The Piedra is located about as far south in Colorado as one can go. It flows south out of the San Juan Mountains to join the San Juan River to form Lake Navajo. This river offers exceptionally beautiful and varied wild trout fishing for large fish combined with a long and interesting Class IV whitewater run. Uncrowded and remote it is a high mountain gem. Running early in spring the window for river runners can be short. Like the Animas, the Piedra is cold with a high altitude put-in.
Groups choosing to paddle the river in May must occasionally run both sections from the Piedra Road Bridge to the take out a mile above hwy. 160. At nearly 20 miles this makes for one long day or two shorter days. Rafters beware of the limestone riverbed. There are significant IV/V drops, but also a lot of mellow water. The second box which is the first canyon on the upper section is class III and IV. The First Box section of the Piedra is more committing and the whitewater is rated a full grade higher. This run is mostly a forested journey with beautiful scenery. Be aware that the Piedra flows early. It usually peaks during the second half of May.
Shuttle: From Durango travel U.S. 160 east 40 miles. Cross the Piedra River and turn left up Forest Rd. #622 (First Fork Road) one mile. Pull out on the left. Drive 10 miles to Hunters Campground (Short Run). For longer run drive past Fairfield/ Pagosa to top of hill and turn left at the Fina Station. Drive 16 miles up Piedra Road (FR 631) to the Piedra Bridge. Put-in at Campground.