Published: June 13, 2024

When the weather heats up, students and others often flock to Boulder Creek, tubes in hand. With water levels in the Boulder area rising, tubing restrictions have been ordered on . Similar restrictions were enacted on nearby last week.

The Boulder County Sheriff’s Office enacts tubing bans on Boulder Creek when water flows are measured at or above the safety threshold for activities like tubing, paddleboarding and floating. Follow them on to see the latest restrictions and safety notices.

“Our policy is to enact tubing restrictions for watercraft such as single-chamber rafts, single-chamber belly boats and inner tubes on Boulder Creek when we have a sustained cubic-feet-per-second level of 700 or above,” said Carrie Haverfield, spokeswoman for the Boulder County Sheriff’s Office.

Levels fluctuate, so those wishing to tube on Boulder Creek in the coming days and weeks are advised to to get current streamgage information.

“We look for sustained numbers, as typically you see fluctuations after rainstorms or in the overnight hours during spring runoff as the CFS numbers increase and decrease. We are communicating with the city of Boulder, constantly monitoring the water levels and will enact restrictions if we meet our preestablished threshold,” Haverfield added.

Officials advise that if even you’re recreating on a creek not impacted by restrictions or closure, or using exempted devices such as kayaks, it’s wise to be aware that conditions may still not be safe for your skill level.

Officials at the Boulder County Sheriff’s Office recommend taking the following safety measures when tubing:

  • Recreate with other people and/or let other people know where you are going and when you are expected back.
  • Use proper personal safety equipment during recreational activities in and around the water. Safety equipment can include:
    • A personal flotation device or life jacket. Make sure it is the correct size (snug/fits like a glove, yet allows freedom of movement) and with a sufficient rating for the type of activity.
    • A drysuit or wetsuit. When water temperatures are low, hypothermia can quickly set in.
    • A helmet, when taking part in water sports activities in shallow water or areas where underwater conditions are unknown.

If you are taking personal water sport equipment such as tubes or kayaks into a creek, officials recommend writing your name and contact information on the equipment in the event you lose it in the water. That way, officials can contact you to ensure you safely exited the water.

While the Boulder County Sheriff’s Office has the final authority to enact tubing or other use bans, Boulder Fire-Rescue posts signage along the creek and shares safety tips encouraging everyone to stay aware of current water conditions and hazards, and to identify exit points before entering the water.

Boulder Fire-Rescue safety tips

  • Do not play or walk near banks, as you can easily slip in.
  • Keep your pets on a leash, especially near the water.
  • If using an inflatable watercraft, seek a multi-chambered vessel.
  • Recreate in groups of two or more.