Upper Animas River - Colorado

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In the San Juan Mountains of Colorado.


San Juan National Forest and Private lands


The Animas is the largest undammed river in the 48 United States and it flows through some of Colorado's most remote and beautiful mountains.

We had the opportunity to view the Upper Animas from the (relative) safety of a Cessna 210 flown by Del Gregg of Gregg Flying Service in Durango, CO. We got to watch some family members at the start of a two-day rafting trip run by Mountain Waters Rafting of Durango.

Although it is not a waterfall, the Upper Animas definitely qualifies as falling water. From the put-in in the old mining town of Silverton, to the take-out at the Tacoma power plant, the Animas falls from 9360 ft to 7320 ft. That is 2040 ft in 24.2 miles or an average of 84 fpm (622 m in 39 km or 16 m/km). In rafting terms, that is class IV - V.

We did get one nice waterfall picture near the beginning of the trip shown at left. The other photos from our airplane trip can be found on a topo-map airplane tour of the Upper Animas. Enjoy.

Note: If you are a rafter or kayaker, don't use the information or pictures you find here, or you will probably die. Instead, go to one of the whitewater sites to get information about the Upper Animas and the Rockwood Box. Better yet, go on a guided trip with an experienced whitewater tour company.