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How to Be Safe On Boulder Creek

by Andrew Steigerwald 19 Jun 2024
How to Be Safe On Boulder Creek

Staying Safe While Tubing at Boulder Creek

Boulder Creek, located in Eben G. Fine Park, is a staple attraction for Boulderites and others in the Denver Metro area looking for a fun time on the water. Its many small obstacles and easy access make it the ideal location for a simple yet exciting day out with family or friends. However, it can be dangerous.

Staying safe on Boulder Creek comes down to three factors:

  1. Having the proper equipment and attire.
  2. Safe water levels.
  3. Learning small techniques to make sure you don't fall off or out of your watercraft.

Proper Equipment and Attire

Boulder Creek has many rocks and tree branches beneath its surface. These hidden obstacles are known for causing minor injuries. To avoid these, we recommend bringing water shoes, a helmet, and a life jacket when heading to the creek. Having this equipment greatly reduces the chance of avoidable injuries. Additionally, make sure to bring plenty of sunscreen and water. While much of the creek is shaded, the sun is still quite strong and can cause burns.

Safe Water Levels

It's recommended that tubers looking for a fun, casual time at the creek go when the water levels are between 180 cfs and 270 cfs. This is the sweet spot where the water isn't so low that you risk cutting your tube or scraping your feet, nor so fast that you'll feel out of control. When the water is below 180 cfs, the obstacles are much harder to avoid, making for a bumpy ride. Conversely, when the water is above 300 cfs, it's much easier to flip over due to the water's speed, and there's a higher likelihood of getting caught in a rip current. Therefore, we do not recommend tubing when the water is higher than 300 cfs.

Tubing Techniques

When whitewater tubing, it's important to know how to maneuver and control your tube and body position. Start by scouting the section you plan to take on. Before dropping in, take time to look at all the features as you would in a park while skiing or snowboarding. If you plan on tubing the entire creek, it's advisable to walk up from your endpoint to survey the routes you can take to use or avoid the features you'll encounter. Visualize the body position you'll need to avoid flipping over when going off a drop and how you'll push off certain rocks or tree branches.

While in the water, take advantage of everything around you, such as objects you can grab onto or push off of, currents that carry you in different directions, and areas of still water to take a break when needed. Also, make a conscious effort to control your body position. To go off a chute, lean back slightly to bounce over the top of the whitewater at the chute's bottom. For changing currents, kick off something and lean right or left into the current. In rocky sections, make sure to sit with your bottom out of the hole in the middle and tuck your legs close. Using these simple body positions will allow you to maneuver more controlled and make the experience more enjoyable.

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