• Camarasus skull in the cliff face, rafters on the Green River, McKee Springs petroglyphs

    Dinosaur

    National Monument CO,UT

2011 River Levels

Deerlodge Park Campground and Yampa River launch site on June 9, 2011. The river has inundated the campground and parking area.
Deerlodge Park campground and launch on June 9, 2011 at over 22,000 cubic feet per second. Water from the Yampa has flooded the campground and parking area.
NPS
 

July 22, 2011 Update: The Deerlodge Park Campground has reopended. Restrooms and water are now available. The camping area may have soggy spots and mud. The flow of the Yampa River has decreased greatly over the past week, but still remains above normal levels for this time of year. The Green River has also decreased slightly.

Predicted Flow of the Yampa River

 

Dinosaur's rivers—the Green and the Yampa—are expected to reach record or near record levels in the Spring of 2011 due to the heavy snowpack and wet spring. Some areas within the watershed received over 150% of the average annual snowfall. Actual flow rates for the rivers will be dependent on the how quickly the snowpack melts, which will be affected by temperatures and any additional precipitation.

The amount of water flowing through the rivers may have dramatic changes on the experience for visitors. Some river campsites, put ins and take outs could become inaccessible due to water levels or debris carried by the current. Some rapids may disappear completely underneath the water while others may become more challenging or require different routes than boaters have used before.

 

River Closures
Dinosaur National Monument does not close the rivers to access due to the high water levels unless special circumstances such as a river-wide log jam make river passage impossible. It is up to each individual or group of individuals to assess their own skill and comfort level and decide for themselves if it is safe and appropriate to run the river at these levels.

 

Flooding at Deer Lodge Campground and Launch
The campground at Deerpark Lodge is currently closed. There is currently no drinking water available at Deerlodge Park until the river recedes. When river flows exceed 18,000 cfs, water begins to flood the campground. The boat launch is open. Launchers must follow posted signs.

Flooding Possibilities at Green River/Split Mountain Campground/Launch
Water is not currently in the campground but some lower sites may get flooded if levels continue to rise. Rangers recommend visitors have an alternate camping location outside the park if water does enter the campground. The boat launch at Split Mountain is expected to remain open.

Gates of Lodore Campground/Launch
There is no prediction for water to rise into the campground or impact the launch at Gates of Lodore.

 
Deerlodge Park Campground on June 6, 2011. Yampa River level is at 21900 cubic feet per second (cfs).
Deerlodge Park Campground. Photo taken on June 6, 2011. River flow approximately 21,900 cubic feet per second. Campground is under water at this level. The river may rise further in the next few weeks.
NPS
 

Special River Safety Considerations
Travel on Dinosaur's rivers is challenging even under low flow rates. The higher water levels brings additional concerns.

Protect yourself - Always wear an approved lifejacket, protective footware and clothing. Because flood waters may carry additional bacteria or other biological hazards, promptly treat any cut or abrasion that has been exposed to the water.

River currents - In some areas the current will be much faster than normal. The location of the currents can change as well as the speed. Stay out of the water. Do not attempt to swim in the river under these conditions. Sharp drop-offs, sandbars and other unseen hazards make swimming dangerous.

Water temperature - The water in the rivers is extremely cold due to melting snow in the mountains. Shock from exposure to the temperature or hypothermia (loss of body heat) can set in quickly. If someone gets wet, get them into dry clothing and make sure they get warm as soon as possible.

Debris - The higher levels and swift current can carry debris such as logs, full-size trees and rocks. Always be on the lookout for obstructions caused by this debris. Additionally, since the rivers flow into the monument, they may carry in fuel tanks, animals, culverts, tires or other refuse. Do not disturb any unknown containers. Report any containers or other hazards that you find to park rangers to the River Office as soon as possible. Note the distance upstream or downstream from river miles listed on maps and guides. Include if the hazard was river right or left. Provide a brief description of the hazard and take a photo, if possible.

River edges - The force of the current can quickly erode the banks of the river. Be careful to stay away from the edges, particularily in places where the water has cut under the bank, creating an overhanging edge or what is also know as a "cut bank." These areas can collapse with no warning, causing anyone standing near to fall into the water and then swept downstream.

Power of the river - Do not underestimate the power of the river. Rangers watched full-grown cottonwood trees hit the hole at Warm Spring at 22,000 cubic feet per second in 2008 and saw the rapid's hydraulics thrust the trees several feet in the air.

Did You Know?

Photo of tilted rock layers at sunrise.

Dinosaur National Monument's geology is a feast for the mind and the eye. The rock layers, which have been tilted by folding, expose a variety of colors and textures.