Dolores Recreational River, Colorado
The Dolores River flows for more than 200 miles through southwestern Colorado, starting high in the San Juan Mountains and descending to its confluence with the Colorado River near the Colorado-Utah border. The Dolores flows through five major western life zones, from the alpine life zone at its headwaters to the Upper Sonoran life zone along much of its lower reaches (6400 ft.- 5000 ft. elevation).
A great place for boating and camping. Embark on two or three-day trips from Bradfield Bridge to Slick Rock (47 river miles) or Slick Rock to Bedrock (50 river miles). One-day trips are possible between Bradfield Bridge and Mountain Sheep Point Recreation Site (19 miles and ).
Sloping canyon walls covered with oakbrush and other shrubs characterize the first few miles of river below Bradfield Bridge. Then the canyon deepens, sandstone walls appear and groves of ponderosa pine and Douglas fir cover the benches along the river. This stretch of river is appropriately called "Ponderosa Gorge." The unique combination of pine groves and red sandstone cliffs makes this one of the most scenic segments of the Dolores River. Below Snaggletooth, the canyon becomes drier and the vegetation begins to change to that of Upper Sonoran life zone. Pinyon-juniper, yucca, cactus, and various shrubs are predominant. A few miles above Slick Rock, the canyon widens to rolling arid hills.
Photo by Bob Wick, BLM.
The Wild and Scenic Rivers Act provides three levels of river classification: wild, scenic, and recreational.
Wild rivers are free of dams, generally inaccessible except by trail, and represent vestiges of primitive America.
Scenic rivers are free of dams, with shorelines or watersheds that are still largely primitive and shorelines that are largely undeveloped, but accessible in places by roads.
Recreational rivers are readily accessible by road or railroad, may have some development along their shorelines, and may have been dammed in the past.