Many of the West’s best whitewater rafting rivers are dry, but not the “U.K.”
A dry winter and spring has left many of the West’s most popular whitewater rafting rivers in a sad state: they are too low to raft. An abnormally warm spring has kept whitewater enthusiasts and outfitters glued to snow reports – which have reported snow packs as low as 15% of normal in the Southern Sierras. “The further south you go, the less snow and water there is,” says Will Volpert, owner of Ashland, Oregon’s Indigo Creek Outfitters.
Almost all free-flowing sections of rivers in California will be too low to raft by June 1st. Anyone who hopes to raft one of the West’s best whitewater rivers will have limited options. “Realistically, the Upper Klamath here in Southern Oregon will be ‘the’ rafting trip of choice for those looking for a big whitewater experience,” says Volpert. The dam-controlled Upper Klamath, which historically flows year-round due to daily releases from John C. Boyle Powerhouse, will have raft-able water flows throughout 2013.
“This summer is shaping up to be a perfect confluence of events for the Upper Klamath rafting season,” says Volpert, whose business runs half-day and full-day rafting trips on the Klamath and Rogue rivers. “We are going to have reliable flows throughout the summer on a stretch of river that is absolutely world-class. Considering that many other Class IV rivers are already done for the year, this should be a banner year for visitors rafting the Upper Klamath.”
Upper Klamath rafting trips depart from Ashland, Oregon with a scenic drive on Highway 66 to the river. From the put-in, rafters are treated to continuous Class III and IV rapids, punctuated with a few larger drops. For those interested in learning more about rafting on the Upper Klamath, contact Indigo Creek Outfitters at 541-203-0222 or visit them online at www.IndigoCreekOutfitters.com.