Whitewater Blog Category: Durango Rafting

Upper Animas Training Trip

This Sunday we headed to the Upper Animas for a training and scouting mission. We did the Upper Animas Marathon trip from Silverton to Tacaoma (24 miles of whitewater in one day!). The river was running about 700cfs below Silverton and about 1900cfs at Tall Timber. The day was filled with sunshine, whitewater and amazing waterfalls visible from the river.

Waterfalls flowing into the river just below Silverton.

The San Juan snowpack will deliver a long Upper Animas season this year. We can’t wait to get you and your group up there for your next adventure.

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Sorry Folks… Park’s Closed

It’s that time of year… time to clean and store all the gear in preparation for winter. We are all finished up for the 2016 rafting season.

And so as the Moose should’ve told us at the gate, “Sorry Folks… Park’s Closed”.

Thanks to everyone who joined us on an adventure, we you hope you left with some memorable stories to share with family and friends.

Here are some sweet photos from the season.

cam-sawmill

nice-splash-smelter

sierra-having-fun

kevin-stands-raft-up-smelter

cam-having-fun

stu-smelter-shot

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The Rafting Season is in full swing

The 2016 season has started out strong on the Animas in Durango, CO. With the additional late snowfall in May, we are sure to have some great rafting for you this summer. We have been running trips daily in Durango and Telluride. The Upper Animas season also started up and has been great so far.

Join us for a great time today!

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Gold King Mine

On August 6th 2015, the Animas River closed due to the EPA triggering the release of acid mine water into Cement Creek, a tributary to the Animas River in Silverton, CO. Many images were taken of a river that should have been clear that time of year and was instead running a mustard yellow color. The river was closed as the plume made its way downstream slowly making its way to the confluence of the San Juan and then finally Lake Powell. Most likely, Lake Powell will act like a pea trap and most of those heavy metals will settle to the bottom.

This was a very emotional and sad week for all of the communities up and down the river. It affected our economy and our way of life. Farmers had to close their head gates and not allow any of the contaminated to enter their irrigation ditches. Fishermen were not only unable to fish, but were scared that most of the fish would not survive the yellow waters. The river was closed to entry and recreation including rafting, kayaking, and tubing.

Confluence of Cement Creek

The confluence of Cement Creek with the Animas River in Silverton, CO. This shot was taken about a week after the EPA accident.

The Animas River is strong and tough. Within days of the initial plume passing, the river was significantly clearer. As the water receeded, it left a bath tub ring of sediment on the rocks. More evidence of sediment settled in some of the eddies. About eight days later, the river was reopened after the water had been tested to show it was within safe levels for human contact. Luckily the fish dodged a short-term bullet and survived the initial impact of the metal-heavy waters. Long-term effects on the fish will be closely monitored and studied by the Department of Wildlife.

Gold King Mine Metals in Eddy

About a week after the accident evidence of metals in the eddy just downstream of the confluence with Cement Creek.

Since then, we have had a couple of small run off events that have raised the river just a little bit. One was a rain event, the other from snow melt when temperatures warmed up towards the end of February. Each time the river would rise, its color would turn a slight hint of mustard yellow, but not nearly as drastic as the initial plume. As the water begins to significantly rise in early May, we should see any remaining sediment quickly wash away.

After the accident, the EPA went to work setting up a water treatment plant above Silverton. This plant will treat all discharge from the Gold King Mine. The EPA will continue to closely monitor the water quality of the Animas. The Animas River took a huge hit from this accident, but hopefully a positive to come out of this situation will be the cleaning up of more of these old mines and closer monitoring of the future water quality.

Gold King Mine Treatment Plant

A view of the water treatment plant being built at the Gold King Mine.

After much deliberation, the Gold King Mine and other mines in the Silverton caldera mining network have been designated an EPA Superfund site. With money coming in to help clean up these mines, we hope the future of the Animas will be an even cleaner one than it was before the accident.

What does all of this mean for rafting on the Animas this summer? Lots of Rafting! Currently the water quality looks good. Let’s get out there on the water and enjoy the beauty of the Animas River. Let’s work to take care of the river and inform future generations of the need to clean up old mines and prevent this from happening on other rivers and to other communities.

February Snowpack Update

2016 continues to be a great El Nino winter for Southwest Colorado. According to the Snotel Data site, the San Miguel, Dolores, Animas and San Juan River Basins are at 128% of average snow water equivalent as of February 4. One of the tributaries to the Animas River, Cascade Creek, is currently at 140%. This means we are looking forward to a solid river rafting season starting this May.

Don’t delay, book your rafting trip today, use the promo codes to receive early season discounts of 10-15% when you pay in full during checkout.

Early Season Snowpack

It’s December 22, 2015 and so far this winter is shaping up to be a great one.  About 8″ of fresh snow last night with 15″ in the last 72 hours. Current base at Purgatory Resort is 42″.

Snow Stake

Possibly 2-4 feet more on the way this week!  We will keep you posted.

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Durango Rafting Video

Here’s a quick little edit I put together of some footage we shot last summer. This short video shows all the rafting options that we offer.  Join us next summer for family friendly or high adventure rafting in Durango and Telluride, Colorado.

 

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GO rafting this Weekend, Sept 28-29

Animas River Graph

Heavy September rains have created perfect rafting conditions in Durango. Join us on afternoon half day raft trip this weekend, September 28-29! Book your trip now

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Perfect rafting conditons in August!

Hallelujah!!! Monsoon season arrived with a punch in 2013. The Animas River is currently running 766 cfs. This is well above average for this time of year making the current rafting conditions perfect. Below are some video clips and photos from some trips over this weekend. Join us on our Lower Animas family friendly trip or on our high adventure Raft’n Rail package through Rockwood Box.

Liz McLaughlin running the meat of Smelter Rapid on Sunday August 11

Liz McLaughlin running the meat of Smelter Rapid on Sunday August 11

Here’s a clip of Ryan and his crew dropping into Rockwood Box on Saturday

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Rockwood Box Video

Now that water has dropped on the Animas, we now have the opportunity to run trips down Rockwood Box Gorge. Here is a video we put together from a trip on June 21, 2013. Thanks to our awesome crew that joined us this day.

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