Good Boating Season Ahead In Summit County

May 25, 2015

Late-season storms have helped boost snowpack in the Blue River to near last year’s level, promising healthy runoff and flows in Summit County, according to Denver Water.

The effects of the steady barrage of spring storms are already showing up the Lower Blue River, where flows are increasing due to increased releases from Dillon Reservoir, according to Denver Water, which won’t be diverting water through the Roberts Tunnel until mid-July at the earliest. That means it should be a good rafting and kayaking season on local streams.

In an email sent out last week, Denver Water explained that high flows in the South Platte and low demand by water users in Denver mean that flows from Dillon Reservoir into the Blue River will increase even more in the next few days, “to capture snowmelt and help manage flows below the dam.”

Outflow from Dillon Reservoir into the Blue River is currently around 1,100 cfs and will be increased to about 1,500 cfs on Sunday by late in the weekend. The snowpack in the Blue River Basin above Dillon Reservoir is holding 18.4 inches of water, which is just below last year (19.6 inches).

More information on Summit County whitewater boating here.

“Rule of thumb” flow levels on the Blue River below Dillon Reservoir:

  • 200-550 cfs: Ideal range for fishing
  • 400-1,300 cfs: Ideal rafting range
  • 1,500 cfs: Rafting safety concerns begin
  • 1,800 cfs and above:  Bank overflow in some areas; dependent also on tributary flows


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