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In Durango, river sports have become extremely popular and attract people from all over the world. They come to challenge the furiously fun white water, immerse themselves in the extreme beauty of the back country and cooling off during a hot summer day. River sports can be broken down into categories like: kayaking, rafting, canoeing, pontoon boating, inner tubing, paddle boarding and catarafting. Durango has all of this available and more! You can bring your own equipment or visit one of the many expert guide shops in town. They can give current river beta which is recommended before embarking out on your own or they can provide the complete trip for you. Rivers & Creeks round Durango Animas River Piedra River Hermosa Creek San Juan River Dolores River Vallecito Creek Dolores River Junction Creek Cascade Creek Spring runoff which is best from late April through May provides the best whitewater of the season and this site has links to various river flow data. This information is useful for fun factor and safety so feel free to browse these areas to help plan your trip. Be aware that conditions depend on Mother Nature providing enough snow melt at the right time to make your adventure meet expectations. It can go from benign to downright dangerous very quickly. Aside from the rivers and creeks for water sports, Durango has a white water park in the Animas River located at the Santa Rita Park. This area provides parking, putin and takeout ramp, bathroom, RV parking and a fantastic slalom course for kayaks. There are waves for play boating, paddle boarding and practicing your river skills. It's right on the edge of town and is a must do if you want a great place to get out and "session". You can also visit our calendar of events page for information on competitions, events and links. During the summer, June through September the streams tame down but still provide fun all season long. Depending on current conditions boating is still good and inner tubing is great. It is not uncommon to see hundreds of people floating from 32nd street putin to the Gateway Park takeout running the river during a hot weekend. There is a shuttle called Durango Transit that can provide transportation and runs throughout town on a regular schedule. This is a very convenient and economical way to make it back to your car. Whether you bring your own gear or want a spectacular guided trip Durango has you covered. So load up the boat, pack up the gear and Go Outdoors! River beta: Please note that river information changes constantly and that if you are planning a trip a current measure is extremely valuable!  Understanding difficulty or "Class" of white water:   Class I:   Easy. Slow to faster moving water with small waves, few obstructions, minimal risk to swimmers and self rescue is easy. Class II: Easy to intermediate. Wide, clear channels with medium waves and obstacles that can be avoided easily by trained paddlers. Swimmers are seldom injured and assistance is not often needed for rescue. Class III: Intermediate. Fast moving water with moderate to large waves that may be difficult to avoid and can swamp an open boat like a canoe. Complicated maneuvers may be required to avoid large obstacles so better boat skills may be required. Inexperienced boaters are advised to scout the sections to plan their routes and emergency exits. Self rescue is easy but group assistance may be necessary to avoid long swims. Class IV: Advanced. Powerful, intense but predictable rapids requiring higher boating skills in turbulent water. Rivers can have constricted passages, large unavoidable waves and holes that demand fast maneuvers under pressure. Rapids may have a "must make it" move to avoid dangerous hazards. Scouting may be necessary the first time down. Risk of injury to swimmers is moderate to high and water conditions can make self rescue difficult so group rescue is preferred. Advanced to expert boating skills required and up to date stream information is recommended. Class V: Expert. Extremely long, obstructed or violent rapids that expose boaters to above average risks. Sections of the stream may have large, unavoidable waves, holes or steep congested chutes with demanding routes. Rapids can continue for long distances between resting pools or be nonexistent demanding a high level of endurance. The upper levels of this class can combine any or all of these factors making scouting mandatory and often difficult. Swims are dangerous and rescue is difficult, even for experts. Proper equipment, practiced rescue skills and extensive experience are essential for survival. Class VI: Extreme. This is the highest and most dangerous class of white water. They offer the professional boater the ultimate challenges with extremes brought by raging unpredictable water. The consequences of errors are very severe and rescue for swimmers may be impossible. Scouting may be impossible or very difficult. Most class VI rapids are run in teams of expert boaters using all precautions available and may include sections that are only occasionally run. Class VI rapids are for seasoned professionals only. Our river maps page will provide some information on river flow data and general class but contacting a local guide for up to date beta is advisable. Reference: Banks, G., & Eckardt, D. (1999). Colorado rivers and creeks. (2nd ed.). Hong Kong, Japan: Global Interprint Inc.
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