May 2019 River Flow Update for Colorado Whitewater Rafting

River Flow

Colorado’s wild fluctuations in snowfall and weather drastically impact the eventual snowmelt and runoff. Therefore, an accurate prediction is often difficult, until now.

The total snow depth and its Snow Water Equivalent (SWE) are outstanding and well above average. Rivers across the state currently tend to be anywhere from 20% to 50% above average.

Located in Buena Vista, CO, the nation’s most popular whitewater river, the Arkansas River, looks fantastic at around 30% above average.

The Arkansas River is beautiful in all conditions – but you’d certainly want wetsuits and splash jackets for trip when it looks like this!

A normal rafting season on the Arkansas River sees fluctuating flows that mimic the snowmelt. Typically, the season starts with lower flows in early May increasing to medium levels by the end of the month. Then June will typically see a quick rise to a peak flow around the second week of the month.

It will then normally drop slowly or maintain flows through the remainder of the summer until sometime between the middle of August and Labor Day, when flows will typically be too low for the best rafting.

Other rivers in Colorado generally follow the same pattern. What makes the Arkansas River somewhat unique is that it has a very long rafting season with plenty of water due to its large drainage area and a cooperative agreement with municipal and agricultural water users to help maintain late summer river flows.

Since this winter Colorado received well above average snowfall and more recently avoided hot, dry, and windy spring conditions that have the potential to devastate our snow pack, we expect a lot of water.

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On the Arkansas River, this means higher flows at all stages of summer.

In fact, just last week the Arkansas Valley and corridor to Denver received several inches of snow and areas above 10,000 feet elevation saw as much as 17 inc hes. (You can see video of this here.) This has put an exclamation point on the winter and spring for a long season with above average flows and big splashes.

We will start the early season out at lower to medium flows somewhat higher than average of what we would usually see this time of the year. Then, we will likely see a peak around the middle of June with higher water lasting until early to mid-July. As the water levels subside, we should see medium to lower flows with great rafting until Labor Day or beyond.

How will this affect the Colorado whitewater rafting experience?

Safety and managing the risks of rafting is always the top priority for Colorado’s rafting outfitters. Trusted outfitters, like The Adventure Company, make adjustments at higher flows to help manage the risk of faster water, always associated with higher flows. Our familiarity with Colorado rivers, enables us to make appropriate adjustments to help manage risk.

Throughout the year you may sight several different types of wilderness. Through Browns Canyon National Monument – our most popular rafting trip – you can often find Big Horn Sheep.

  • These include strategies to cut down on response time with faster moving water, and using safety boats ahead of our passenger rafts as an additional safety net.
  • As some raft trips become too challenging at higher flows, we may no longer offer them until the water drops. However, other trips may be at their best at higher flows and we focus on these choices.
  • We also adjust our participant eligibility requirements for raft trips at higher flows. Depending on the trip, we may raise minimum ages and also increase the required fitness level or swimming ability.

Therefore a high water summer can be quite a boost to Colorado’s whitewater rafting industry with a long season and lots of excitement.

As always, the public should be careful when considering playing on our rivers. Relying on the expertise of trusted rafting outfitters is always a good idea. Feel free to contact The Adventure Company for expert advice about tackling high water rafting in Colorado.

Whitewater Rafting Conditions Update

Rafting conditions.

Enjoy high water conditions on the Arkansas River in Colorado

The 2019 rafting season is in full swing and the conditions are epic. Beginner, intermediate, and advanced tours are departing daily on half-day, full-day, and overnight adventures. Kids as young as six years old can raft the Family Float.

Rafting Sale

  • 10% off rafting tours (excludes Saturdays)
  • Enter promo code: Online10
  • Raft any date now through Labor Day
  • Not valid with existing reservations
  • Can not be combined with other discounts

Whitewater Rafting Conditions: High Water

Conditions are changing by the hour. Go to riverbrain.com for the latest CFS report.

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The Numbers (Alternate: The Narrows) – Ages 14+ / strong swimmer
The Numbers section of the Arkansas River is under a high water advisory, which means the alternate trip through the Narrows is serving up some continuous whitewater and class IV+ rapids. The full-day trip goes through Browns Canyon after lunch. Simply book the Numbers rafting tour to get the best whitewater near Buena Vista, CO.

Family Float – Ages 6+ / beginner
The Family Float is a great entry-level whitewater rafting trip. During high water, the age limit raises from three to six years old, but young families can still experience continuous class II rapids on this one-hour tour that ends at the River Runners Riverside Grill.

Browns Canyon – Ages 10+ / intermediate
It does not get much better than a high water rafting trip through Browns Canyon National Monument. Age limits have gone from six years old to 12 years old on this classic whitewater run. If you have kids between eight and 11 you can book this tour and we will re-route you to the Salida Town Run, which is a step up from the Family Float.

Bighorn Sheep Canyon – Ages 8+ intermediate
The Upper Bighorn Sheep Canyon run is the best family-friendly rafting trip right now. Expect lots of splashes on this drop-pool section of the Arkansas River. Full-day and half-day trips depart daily.

High Water on the Arkansas River.

The Royal Gorge (Alternate: Lower Bighorn) – Ages 14+ / strong swimmer

Rafting the Royal Gorge is under a high water advisory, but the alternate trip in Lower Bighorn Sheep Canyon has class IV+ (V) whitewater that will please the biggest thrill seekers. If you are looking for the best whitewater on the river right now, book the Royal Gorge Tour.

May 2019 River Flow Update for Colorado Whitewater Rafting

River Flow

Colorado’s wild fluctuations in snowfall and weather drastically impact the eventual snowmelt and runoff. Therefore, an accurate prediction is often difficult, until now.

The total snow depth and its Snow Water Equivalent (SWE) are outstanding and well above average. Rivers across the state currently tend to be anywhere from 20% to 50% above average.

Located in Buena Vista, CO, the nation’s most popular whitewater river, the Arkansas River, looks fantastic at around 30% above average.

The Arkansas River is beautiful in all conditions – but you’d certainly want wetsuits and splash jackets for trip when it looks like this!

A normal rafting season on the Arkansas River sees fluctuating flows that mimic the snowmelt. Typically, the season starts with lower flows in early May increasing to medium levels by the end of the month. Then June will typically see a quick rise to a peak flow around the second week of the month.

It will then normally drop slowly or maintain flows through the remainder of the summer until sometime between the middle of August and Labor Day, when flows will typically be too low for the best rafting.

Other rivers in Colorado generally follow the same pattern. What makes the Arkansas River somewhat unique is that it has a very long rafting season with plenty of water due to its large drainage area and a cooperative agreement with municipal and agricultural water users to help maintain late summer river flows.

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Since this winter Colorado received well above average snowfall and more recently avoided hot, dry, and windy spring conditions that have the potential to devastate our snow pack, we expect a lot of water.

On the Arkansas River, this means higher flows at all stages of summer.

In fact, just last week the Arkansas Valley and corridor to Denver received several inches of snow and areas above 10,000 feet elevation saw as much as 17 inc hes. (You can see video of this here.) This has put an exclamation point on the winter and spring for a long season with above average flows and big splashes.

We will start the early season out at lower to medium flows somewhat higher than average of what we would usually see this time of the year. Then, we will likely see a peak around the middle of June with higher water lasting until early to mid-July. As the water levels subside, we should see medium to lower flows with great rafting until Labor Day or beyond.

How will this affect the Colorado whitewater rafting experience?

Safety and managing the risks of rafting is always the top priority for Colorado’s rafting outfitters. Trusted outfitters, like The Adventure Company, make adjustments at higher flows to help manage the risk of faster water, always associated with higher flows. Our familiarity with Colorado rivers, enables us to make appropriate adjustments to help manage risk.

Throughout the year you may sight several different types of wilderness. Through Browns Canyon National Monument – our most popular rafting trip – you can often find Big Horn Sheep.

  • These include strategies to cut down on response time with faster moving water, and using safety boats ahead of our passenger rafts as an additional safety net.
  • As some raft trips become too challenging at higher flows, we may no longer offer them until the water drops. However, other trips may be at their best at higher flows and we focus on these choices.
  • We also adjust our participant eligibility requirements for raft trips at higher flows. Depending on the trip, we may raise minimum ages and also increase the required fitness level or swimming ability.

Therefore a high water summer can be quite a boost to Colorado’s whitewater rafting industry with a long season and lots of excitement.

As always, the public should be careful when considering playing on our rivers. Relying on the expertise of trusted rafting outfitters is always a good idea. Feel free to contact The Adventure Company for expert advice about tackling high water rafting in Colorado.

Source https://www.theadventurecompany.com/may-2019-river-flow-update-for-colorado-whitewater-rafting/

Source https://whitewater.net/colorado-river-rafting/conditions/

Source https://www.theadventurecompany.com/may-2019-river-flow-update-for-colorado-whitewater-rafting/

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