Colo River

Canoe Creek to Upper Colo Bridge

Unverified! Intermediate Summer Autumn Winter Rain Run! CLASS III


Sydney Surrounds. Windsor

Contributed by Greg Matheson (Ezza)


Class: III (with 1 x grade 4-5 rapid most portage)

Season: Post heavy rain, Winter - Summer

Gradient: Pool drop with LONG pools

Time: 1-2 Days

Length: 29km

Level: NSW guide min. 1.2m 2.0 - 2.5m Flood conditions

Gauge: Colo River at Upper Colo

Shuttle: 34kms one way (1/2 hour car or 2.5 hr bike)

Character: Spectacular gorge with 14kms Drop pool white water, then 15kms flat water

Suits: Intermediate paddlers in river running boats or Long 2 day trip with Inflatable kayaks

Canoe Creek. Copyright 2009 Greg Matheson. All Rights Reserved.The Colo is a wide river with a spectacular gorge hugging closely for most of the first 20 odd kms of this trip. This makes exit basically non-existent until you get to the Upper Colo Rd again which exists at various distances from the water on River Right for about the last 7kms.

This trip was completed on 7th February, 2009 after several days of heavy rain.

The water level at the Upper Colo Bridge was at about car tyre level. I guesstimate this is about 2.2 - 2.5metres on the BOM site gauge.

At this height the river is moving quickly, through the odd tree or shrub at the bank and allows for quick travel in between the rapids.

Colo River. Copyright 2009 Greg Matheson. All Rights Reserved.

The first 15km contains about 15 or so rapids. Most of these are grade II - III+. At this height these were high volume rapids with reasonably straight forward lines, however quite boily and had retentive big holes if paddling off course.

Some required scouting from the bank, however most could be read from the boat.

Colo River. Copyright 2009 Greg Matheson. All Rights Reserved.

After 12 or so kms, and about as many rapids there is a very large rapid with a lot more vertical descent. This is known as Kings Rapid. I believe at this height, this was definitely grade 5 with massive volumes of water, keeper holes and nothing clear about it. I found portaging and lining River Left was straight forward.

There was another minor portage shortly after but after viewing again, it appeared runnable.

Colo River. Copyright 2009 Greg Matheson. All Rights Reserved.

Soon after the river totally flattens out with some long 4km straights.

Upper Colo Bridge. Copyright 2009 Greg Matheson. All Rights Reserved. The number of campsites is quite limited at 2.0-2.5m but I hear there are lots of sandy beaches when quite low.

I have heard that this trip is an overnight lilo or simple kayak trip at low levels but have no experience at this level.

I paddled the entire section in 6hrs which after the hard walk in was quite tiring. I think either walking in the afternoon before and camping at the junction or camping out along the river over night would be far more enjoyable.

Very difficult walk in, remote gorge with no exits, amazing scenery, need overnight provisions in case, long flat sections, clean fun white water in first 14kms.

A hard trip in a beautiful National Park.

Andrew Houghton January 11, 2017 -†Minimum level is inaccurate the real minimum is 1.2 not 0.6m.†(This minimum level is shown on waterwaysguide).
I paddled it at 1 to 0.9m and there was not enough water to float/fit down the drops.
Everything else in the guide is accurate as far as I can tell.

Putting In: Canoe Creek. Leave boats at take out (see below). Continue 6km on dirt road up river Left side to Putty Rd. Turn left and travel 19kms (check odo) to Grassy Hill Trail. Turn left here and travel about 9kms along forest trail to car park. There is a locked gate here with a sign regarding trail to river. Itís about 2km on a good walking track before you drop down to Canoe Creek. (I dragged my boat behind me, so expect many scratches). After the 2km, turn left at the small walking track which drops down. There was a cann marker here. It is now about 400 vertical metres down to the creek. This is hard work and you will need a tow line on both ends and a longer 15-20 metre throw bag to lower your boat at points. You will scratch up your boats!! This last decent will take about 2hrs. Once in Canoe Creek, turn down stream following the easiest path. There is a long 20-25 metre waterfall in here which you should avoid by following foot track on right side. Just before the last pitch down to the Colo, you get a nice view of the River. Descend down here.

Taking Out: Upper Colo Bridge. From Windsor take roads towards Singleton, Follow signs to Colo. Just prior to going over Colo River, take the turn to Upper Colo on the Upper Colo Rd. Approx 14kms is a Right turn to bridge and Upper Colo Reserve. There is good parking on River Left side.

Map: Upper Colo 1:25000, Mountain Lagoon 1:25000

Camping: Several spots along Putty Rd, in Wollemi National Park, No camping is allowed at Upper Colo Bridge. There is nice sandy beach camping at the Canoe Creek and Colo Junction. Also there is a natural shelter campsite for 2-3 people on track just before getting to Canoe Creek.

Entry Date: February 24 2009


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