GOLDEN, Colo. (KDVR) — Afternoon storms dropped rain over parts of the foothills near Jefferson County on Wednesday, causing the city of Golden and the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office to close portions of Clear Creek.
Spring snow runoff is higher than last year, water levels are high and the current is faster. FOX31 found high water and muddy areas near Golden.
Barry, an experienced kayaker described the water on Wednesday as “definitely dangerous.”
A red flag is posted near the creek, warning that swimming and tubing are prohibited. Kayaks, whitewater canoes and multi-chambered, professionally guided rafts are allowed on the water, but extreme caution is advised.
“I think the biggest thing is just knowing your skill level,” Barry said.
Kayakers and paddleboarders are required to wear a Coast Guard-approved paddling life jacket and a proper helmet.
“Just kind of take it slow,” one kayaker said.
A double red flag means no one is allowed on the creek, including experienced kayakers and paddleboarders.
Stay in the mud — it’s good for the trail
Trails will remain muddy for several days. Jefferson County encourages hikers to consider the repair process when making their way through the terrain.
“Try to go through the mud so you don’t widen the trail,” said Chris, who regularly hikes along the creek.
Jefferson County spokesperson Matt Robbins told FOX31 the trails are constructed to prevent erosion.
First responders warn tourists and residents who spend time along the creek that the water can be deceiving. The surface can look manageable, but the current underneath can be so strong that it will be impossible to stand up, which is especially dangerous for children and animals.
The water is also churning sharp debris, and jagged rocks sit on the creek’s floor.
Animals should be leashed and not allowed to swim in the creek for their own safety.
Closures are initiated by the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office in conjunction with the Golden Police Department.
Temporary restrictions apply to Clear Creek in unincorporated Jefferson County and portions of Clear Creek within the City of Golden, including Vanover Park.
Jefferson County reports that Clear Creek is a Type IV water area which increases public risk due to water temperature, blasted rock, undercut rocks, potential strainers, and other elements.