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2023 Snowpack Creates Excellent Whitewater

a group of people riding on the back of a boat

The Durango area received more than 361 inches of snow this winter, making its snowpack 180% of the average. What is snowpack, and what does this mean for whitewater adventures?

Snowpack is exactly what it sounds like – compacted layers of snow. It forms from a series of snowfalls that couldn’t melt due to below-freezing temperatures. The layer of snow from an earlier storm becomes compacted under the weight of the layers on top of it. Multiple snowfalls create multiple layers.

Snowpack affects winter sports like snowboarding and skiing, but it also impacts summer sports like whitewater rafting. In the warm months, snowpack behaves like an irrigation system. When the weather begins warming in spring, snow melts steadily, saturating the ground and then flowing into the rivers and watershed. A high snowpack means higher than normal water runoff into the rivers. High water makes for a fast river, giving rafters a more exhilarating ride.

Early in the rafting season, the water will be at its fastest due to snow melt and spring rains. With the higher snowpack from this winter, the rafting season may be extended due to higher water levels. For the best water experience, book earlier in the season.

Durango’s higher-than-average snowpack will make the river higher, faster, and more of an adventure. If you thought your previous Durango Rivertrippers rafting trip was fun, this summer’s whitewater promises to be even more exciting. Book our half-day raft trip or our popular Splash & Dash and let us show you how to run wild with the river!

From $124

Join us on a raft trip down the San Miguel River in Telluride, CO. In the spring and early summer this snowmelt-fed river plunges from the high peaks of the San Juan Mountains. NOTE: This river flows typically during the end of May and stops at the end of June. The dates we have loaded are the dates we are running this river. If you are looking for rafting in July and August check out our Durango River Rafting page.