The Animas River drains the western side of the Continental Divide in the San Juan Mountains of southern Colorado, after which it joins the San Juan River in New Mexico. It first passes through the t0wn of Silverton (elevation 9308′), which sits in a barren valley that is marked by considerable mining waste. This mining waste stains the river and the rocks alongside the river an orange color, and is unpleasant evidence of what mining has done here and throughout the western US. Fortunately, the abundant clear water that enters the river from side streams below Silverton dilutes the waste runoff. Below Silverton, the river enters a deep and precipitous gorge that divides the West Needle Mountains from the Needle Mountains, finally exiting the gorge upstream of Durango. A very popular narrow gauge railway follows the river it’s entire length from Durango to Silverton. The stretch of runnable river downstream of Silverton is Class 3 to 5 as far as the wilderness train stop at Needleton. The last rapid to be run is the Class 5 No Name rapid, which is just upstream of the Needleton stop. The Rockwood Gorge makes the river unrunnable downstream of there, and river trips take-out at Needleton and put themselves and their gear on the afternoon train that is returning to Durango, for delivery to the next train stop downstream (Rockwood), which is accessible by vehicle. A group of New Wave Rafting Co. guides (Britt Huggins, Ethan Miller, Curtis Bailey, Dave Wassil and myself) joined a group of guides from Far Flung Adventures for this trip that took place in June, of 1988. This was the only time that I ran the Animas River.