Stay safe, avoid tubing the Yampa River during high flows this 4th of July
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — It’s currently unsafe to tube the Yampa River through Steamboat Springs.
High flows on the river have delayed tubing season this year.
“Recreating on the Yampa is best left to experts right now. The flow rate needs to be about 700 cubic feet per second before it’s safe for tubers and typical recreationists,” said Steamboat Springs Parks and Recreation Director Angela Cosby.
The river was flowing at about 2,000 cfs through Steamboat on Wednesday, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. That’s nearly three times higher than a safe level for tubing. The National Weather Service forecast that these high flows would continue through the weekend.
Commercial outfitters typically start renting tubes out when the river falls below 700 cfs.
High flows also keep the river cold. On Wednesday, the river was about 54 degrees. This temperature is low enough that without the protection of a wetsuit or drysuit, exposure to river water is cold enough to cause hypothermia and a total loss of breathing control, according to the National Center for Cold Water Safety.
“Keep an eye on pets and children,” Cosby said. “Play it safe, and don’t go near (the river) right now.”
City Water Resources Manager Kelly Romero-Heaney guessed — based on data from 2011, a similar water year — that the river might fall to a tube-able level in mid- to late-July.
If you’re itching to get on the water, a safer bet for those without whitewater experience or with young children is to head to area state parks such as Stagecoach, Steamboat Lake and Pearl Lake state parks. Several Steamboat area outfitters rent out paddleboards and lake kayaks.
Remember to always wear a personal floatation device and avoid using alcohol or other substances that impair your judgment when on the water.
Support Local Journalism
Support Local Journalism
Readers around Steamboat and Routt County make the Steamboat Pilot & Today’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.
Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.
Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.
Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.
User Legend: Moderator Trusted User