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Colorado Parks and Wildlife warns of dangerously high Arkanas River levels

Arkansas River water levels
Arkansas River Trail closure
Posted at 10:31 PM, Jun 07, 2024

PUEBLO — Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) is warning the public to avoid the Arkansas River below the Lake Pueblo State Park dam as water levels are reaching dangerously high levels.

CPW said normal runoff from spring snow melt in the mountains and local heavy rains are causing the rising water. Lake Pueblo State Park Manager Joe Stadterman said, right now, the Arkansas River is at just under 4,000 cubic feet per second (CFS). He said 3,000 CFS is considered "hard to navigate" for those recreating on the water.

"This water can sweep you away quickly," he said. "Almost 30,000 gallons of water a second flowing down the river."

CPW said the water below the dam is also extremely cold at 54 degrees.

“The tailwaters below the dam are a popular place to fish and tube,” Stadterman said. “But this is not a safe time for any activities in the water. Everyone should wait until this river advisory is lifted and the flows are back to normal.”

So far in 2024, CPW said there have been 16 water-related deaths across the state. According to CPW, there were 32 water-related deaths in 2023 and a record number of deaths in 2022 at 42 deaths.

On Friday, the City of Pueblo Parks and Recreation Department issued a temporary closure of about 500 feet of the Arkansas River Trail from the trailhead at City Park to the new pedestrian bridge. Parks and Rec Director Steven Meier said this is due to high water over a section of trail. He said the closure could last anywhere from one to two weeks.

Arkansas River Trail closure
The City of Pueblo Parks and Recreation Department issued a temporary closure of about 500 feet of the Arkansas River Trail from the trailhead at City Park to the new pedestrian bridge.

"Just making sure the public's aware of it so they don't get down there and find themselves floating down the river and having a, you know, dangerous situation," said Meier.
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