FREMONT COUNTY, Colo. -- As ski season comes to an end in Colorado, rafting season is already underway in the southern part of the state along the Royal Gorge.
Rafting trips along the Arkansas River are getting a jump start this season, fueled in part by the heaps of mountain snow melting in the Colorado high country.
“It’s going to be good. Just over 100 percent of normal, 115 percent last I checked,” said Zulu Hynes of Royal Gorge Rafting in Cañon City.
Many areas along the Arkansas River are seeing strong white water, coming from the mountain terrain in Leadville, about 150 miles away. Because of the rich high country snow, you’ll likely see faster water and bigger rapids.
This early spring snow melt draws thrill seekers from outside of Colorado.
Denver7 found tourists from as far north as Canada and from Texas in the south.
“Oh it was fantastic to find out they were open this early in the season,” said tourist Adrienne Phillips of Dallas.
The out-of-towners are welcome as the area’s been on the rebound after a wildfire ripped through the region about five years ago.
It’s not just the Royal Gorge that’s benefiting – this year’s mountain snow is expected to melt into parts of the Dolores River to the west, a rafting hot spot that’s been in need of water.
“It’s going to be best ever,” said Hynes about the Royal Gorge.