Rafting flows through fall
summit daily news
Summit County, Colorado
As the summer winds down and the kids get ready to head back to the classroom, the assumption by most is that the opportunities for rafting dry up. But, just like the rivers they run, those in the Colorado River Outfitters Association believe rafting season never really ends, it simply slows down.
“Well, I’d probably say that the fall may be one of the best times to go,” said Chris “Campy” Campton, a member of the CROA and operator of Kodi Rafting in Frisco. “On certain stretches of the Colorado (River), the flows are fairly similar to the summer months. And the leaves are changing, and the wildlife is more active because there’s so much less traffic (on the rivers). It’s just a great time of year.”
Campton said it’s a common perception by many in Colorado that the season for rafting is pretty much over by the time the regulated flows of the Arkansas River are brought down on Aug. 15 of each year. The Arkansas then slowly reaches what Campton referred to as its “native” flows. Although, that doesn’t mean the river can’t be rafted. Campton said Kodi runs trips down the Arkansas through Labor Day and that many other outfitters in the region keep going even longer.
And, the Arkansas’ regulated flow program is unlike any other drainage in the region.
Although outfitters don’t run trips past the fall, Campton said it’s certainly possible to run river like the Colorado year-round.
“I think people just assume that when (Aug. 15) hits and the kids start going back to school that there isn’t much left to do on the river,” Campton said, “and that’s definitely not true.”
After the recent rain storms in the area, Campton said that flows have increased, which makes the conditions for boaters that much better.
Clear Creek, which had been running slowly the past couple weeks, got a major boost from the summer storms, Campton said. The heavier flows should help to extend its season.
The Arkansas is a “peaceful” trip this time of year, Campton said, with slower flows in its upper, more channelized section. Although, those looking for some foam can hit the Big Horn Sheep and Royal Gorge sections of the river as well.
In Gunnison, the river has class III flows, suitable for a float trip, and is run by outfitters through Labor Day.
But, the Colorado may be the best drainage to hit in the latter parts of the summer. With everything from float trips on its easier sections to extreme runs through Gore Canyon – “For the adrenaline junkies,” Campton said – the river provides rafting for all levels at all times of the year.
Campton also said that now would be a good time to try a float/fishing trip, in which outfitters take groups on leisure rides to track down some trout.
And even though some may hurry to get their last trips in before fall, Campton said there’s no reason to worry about boating opportunities leaving along with the warm summer weather in the High Country.
“The rivers keep going,” he said. “It’s not like they just turn off.”
Bryce Evans can be reached at (970) 668-4634 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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