Rafting Arkansas river - Mountain Buzz
 



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Old 08-02-2018   #1
 
Black Hawk, Colorado
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Rafting Arkansas river

What is the minimum flow for a 14 foot raft for Arkansas, between Granite and Nathrop, or below Nathrop?

Wondering if it is do-able this weekend. I think flows are at 300 cfs, so I’m guessing it’s too low

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Old 08-02-2018   #2
 
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Castle Rock, Colorado
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Depends on how much you like your boat?

If you love rock dodging, beating your boat up, and going through rapids that barely get water in your boat, have at it. Personally, I'm done with Browns for 2018 in a 14' raft and probably even in my minimax.
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Old 08-02-2018   #3
 
Denver, Colorado
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I did browns last weekend in a 13 and 14' boats at 420cfs and it was a pain in the ass. there were two spots that were impossible without getting stuck for a minute. I can't imagine doing it any lower. I believe all commercial activity has stopped in browns too. Basically dont do Browns right now.
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Old 08-02-2018   #4
 
Denver, Colorado
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We did three days runs last Fri, Sat, Sun. Stone Bridge to Salida East, then Salida East to Rincon, then Rincon to Vallie Bridge. 13 and 14 foot rafts. Got stuck on a few shallow gravel bars but it was manageable. But flows are lower now, I believe, so some of the areas that were a mild hassle could now be much worse...
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Old 08-02-2018   #5
 
Denver, Colorado
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Looks like the flows bumped up a few CFS last night - currently 441. Not sure if that makes anything any more passable: https://waterdata.usgs.gov/nwis/uv?07091200
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Old 08-02-2018   #6
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Weld county, Colorado
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If the commercials are done on browns then it is done.
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Old 08-02-2018   #7
 
BV, CO
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Originally Posted by NoCo View Post
If the commercials are done on browns then it is done.
Commercials were running Brown's last weekend with 50 CFS less in there. If you're low water tolerant it's enough for a great day in a special place.
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Old 08-02-2018   #8
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Weld county, Colorado
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Then it's doable. I haven't been there in 2 weeks and it was getting rough between Ruby and canyon doors. I think we had about 500 then. We pulled over at one point to watch non stop commercials float past us for about 1/2 hr. If there is enough water to scrape down, they will be out there.
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Old 08-03-2018   #9
 
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Originally Posted by Treswright3 View Post
I did browns last weekend in a 13 and 14' boats at 420cfs and it was a pain in the ass. there were two spots that were impossible without getting stuck for a minute. I can't imagine doing it any lower. I believe all commercial activity has stopped in browns too. Basically dont do Browns right now.
That's funny.... Browns Canyon absolutely still goes. The number of times you get stuck is directly dependent on your skill at maneuvering rubber and your knowledge of the lines. In 2012 the river flowed at lower levels than this all summer and commercial companies ran trips the whole season. Commercials are still running Browns, pretty much non-stop, they just moved their half-day trips to Lower Browns and only do the upper canyon as a full-day trip. Just takes too long for a half-day. My wife is one of the office managers at Performance Tours Rafting and she says they sent out 6 boats on full day Browns and 29 boats on half day Browns yesterday....
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Old 08-03-2018   #10
 
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IIRC, the commercials ran it all season in 2002. Yeah, that's ancient history but they did it then with about the same technology we've got now. Check out the flows during that season if you want to see just how bad it can get:

ARKANSAS RIVER NEAR NATHROP 2002 Season

Note that there's no drop off around 8/15, indicating it was only natural flows with zero flow augmentation. Also note that from late June through the end of the season, the flow was in the sub-300 cfs range.

They'd have been psyched to have a week-long bump up to the current 400 - 450 cfs we've got this season.

Here's 2012 for comparison (300 - 400 cfs most of the season):

ARKANSAS RIVER NEAR NATHROP, CO 2012 Season

And fishermen run it all the time during the low water months.

-AH
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