Tube soon: Yampa River levels dropping daily

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— It's tubing season in Steamboat Springs, but if the warm and dry weather persists, it could be over soon.

On Thursday, the Yampa River was flowing slightly faster than 350 cubic feet per second, which is well below the median flow of 708 cfs.

Warmer water temperatures and slower streamflows mean, for the most part, that kayakers and rafters have yielded to anglers and tubers.

Although the whitewater of May has given way to gentler rapids, safety always is a concern.

For now, tubing the Yampa River is safe for children ages 10 and older, but the age requirement drops as the water level does. The shallower the water, the safer tubing is for a young child, said Mike Lenard of Backdoor Sports.

Backdoor Sports rents tubes from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily, and the put-in point for customers is outside the rear of the store. Ajavascript:body_guess_subhead() tubing trip originating from Backdoor Sports is about 45 minutes, but the length of the trip will increase as the river level drops.

It costs $15 to tube at Backdoor Sports. The cost includes a tube, a life vest and transportation from the end of the ride back to the shop. River shoes can be rented for an additional $2.

A new walk-up site, 655 Yampa Tubes, is opening this weekend. It is operated through Backdoor Sports, so the same rates and rules apply.

The downtown tubing ride is from near Ninth Street to the James Brown Soul Center of the Universe Bridge on the west end of Steamboat. There, tubers can exit the river to meet a van that transports them back to town. The exit spot is for commercial tubing companies only.

One Stop Ski Shop, on Eleventh Street between Yampa Street and Lincoln Avenue, is open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily. The cost is $15 to rent a tube, which includes a life vest. Transportation from the end of the tube trip also is provided.

Bucking Rainbow Outfitters, on Yampa Street between Seventh and Eighth streets, is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily. The cost to rent a tube is $15, which includes a life vest and transportation. Bucking Rainbow is for tubers 12 and older only, depending on river flow.

Commercial and private tubers are reminded to be respectful of the Yampa and its other users as well as the residents who live along the Yampa.

Questions about tubing can be directed to area companies.

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