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2018 River Report

a group of people riding skis on a raft in the water

Dvorak Expeditions Is Ready To Make 2018 The Best Summer Yet!

The 2017-18 winter may not have been the Colorado winter of your dreams, full of epic powder days, and skipping work to get the first chair after a massive snowstorm. But that does not mean you need to worry about your river season.  You’ll still be able to go whitewater rafting, kayaking, float fishing, and paddleboarding all summer long.

We are especially lucky here on the headwaters of the Arkansas River. Unlike many of the other spectacular rivers in Colorado the Arkansas River will be running all summer and into September. Although many snowpacks are not looking so good for the upcoming season, the Arkansas Valley is doing better than most, with the SNOTEL reading the upper Arkansas River at 80-90% of normal. Compare that to the San Juan and the Rio Grande, which are only at 30% of normal.  This below average snowpack may seem like a bummer, but it just means we will not see the aggressive June flows that keeps novice and intermediate river folks off the water. These less intimidating river flows mean that the Salida Town run will be better for river SUPing, tubing, inflatable kayaking, mini rafts and other interactive activities. You also won’t have to worry about making it under the town bridge, which is always a huge plus!

Still feeling bummed about the river flows?…Don’t!
The Arkansas River reservoir will keep flows going all summer, so you can hit all your favorite stretches like Pine Creek, The Numbers, and Browns Canyon. The Arkansas reservoirs are ranging between 130% to 165% full over the summer months, putting the ARK’s reservoirs fuller than any of the other Colorado river reservoirs. There are also a few contributing drainages near Leadville that now are over 100% of their average fullness.  Combine this with about 50,000-acre Trans-mountain diversion water that will be imported from the Frying Pan River near Aspen.

This all bodes well for the Arkansas River’s voluntary flow program which works to keep a minimum of 700 cubic feet per second (CFS) in the river through mid-August.  This means there is PLENTY of water to have a raging good time on the Arkansas River, whitewater rafting, kayaking and float fishing the summer.

If you’re interested in learning more about River flows and snowpack check out the NRCS website.  Or check out Dvorak Expeditions Helpful Links for up to date river flows.

Dvorak Expedition’s staff is stoked and ready to make 2018 your best time on the river yet, and we hope to see you soon!