River Runners Resumes Rafting the Royal Gorge after Wildfire

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Colorado rafting company resumes operations through the Royal Gorge after Royal Gorge Fire sends cable into river.

Royal Gorge rafting trips.

Royal Gorge rafting trips.

It is really heartbreaking to see the damage, but the best thing for the community is to be open for business.

Rivers Runners, a Colorado whitewater rafting company with two locations on the Arkansas River, resumed rafting the Royal Gorge on June 22, 2013, after the section was closed as a result of the Royal Gorge Fire.

A cable from the Royal Gorge Tram had fallen into the Arkansas River and was finally removed on Friday, according to Travis Hochard, operations manager, River Runners.

“We were unable to run Royal Gorge rafting trips for nearly two weeks, but finally received word on Friday it was all clear,” Hochard explained. “We look forward to getting back to business as usual.”

The Arkansas River was closed for several days from Spike Buck rapid to River Station, and US Hwy 50 was closed from US Hwy 9 to the Cañon City Water Treatment Plant as a result of the wildfire, according Hochard.

“This fire caused a lot of damage to the Royal Gorge Bridge and Park, but spared all of the whitewater rafting companies in the area,” Hochard explained. “It is really heartbreaking to see the damage, but the best thing for the community is to be open for business.”

The Arkansas River peaked around 2,900 cubic feet per second (cfs) on the day after the fire broke, Hochard said.

“Ironically, the river was closed on the best rafting day of the year. Fortunately we still have several months of great whitewater on the Arkansas River,” Hochard said. “Our guides are anxious to get back to work and share the river with guests.

River Runners continued operations on all other section of the Arkansas River during the closure and moved some Royal Gorge reservations to Bighorn Sheep Canyon or the Numbers, according to Eileen Peterson, general manager, River Runners.

“We wanted to provide people another option to go rafting on the Arkansas River,” Peterson said. “If they were unable to go rafting in Buena Vista or reschedule we issued a refund.”

River Runners has been offering guided whitewater rafting trips on the Arkansas River in Colorado since 1972. Choose from half day, full day and overnight rafting trips on beginner, intermediate and advanced whitewater. Book online or call 800-723-8987.

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