DENVER – Clear Creek is closed within Golden city limits for swimming and tubing as of this week amid high runoff levels and creek flows, as are several other creeks in the Front Range foothills.
Clear Creek moved to level red on Sunday, which means only experienced kayakers and rafters should be using the creek as long as they have protective gear and can self-rescue.
The creek was running at about 730 cubic feet per second (CFS) as of Tuesday afternoon, up from flows in the low-to-mid 600 CFS levels last week as warm temperatures melt the remaining snowpack.
“The emergency services staff in Golden will make assessments about water levels daily and modify the flag status when appropriate,” said Emily Gedeon, a spokesperson for the city of Golden. The city also has a website where it updates the flag status on the creek daily.
Tubing and swimming restrictions also went into place Tuesday morning on St. Vrain Creek and the St. Vrain River, which was flowing around 1,000 CFS. Kayaks and whitewater canoes will still be permitted for the time being.
Two people tubing in Boulder County on Sunday had to be rescued.
The snowmelt has also caused flooding in Rocky Mountain National Park, which forced the park to close several roads and trails on Monday. As of Tuesday, the East Inlet Trail had reopened, but closures will still in place on the North Inlet access road, Bowen Gulch access road, Holzwarth Historic Site, and the Colorado River Trail north of Red Mountain and the Colorado River Trail junction.
Fast-melting snow also led to historic flooding in southern Montana and northern Wyoming on Monday, shutting off access to Yellowstone National Park.