Rafters ride swollen waters on Arkansas River due to springtime runoff


CAÑON CITY, Colo — Hot weather is causing the Arkansas River to swell from springtime runoff, but it’s not keeping adventure enthusiasts from rafting in Cañon City.

Experts at Raft Masters in Cañon City said this is nothing they haven’t seen before, and they’re keeping a close eye on water levels and speeds.

“You’ll see it start off pretty low at the beginning of May, peak usually around the first and second week of June and then start to come back down,” said Will Colon, Partner at Raft Masters.

Despite the higher waters right now, rafters still suited up to go downstream.

“We have this water vest thing to keep the water warm and right now I’m sweating my pants off,” said Thomas Aguirre, a rafter from out of town.

According to Raft Masters, right now the water is moving at 3,700 cubic feet per second.

A cubic foot of water is about the size of a basketball, so it’s like 3,700 basketballs going by at any given point at any given second.

While the majority of Raft Masters’ routes remain open, as you move further downstream, some waters are off limits.

According to Raft Masters, Colorado Parks and Wildlife issued a high water advisory for the Royal Gorge route, meaning trips there will be closed until further notice.

“They recommend that commercially we not run the Royal Gorge section, which is only a nine-mile section of the Arkansas River, at levels above 3,200,” said Colon.

Still, rafters are welcome to ride along the river seven days a week in the other areas Raft Masters offers.

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