GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colo. (CBS4)– The mighty Colorado River roars through Glenwood Canyon, but despite the impressive display of rushing water already happening, the river is just waking up. That is giving some bicyclists mixed reaction.
“As the water increases we were like, ‘Let’s just get this right in today before they close it again,’” cyclist Laura Landre says as she stares out over the rocky white torrent.
The Glenwood Canyon recreation path follows the Colorado River through the steep canyon, at times nearly parallel to the river. That means the river can and does flood the nearby path.
That’s why cyclists and hikers are taking advantage of the recent season opening of the path that is maintained by Colorado Department of Transportation.
The Colorado River serves as the heartbeat for many communities and an economic driver but it is also unpredictable.
“We are expecting already with the snow totals we have in the mountains pretty historic flooding of the canyon,” CDOT communications manager Tracy Trulove said.
CDOT workers are constantly monitoring the river levels and will close the path when the water breaches the concrete deck for safety reasons.
“There’s a good chance we’re going to see more debris in the river with all the avalanche paths that brought debris down. People are going to have to be extra vigilant when they are riding the path, and really paying attention to signs,” Trulove added.
In 2011 and again in 2014, CDOT was forced to make major repairs due to flooding damages to the trail. Once again this season they are bracing for what could be even higher runoff water.