Get ready for the runoff in Colorado

Posted on May 30, 2019

Colorado rafting and snowpack

The Colorado whitewater rafting season is well underway, but someone forgot to tell Mother Nature. Many rivers have yet to swell from the melt and the mountains look more like mid-winter than late-spring. Statewide snowpack is 432% of normal for this time of year (as of May 30, 2019) and the Arkansas River – the most popular whitewater rafting – is at 423% of normal. These inflated snowpack readings are happening because normally more than half of the snow has already melted. But not this year.

It’s warming up and time to raft

Get ready for an above average runoff in Colorado. The forecast is finally looking to be more summer-like. You can expect great rafting weather this weekend with highs in the upper 70s (f) and mid-80s over the next 10 days. This will start the melt and bring some much-anticipated whitewater to the Upper Arkansas River Valley.

What about the peak?

Peak runoff on the Arkansas River is likely to occur a few weeks late this year, which puts it into late June or early July. Age limits and trip routes may change during this time. Call for current conditions.

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Planning your whitewater rafting trip in Colorado

Do you need help planning your whitewater rafting trip in Colorado? Or advice on the best time to go whitewater rafting? Check out the River Runners blog here.

What about the kids?

High water is arguably the best time to go whitewater rafting, but it may raise age limits or change the course of your originally planned route. Just because you have kids doesn’t mean you have to miss out on the best whitewater we have seen in years. The Family Float has big splashy waves at high water and the Salida Town Run is an amazing alternate trip. If high water is not your thing, you should book your tour mid-July through August (after the runoff in Colorado).

Safety first

If you book a rafting trip with River Runners, our staff will make the final decision on where to go on any given day. We are watching the flows hourly and will do everything we can to mitigate risk and keep you and your family safe.