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Planning a River Trip?

River levels and conditions change daily. Check for current conditions before you make plans to enjoy the river.

Hazards During High Water

Swift water, dangerous currents: Not all hazards can be seen from the surface, even gentle stretches of water can have dangerous undercurrents.

Debris and Tree snags: It’s creating dangerous undercurrents that can trap you underwater. Debris can also puncture rafts.

Cold Water Temperatures: Hypothermia is a very real concern. Water will be colder the deeper the River gets, creating a potentially deadly situation for even the strongest of swimmers.

Unstable Riverbanks: Ground can erode underneath, and breakaway without warning. If you’re standing on it, you can get swept away.

Don't Swim at Boat Ramps: Currents can quickly drag someone underwater or downstream.

Conditions will change day by day: As the weather heats up or cools down, snow will melt at a different pace creating ever-changing river conditions.


Always Wear a Life Jacket: Life jackets save lives! Even strong swimmers should wear one. Life jackets are available to borrow for free at many boat ramps thanks to the Save-A-Life Jacket Program.

Use Proper Equipment: Using pool toys and inner tubes on the river are putting your life at risk. Use equipment designed for the river, sub-standard equipment will not protect you from river hazards.

River Trip

Enjoy the River Sober: Rafting impaired puts your life at risk.

Raft in Groups: Raft with others, not alone. A preferred minimum is three boats. Let someone know where you are going and when you expect to return.

Know your limits: Do not attempt a section of the river beyond your skill level.

Pay attention to weather and water conditions: Dress for the water temperature. If the water temperature and air temperature combined total of 100 degrees or less wear protective clothing.

Have an Emergency? Call 911: Search and Rescue services are free.

Stay Informed

Visit the Colorado Basin River Forecast Center for current water levels on Mesa County rivers. 

Colorado River 


Gunnison River



Riverfront Trails Closures 

Parts of the Riverfront trail close during times of high water. Click here for more information and detour routes.



Hiking Safety

River Trip
  • Plan your route ahead of time, and make sure someone not in your hiking party knows your plan and expected time of return. 
  • Take and drink plenty of water, especially during hot days. 
  • You can't always depend on your cell phone! It may run out of battery or you may find yourself in an area with no cell or GPS coverage.
  • Check the weather and dress for it!
  • Learn more about hiking safety here.  
  • Also don't forget to take your CORSAR card! If you ever need Search and Rescue it helps us pay for the cost! Click here to get yours today! 
River Trip



Recreating in Winter

Recreating in Winter
  • Know the forecast! Weather can change! Check it at National Weather Service 
  • Tell someone where you are going and when you plan to return. 
  • Never go alone, and ALWAYS stay together!!!
  • A map and compass! Cell phones will only work so far.  - Global Positioning Satellite Receivers (GPS) are great, but they become useless once the batteries are dead. Never rely totally on this technology, when you go out in the backcountry ALWAYS take a map and compass with you and make sure you know how to use it!!
  • Tools and spare equipment parts
  • Extra clothing and “space” blanket
  • A flashlight and first aid kit
  • Nonperishable food and water
  • An avalanche beacon and snow shovel
  • Waterproof matches, lighter and a candle
  • A whistle and pocket knife

If You Think You’re Lost….

  • STAY PUT and call for help! It's a lot easier for Mesa County Search and Rescue to find you if you are in one place!
  • Use the last hour of the day preparing a shelter
  • Build a fire
  • Never separate from each other!
  • If you must move, travel down a drainage
  • Help will come, believe it!!
  • Always be prepared to spend the night!!…..


  Are you and your family prepared for a Disaster?

Learn more about how you can prepare now. 

 Are you prepared for a Wildfire?

Learn more about what do Before, During, and After a Wildfire