Platte River Between Brighton & Fort Lupton, CO.
Pictures and Information
This stretch of the Platte River is located 18 miles NE of Denver.
Map showing put in spot for this part of the Platte River
Although this is a very easy run and can be done by a beginner, we have had one report that in this part of the river "the danger level is too great to kayak". I wouldn't recommend this trip to a family, or someone looking for an easy relaxing trip. As an adventurous individual, some of the portages are a little tricky, but weren't a problem. I was also carrying a light, 40 lb. See Through Canoe though, and I can see where portaging with a larger or heavier canoe or kayak would add to the challenge. Most of this stretch of the Platte River is also lined with large chunks of concrete and other rubble which really detracts from the scenery and experience. Any of the Platte River trips north of Fort Lupton are more scenic. Both the put in and take out are very easy access and if you can get past the concrete and rubble it's an enjoyable trip. This is a fairly popular and well known trip and you will usually see a few other people here on the weekends.
There is only one very short class 1-2 rapid on this stretch. Most of the river is only 2 or 3 feet deep. There are quite a few soft shell turtles, a very interesting looking species of turtle in this part of the Platte. You will also frequently see bald eagles here.
Warnings, Tips, & Other Details
This stretch of the Platte is 8.7 miles and will take about 4 hours to paddle at a relaxed pace when the water is flowing at 250 CFS. If you don't have a second vehicle, or you just want more exercise, you can ride a bike down old highway 85 to the put in. The bike ride from the Highway 52 take out spot in Fort Lupton to the Highway 7 put in in Brighton is an easy ride that will take an hour at a good pace. The bike ride will be noisy as there is no bike path so you will be riding on the side of the road. The take out spot is on the right just after the Mineral Street (Highway 52) bridge and it's very hard to miss. The CFS must be above 200 to do this run on you will constantly scrape bottom. A CFS of 400-500 is ideal and as long as it's below 700 it's an easy trip. There is one class 1 rapid that is easily portaged around if you're not comfortable going through it.
Real time river gauge for this part of the Platte River
Where to Park
Put In - Take highway 85 to highway 7 (Bridge Street) in Brighton. Go west on highway 7 for .41 miles and turn right into the parking lot and you're there.
Take Out - Take highway 85 to highway 52. Go west on highway 52 for .1 miles. Turn right into the parking lot and you're there.