WINTER ON THE RIVER
River flows are impeded by ice in winter and are too low to accommodate watercraft in early spring. There is no access to or from the river at North Star Nature Preserve (including the takeout area) during the winter. If Nordic skiing is occurring at North Star, consider the river off-limits.
ON THE RIVER
Floating the Roaring Fork River through North Star is a wonderful way to experience nature. North Star is a nature preserve, where you are one among many species; please be respectful of others by being quiet, staying on your watercraft and leaving your dog at home.
Stand-up paddleboards, canoes and kayaks are the preferred vessels for floating through the Preserve. The river through North Star flows gently, making it a suitable float for families and beginners. The water, however, is very cold, especially in early summer. When floating North Star, we recommend putting in and parking at South Gate (see map). Please leave your dog at home (it's the rule). Moose see dogs as a threat and may charge, even if you are on water.
Parking is extremely limited at North Star Nature Preserve and the Wildwood put-in. The easiest method of floating the river is to have a friend/relative drop you off at a launch point along with your watercraft, and pick you up at the end of your float. Commercial guide/shuttle services are also available to drop and pick you up, and also to guide you on the water. Only permitted operators are allowed to shuttle/guide at North Star/Wildwood. Permitted operators for 2021 will be listed here once the permit process is complete.
IF YOU DRIVE…
Parking is limited. If you choose to drive, you must park in a legal parking spot. If none are available, return at a different time or day, or arrange for a shuttle. There is no guarantee there will be vehicle access to North Star at any given time. Here are a few possibilities to deal with the logistics:
- Drop a locked bike at the takeout, drive to Wildwood to unload and find an available parking spot at Wildwood. At the conclusion of the float, one individual rides the bike back up to Wildwood to retrieve the vehicle. There are two, 15-minute loading spots at the takeout. Have the rest of your party deflate your paddleboards/prepare the gear for a quick load-up and departure. Please lock bikes to the bike racks that have been provided at access points; please do not lock them to the bridge or other objects.
- Drop a locked bike at the takeout, drop off your party and vessels at Wildwood and, if there is no available parking at Wildwood, drive to another designated parking area to find a spot. Use the second bicycle to ride back up to Wildwood and lock it there. Retrieve it after your float. Use the bike at the takeout to retrieve your vehicle. Or walk. The distances aren’t great. It is 0.3 miles from the takeout to the North lot and 0.75 miles to South Gate.
- If all the parking lots are full, postpone your outing until space is available. Illegal parking could result in a citation.
WHILE YOU ARE ON THE WATER…
North Star is a nature preserve. Please obey all regulations. There is no stopping/beaching anywhere outside of the designated beach (marked with signage) and the designated takeout/put-ins. There is absolutely no access to the west side of the river (the Hwy 82 side is the east side). No audible music is permitted. North Star is a Quiet Zone - please lower your voice or, better yet, float through in silence and enjoy the experience. Also, please remember, no use of North Star is permitted between dusk and dawn. And, pack out everything you bring with you.
If a beaver dam is present, be prepared to negotiate over or around it as advised by signage at river access points.
Please use the takeout at the pedestrian bridge to end your float. Danger awaits if you continue past the bridge.
WHAT NOT TO BRING
- Audible music
- Glass containers of any kind
Moose are unpredictable and may behave aggressively if they perceive a threat. Moose attacks on humans often involve dogs, as dogs remind moose of wolves. Dogs are not permitted at North Star and should be left at home. If you come upon a moose while floating, stop and pull to the side and wait. Ideally, boaters should stay 100 yards (the length of a football field) from a moose. In the event of aggressive moose behavior at North Star, Open Space and Trails may close access to the property. Please obey closure signs.