Measurements of snow pack in the Upper Colorado River Basin taken on March 22, 2019, are the highest they have been in seven years.
Compared to depths measured on this date since 2013, the snow pack stood at 137.9%. This early spring snow pack and probable continuing seasonal rains bode well for river rafting vacations this season on the Colorado River System, reports Western River Expeditions.
“Thanks to an active El Niño year, I think we can safely predict an above-average, possibly even record whitewater year and a robust spring runoff from all the snow the Rockies have received. If spring temperatures are normal or cooler than average, the mountains will preserve a lot of this massive snow pack moisture until normal run-off time in May through mid-June. If the spring is wet, then it will be an epic high water year. If it’s dry, I’m confident that it will at least be average and average is awesome!” said Brandon Lake, CMO of Western River Expeditions.
This news is music to the ears of avid rafters who love the thrills of high-water rafting. High water also gives rafters more time for side canyon hikes and exploring terrain around their river camps because they get to the camps faster.
The river system of the Upper Colorado River Basin is built by flows from numerous western rivers. The data that Lake’s team works with for the Colorado River Basin impacts the company’s Cataract and Westwater canyons and Green River trips.
The snow pack news is also a call to action at Western River Expeditions that is gearing up with equipment and guide training for a high-water year. The high water gives Western River Expeditions greater flexibility to match up rafting experience with the level of white water. And it can switch out the craft it uses depending on the water’s intensity. For the beginning of this season Lake expects that the J Rig, the largest craft in their fleet (offering greater stability than smaller oar and paddle rafts), would be the vessel of choice for rafting on the Colorado River through Cataract Canyon.
Lake explained that Cataract Canyon near Moab, UT, begins where the Green and Colorado Rivers meet. Bolstered by the Green River, the Colorado River doubles its force and carves a deep 100-mile-long chasm through the heart of Canyonlands National Park. Here guests experience the thrill of class III-V whitewater.
Western’s Cataract Canyon4-day trip mixes running the rapids with off-river hikes to ancient Native American ruins and pictographs. The trip covers 100 river miles with the pleasures of camping under the stars and dining on chef-prepared meals.
Other rafting trips on the Colorado and neighboring Green Rivers in Utah are also expected to have higher than average water levels this spring and summer. They include Desolation Canyon on the Green River and Westwater Canyon on the Colorado River just upriver from Cataract Canyon.
To see the latest snowpack reports go here.
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