Colorado Is Scorching, But Don’t Expect To Cool Off By Tubing Down These Rivers

Hart Van Denburg/CPR News
A kayaker appears to be swallowed by the Cache la Poudre River near Rustic, June 6, 2021.

If you want to escape the heat this week, your options may be limited.

Colorado is in for a prolonged heat wave. Denver and parts of the Western Slope are expecting to see several days of over 100 degree weather. 

National Weather Service meteorologist Brianna Bealo said Grand Junction is being hit especially hard.

“We’re running about 15 to 20 degrees above normal,” she said. 

The town could break its all-time record of 106 degrees. And the daily highs in Grand Junction aren't supposed to dip below 100 until next Sunday.

But beating the heat might be a challenge. Retreating to the mountains will do no good, as even some ski towns will reach upward of 90 degrees. And taking an inflatable raft down to the river for a refreshing float? Forget about it.

Several Front Range waterways are closed because of dangerous conditions and debris from last year’s Cameron Peak fire. Safety officials in Fort Collins have closed several recreational entrances to the Poudre River to keep kayakers and swimmers away. Eighteen people have had to be rescued from the river recently. Fort Collins Police said snowmelt is contributing to the river’s high, fast and cold currents.

“We know it’s summertime, it’s hot, and people want to enjoy our beautiful natural resources, but it’s just not safe to float or boat on this part of the Poudre River right now,” Fort Collins Police Assistant Chief Kristy Volesky said in a release. “We’ll continue working with our local partners to inform the community, reduce unsafe activities, and prevent tragedy.”

In addition to the Poudre, Clear Creek in Golden also has restricted access. Golden Police have indefinitely prohibited water activities, like inner tubing, rafting and swimming, until water levels decrease.

Near Boulder, officials closed The North Saint Vrain and Saint Vrain Creek to tubing and other floatation devices until June 25. Last week, safety officials had to rescue an 18-year-old woman from the creek after she fell from her inner tube and climbed on a rock. 

CPR’s Stina Sieg contributed to this report.