The Rapids of Boulder Creek are Now Moving Even More Rapidly
Due to Colorado’s recent monsoon season, river levels have begun to rise an extraordinary amount. River levels in the spring are typically much lower, and Boulder has had to make a few adjustments because of this. For example, at Boulder Creek Fest, the normally calm river was turning parts of the creek area into swampland. The annual Boulder Creek Rubber Duck Race was even moved to an inflatable pool due to the river levels being too high. The Creek Fest wasn’t the only thing that was effected, however. The Boulder Creek Path’s underpasses have also been flooded recently, and several underpasses have been blocked off for safety concerns. Unless you have an amphibious bike, I wouldn’t recommend trying to ride through any of the flooded underpasses.
It’s also no surprise then that there has been a tubing ban put upon Boulder Creek. Typically, the river runs at a mellow 100-300 cfs. As of June 1st, the discharge reached over 800 cfs. I’m no professional river observer, but I know enough to understand that 800 cfs is quite a bit of discharge. This means that Boulder Creek will unfortunately be off-limits to tubers until the water levels once again reach a consistent and reasonable discharge rate. Tubing at such a high discharge can be dangerous even with proper equipment, and I assume that most casual tubers don’t necessarily plan on tubing with knee pads and a helmet. Unfortunately, the inner tubers of Boulder will just have to wait for the water to calm down before they can engage their flotation devices. Where did all this water come from, you may ask? Well, the creek’s discharge can be linked to the Barker Reservoir up in Nederland, which recently went through a process of “filling and spilling.”
Barker Reservoir is where all the water begins its downstream journey. Because of our incredibly wet spring season, the reservoir filled up and had to release the excess water via its spillways, thus why the process is called “filling and spilling.” This is nothing abnormal and surely isn’t a topic of serious concern. It simply means that the Boulder Creek is going to have more water passing through it than it is normally does. Now that the Barker Reservoir has gone through this process, the river levels are actually considerably lower. The river discharge was just above 600 cfs as of today, which still isn’t a discharge safe for tubing, but the water levels are considerably lower than they were on June 1st. Boulder Creek is definitely worth checking out if you’ve never seen it at a high discharge, but if you decide to go see it, just be sure to stay out of the water.