Colorado 2014 White Water Rafting
Thanks to a great ski season in Colorado, we have a lot more water for an earlier and longer rafting season this year. This past ski season in Colorado saw record snowfalls of 38.4 inches of snow in Denver whereas Arapahoe Basin saw 404 inches and Loveland received 419 inches. All of the record snow levels means a lot more runoff and higher water levels for river rafting. More water melting also means more rapids.
Consistent Snow Melt
High water doesn’t just affect rafting, it affects the environment and buildings flanking rivers too. If nature works by our side, the snow pack should melt at a consistent and gradual rate so that water levels don’t quickly overflow or cause a drought later in the season. We expect that mild temperatures will remain in the high country so snow melt won’t be too extreme and the rafting season to last through Labor Day.
Colorado River Rafting Levels
For rafters, more rapids are definitely an exciting bonus to an earlier season but there are a number of things to consider. June saw some rivers running at 50% above recommended levels. Here we have a shot of the Zoom Flume of Browns Canyon at the beginning of June where it was at 3,700 cubic foot per second (cfs) on the left. On the right is the average water level at the end of the rafting season flowing at 250-300 cfs.
The rivers are swollen and much wider than usual for this time of year.
Higher Water Levels Can Lead to Higher Dangers
In addition to faster water, the higher water levels make it more difficult to identify features along the river and creates new routes. There is always a danger when it comes to outdoor sports and the faster rapids and currents means everybody should be more aware of what they’re doing while rafting.
Our guides work to learn these new routes quickly so that navigation down the river is safe and successful for everybody. We make sure all rafters are outfitted with a helmet, life jacket, and knowledge of what to do in case you fall out of the boat and how to prevent yourself from falling out.
You can be sure that safety and fun is at the top of our minds and the higher water levels means better splashes through rapids and more excitement for all involved. Those coming back for another rafting season will be pleased to see a new river, landscape, and more thrills. .