Confluence Park

South Platte River, Denver, Colorado


  • Conceptual and preliminary design
  • Physical modeling
  • Final design and bid documents
  • Construction support services

We redesigned Confluence Park in 1995, creating a successful urban greenway and making a large swatch of land available for private investment. The crowning jewel of the project is a built rapid that provides whitewater recreation suitable for beginner and expert boaters alike. Today, the area is a revitalized urban recreation hub, surrounded by residential lofts, sports stadiums, offices, restaurants, and shops.

Based on economic impact, recreational use, safety, maintenance & innovation as one of the first whitewater projects built, Confluence Park is arguably the most successful whitewater venue in the U.S.

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Key Project Highlights

  • Drops, waves, and pools are enjoyed by diverse users of all ability levels – kayakers, SUPers, tubers – at many water levels
  • The site is a venue for events on the banks of the river
  • Water quality is improved and continuously moving waters resist unwanted sediment accumulation
  • Sampling implies that the diversity of fish species has increased
  • The park can handle large flood events without boulder movement or the need for structural maintenance

River Run Park

Economic Impact
Over $70 million was used to renew and redevelop the land. Thanks to the success of Confluence Park, the City/County of Denver has benefitted from an estimated $10 billion in private investment in the surrounding area.

“Since the earliest efforts to reclaim the South Platte River from a place of shame into a pride-filled recreational and environmental asset, the talents of McLaughlin Whitewater have been intrinsically involved in the creation and overgoing evolution of the Confluence Park boat chute. These talents will continue to assist our ability to ensure that the first urban whitewater experience in America continues to be the best.”

Jeff Shoemaker, The Greenway Foundation