-mile stretch of river carves its way through broad valleys and incised canyons with sheer canyon walls. The river passes through multiple special designation areas, including a wilderness study area, a Special Recreation Management Area, and lands managed for wilderness characteristics. Boating along this stretch ranges from flatwater to Class IV rapids (Snaggletooth Rapid), with access points at Bradfield Bridge, Mountain Sheep Point, and Gypsum Valley recreation sites. Access may also be possible at Slick Rock, depending on private land owner approval. The Lower Dolores is situated below McPhee Reservoir, and flow is based on release from McPhee Dam. Flows can be as low as 10 cfs or as high as 5,000 cfs, and downstream releases are dependent upon the ability to fill the reservoir. Ideal boatable flows are at least 200 cfs for canoes and kayaks, 800 cfs for rafts up 14 feet, and 1,000 cfs for rafts larger than 14 feet. The 'sweet spot' is generally considered to be between about 1,200 cfs and 2,000 cfs. In many years, there are no boatable releases. However, if releases do occur, they are generally between mid-April and mid-June. For more information, please contact the Tres Rios Field Office (970) 882-7296 or Uncompahgre Field Office (970) 240-5300.
The Bradfield Bridge Recreation Site is the furthest upstream of several access points and can be accessed from County Road R off of Highway 491 (on the northern end of the town of Cahone, CO). Turn east off County Road R and drive approximately 3 miles to County Road 16. Turn south on County Road 16 and drive approximately 1.25 miles to County Road S. Turn east on County Road S and drive approximately 1 mile to the entrance to Bradfield Bridge Recreation Site.