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Water levels low enough to lift rafting restrictions along Arkansas River

Arkansas River rafting status.
Raft on Arkansas River
Posted at 7:24 PM, Jul 12, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-12 21:30:35-04

FREMONT COUNTY — The extreme water flow in the Arkansas River through Southern Colorado is finally dropping, It is now half of what it was a month ago. "We have come down to what we really refer to as the sweet spot,” said Echo Canyon Rafting, Owner, Andy Neinas, “So all sections of the Arkansas are open."

Through the month of June there was arguably too much of a good thing. Water so high some potential customers staying away. Water was running over 5,000 Cubic Feet Per Second (CFS). Rafting companies agree to avoid certain sections of the river when the water is that high.

The flow dropped to 2,800 CFS this week. It means all sections of the river are now prime for rafting.

“Everything from family float, kids 5--6 years old, all the way up to adventure class options," said Neinas. That water flow is still high and fast, but now more manageable. Rafting companies work with customers to figure out the most appropriate type of trip. There are sections with lots of large rapids, others more suited for people wanting to drift, and other trip options somewhere between the two.

There is still a lot of snow on mountain peaks that feed water to the Arkansas River. Similar to the extended ski season this year, rafting will likely run longer than normal. Above average flows could continue into September.

The changes are great for recreation. It is also important to Colorado tourism. More than 200 thousand people rafted the Colorado section of the Arkansas River last year.