Watch the river flow |

Watch the river flow

Currents in the Yampa River dictate when it’s a good time to kayak, raft or float on a tube. From mid-May to early June, peak run-off sent water surging through downtown Steamboat Springs at a “flow rate” of more than 3,000 cubic feet per second, or cfs, ideal conditions for kayaking.

At Dinosaur National Monument, river ranger Doug Ross says that although 1,000 cfs is usually the lowest flow rate for good rafting, the Yampa can be run when it’s as low as 700 cfs.

That flow rate is great for floating on a tube.

“We usually start putting tubers in at about 800 or 900 cubic feet per second,” said Ryan Simms of Backdoor Sports, a Steamboat Springs recreation store that rents tubes and runs shuttle buses along the Yampa River in downtown Steamboat.

To check how fast the Yampa River is flowing, with statistics updated several times a day by the United States Geological Survey, visit

Follow the “water data” and “real-time” flow information links to a list of all water measuring, or “gauging,” stations in Colorado. Scroll down to the Yampa River stations and click to see graphs of river flow and height.

The site uses data from seven stations in Routt County and four stations in Moffat County.

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