Eagle County- There is no better way to spend your time in Colorado than rafting down the river on a warm summer day.
The water level last year was great for rafting companies after the large amount of snow melted so quickly, filling up rivers, such as the lower Eagle, to thrilling levels for water sports enthusiasts.
"Last year, the water level was so high," said Lisa Reeder, director of sales and operations for Timberline Tours. "Now, this year people look at Gore Creek and there is no water, so they automatically think there is no rafting."
This year's low water level is not stopping local rafting companies such as Timberline Tours, Nova Guides, Lakota Guides and Sage Outdoor Adventures.
As most people only see the little amount of water in rivers such as Gore Creek, they seem to forget about the dam-controlled rivers, such as the Upper Colorado River, that still make rafting possible.
Rafting is one of the most exciting outdoor adventures in Colorado. Whether you are wanting a thrilling ride or just a relaxing float as you look at the breathtaking scenery, there is a level of difficulty available for everyone.
Whether you decide to float on a level 1 trip or choose a more intense level 5 experience, you are constantly surrounded by the tall mountains and gorgeous trees.
You may even experience an occasional wildlife sighting. What more could you ask for to get a full Colorado experience?
Although the water might be chilly if you get splashed, you are immediately warmed up when the sun is shining.
"On a normal year when you walk by the river in Vail Village, there is no water in the middle of July," Reeder said. "Last year was very different."
Timberline Tour's newest rafting stretch on the Colorado River is Gore Canyon.
This thrilling stretch includes 5 miles of intense rafting rapids in the canyon, rapids with technical drops, one 12-foot waterfall as well as many other challenging maneuvers.
In order to participate in this stretch, good endurance and physical condition are required due to several strenuous sections.
Although higher water levels can make a stretch more exciting, the river classifications are more based on the technical aspects of a stretch.
To determine the level of the water, there are many different resources for rafting companies that give daily water-level updates.
"We have a running list of each stretch of river," Reeder said. "We know which levels are good for what."
Mary Kelley Zeleskey is an intern at the Vail Daily and can be reached at 970-777-3120.