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If you are looking for a lazy float down a stream, then Water World will be your best bet. If you are looking for some serious adventure, then take a whitewater rafting trip down Clear Creek. Clear …
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If you are looking for a lazy float down a stream, then Water World will be your best bet.
If you are looking for some serious adventure, then take a whitewater rafting trip down Clear Creek.
Clear Creek is one of the best kept secrets of the whitewater rafting world; it offers rafters of all ability levels the opportunity to test out their daredevil side starting in May and running through August when the season ends.
With water levels at their highest in May due to the spring runoff, some river outfitters will not take rafters down Clear Creek (or any other river) because the water is too rough, but as water levels dwindle the creek becomes much tamer.
“Safety is our No. 1 goal,” said Alan Blado, owner of Liquid Descent and whitewater expert, “If the water is too high, we won’t chance it.”
Although Clear Creek is one of the steepest raftable waterways in the nation, it is not technically a river and, unlike the Arkansas, it has direct access points which make the trip more about rafting than driving to the access point.
“This is not one of those rivers that you kick back and float on,” Blado said. “You really have to be ready to work and have fun on this river.”
Compared to the Arkansas River, which according to Blado is the most rafted river in North America, Clear Creek is notably smaller, but because of its pitch it is far more exciting.
“(Clear Creek) is almost twice the steepness of the Arkansas,” said Bruce Becker of Geo Tours Whitewater Rafting.
“It is one of the premier commercially rafted rivers in Colorado,” Blado said. “And it is really interesting because of Clear Creek’s history — it was one of the first places where people found gold.”
Beginners needn’t worry, says Duke Bradford, director of AVA Rafting, “There is something for everybody on Clear Creek. There are clearly defined beginner, intermediate and advance sections, so even people who have never been rafting before can do it.”
Most of the whitewater rafting companies that operate on Clear Creek will allow guests as young as 5 the opportunity to come and experience the excitement, power and majesty of river rafting. Whitewater adventurers do not have to know how to swim, but Blado suggests that guests who can’t swim be at least comfortable in water and be able to keep cool under pressure.
Will Colon, of Raft Masters, said that the rafting season should be a good one with water levels that are expected to be at an average level.
“We are expecting a summer very similar to last year,” he said, “but predicting water levels is like looking into a crystal ball.”
Becker said that last year Clear Creek had the most visitors to date as approximately 50,000 people rafted down the nearly 20 miles of Clear Creek.
“The experience is something that can change people’s lives,” Baldo said.
“I have seen (rafting) bring families closer because they had to work together and they had a great time doing it.”
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