OF-19-13 Storm Floods on Trout Creek, Chaffee County, Colorado


This publication from Mines Geology Professor Emeritus Keenan Lee is an exploration of flooding events within the Trout Creek watershed during historical times, in Chaffee County, Colorado. Digital PDF download. OF-19-13D

From the report:

Trout Creek is tributary to the upper Arkansas River near Buena Vista, Colorado. The creek drains a watershed of about 38,500 acres on the west slope of the Mosquito Range, and the southwest-flowing stream reaches the broad floor of the Arkansas River valley at the mouth of Box Canyon. Beyond Box Canyon, however, Trout Creek does not continue southwest to the Arkansas River, nor has it done so for thousands of years. It does not, in fact, reach the Arkansas River at all.

Below Box Canyon, the ancestral Trout Creek flowed to the south and reached the Arkansas River near the town of Nathrop. No drainage valley is apparent along this route today, however, only an anomalously flat surface composed of sand and fine gravel. This surface was created by flash floods in the Trout Creek watershed that carried vast amounts of sand and fine gravel and spread them out onto the Arkansas River valley floor. Many, and perhaps all, of these floods occurred in historical times.