It’s safe to go back in the water |

It’s safe to go back in the water

summit daily news
Summit Daily/Mark Fox

SUMMIT COUNTY – Colorado’s rivers are running a little more gently, now that peak runoff is over.

“The way our spring worked out, it got really hot really quick, and that made everything come down really fast,” said Christian “Campy” Campton of Kodi Rafting. “That caused a real spike in our peak.”

Rafting companies in the area still operated during the high flows – which peaked around June 7 for most rivers – but many potential visitors seemed scared off by news of flooding and swift currents, Campton said.

A long period of mostly hot weather has been chipping away at the snowpack ever since, bringing most rivers near or below their average flows for this time of year. Popular sections of the Arkansas River peaked at about 4,500 cubic feet per second (cfs) earlier this month, but the water was running at about 1,800 cfs Friday. Average peak for that stretch is about 3,200 cfs.

“At this level, you get into some more technical boating and some good, fun rafting. And the weather is still just gorgeous,” Campton said.

The Blue River beneath Dillon Reservoir is still running at commercially boatable levels.

According to Greg Smith, data chief for the U.S. Geological Survey’s Lakewood field office, natural flows in most rivers throughout Summit and surrounding counties are below average by varying degrees. Dam-released waters below reservoirs, however, tend to be running at or above average for this time of year, since reservoirs are quite full.

“Because of the late snow storms we had, it was colder, and it delayed the runoff, which was nice,” Smith said. “But then the peak came and went very quickly, and it looks like much of the snow is gone now.”

SDN reporter Julie Sutor can be reached at (970) 668-4630 or

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