A gorgeous #Colorado canyon will be raftable for the first time since 2019 thanks to heavy snowpack: But the #DoloresRiver is just one of many rivers where the rafting outlook is great this season — The #Denver Post #runoff

Ponderosa Gorge, Dolores River. Boating is popular on the Lower Dolores River, which is being considered as a National Conservation Area. Photo credit RiverSearch.com.

Click the link to read the article on The Denver Poste website (John Meyer). Here’s an excerpt:

The Dolores River in southwestern Colorado can be one of the best rafting destinations in the country when it has enough water. It offers gorgeous scenery in the high desert of the Colorado Plateau and history dating back to the ancient Anasazi, who used it as a highway to and from Mesa Verde not far to the south. There are many years when the Dolores is not runnable for commercial rafting outfitters because of insufficient water, though. When they can operate there, as they will this year thanks to Colorado’s abundant mountain snowfall this past winter, rafters and outfitters rejoice. The last time the Dolores could support rafting was in 2019…

Mcphee Reservoir

When snowpack is meager, runoff from the upper Dolores is stored in McPhee Reservoir near the town of Dolores for agricultural needs. This year, thanks to the great snowpack at its headwaters in the shadow of the 14,246-foot Mount Wilson near Telluride, there will be some left over for recreation, which happens down river from the reservoir…

With rafting season beginning this week for many outfitters in the state, the snowpack in nearly every Colorado river basin is near normal or above, some way above normal. The San Miguel, Dolores, Animas and San Juan basin this week stood at 88% above normal, and the adjacent Gunnison River basin was 71% above normal. Drainage in the northwest part of the state — which includes the Yampa, White and Green rivers — is 41% above normal, and the Colorado River headwaters is 24% above normal. Colorado rafting companies are expecting good things. The Arkansas basin’s overall snowpack stands at only 78% of normal, but its flows can be augmented by diversions from places in the high country where snowpack is better. Those water management decisions are made primarily for other purposes, such as agriculture, but rafters get to recreate on that water first. The Arkansas is Colorado’s most popular river for rafting by far…The Blue River, north of Silverthorne, may be runnable this year.

Check out the fill spike for this season!

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