Clear Creek, Near Denver, is Perfect for Tubing This Summer (2022)

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Spend an afternoon floating away in Golden


Brittany Anas

Brittany is an award-winning journalist based in Denver where she has lived and worked for more than a decade.

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Updated on 06/26/19

(Video) Best Tubing near Denver!

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Michelai Graham

Fact checked byMichelai Graham

Michigan State University

American University

Michelai Graham is a technology and business reporter who has written for The Urban Institute and Scoop News. She reports for AfroTech, Lifewire, and The Plug.

(Video) Top 10 things to do in Golden Colorado. Clear creek golden Colorado. Free tubing, kayaking and more.


(Video) Tubing clear creek in Golden Colorado is a Super Fun Thing to do this Summer.

Colorado’s Rocky Mountains are certainly the state’s biggest attraction. The gorgeous peaks to the west of Denver are certainly awe-inducing. But, Colorado also has some great rivers and the ice-cold run-off from the mountains’ snowfall provides an opportunity to cool down in the summer. This is especially welcome when temps are consistently in the 90s.

You can enjoy a dip close to Denver with stunning scenery and float away to your heart's content on a fairly smooth river. One of the best places to do this is Golden’s Clear Creek, which offers some great tubing.

Cozied up to the base of the Rocky Mountains, Golden is less than 30 minutes from Denver. There's enough to do in Golden that you can return after a day on the river and take advantage of the city’s downtown area's apres-tubing eateries. Golden itself is a go-to place for outdoor enthusiasts, whether you're a daring stand-up paddle boarder who wants to trade calm reservoir waters for some rapids or you're a mountain biker looking for some grueling ascents.

Upriver from Golden, you can go whitewater rafting, with floats suitable for beginners to those who are moreadvanced and can handle whitewater rapids. On some of those more adventurous trips, river rafting companies screen your athletic ability and paddling skills before you can take the trip because the rapids are just that intense.

The lower stretch of Clear Creek that winds through Golden and is shaded by beautiful treesis perfect for a one-day river tubing getaway from Denver. You can stay a while to enjoy a picnic in a nearby park or explore this historic mining town (which is also home to Coors Brewing Company and the Colorado School of Mines, an engineering university).

Tubing Basics

  1. This isn’t exactly a float in the lazy river.You’ll encounter some fast-moving water as you float along. Those mini-white water rapids look like unassumingripples in a brook from the walking path but they feel much more powerful when you come face-to-face with them in an inner tube; you can get churned out of your tube and might need to do a little swimming down the creek.
  2. Wear water shoes.The Clear Creek River has gobbled up plenty of flip-flops. Wear shoes that secure to your feet so they don’t get swiped away by its characteristic, swirling rapids. Your feet will thank you. When you’re entering and exiting the river, the rocks can be brutal, especially if your feet are sensitive. Plus, you’ll be doing a lot of walking on the concrete between your points of entry and exit, so having shoes makes for a much more comfortable experience.
  3. Lift your bum:When you’re nearing rocks or rapids, do a little butt lift do a little butt lift so you don’t wake up bruised the next day. Try to avoid the shallow areas where you can see the rocks, as well. If you get stuck in a slow spot, fellow tubers will give you a friendly budge.
  4. Get the right tube:One of those black innertubes from a gas station will do just fine, but the bigger and sturdier tubes with enclosed bottoms will make for a much more joyful ride. They’re easier to steer and the extra stability makes it less likely you’ll topple into the river.
  5. Check out how fast the river is running:The United States Geological Survey (or USGS) monitors the river flow and you can check out daily water flow conditions. When the river is running 40 cfs (cubic feet per second) to 100 cfs, you can expect a mellow to moderate tubing experience. Between 100 and 500 cfs, you’ve got a much swifter ride. And, it’s best to leave the river to the kayakers and canoers when the river gets between 500 and 1,000 cfs. Bans typically go in place if the river is above 1,000 cfs.
  6. Know when to go:With fresh snowmelt in May and June, the river is pretty frigid. By July, the creek warms up some and prime tubing time is in August and September. However, with some balmy days in October, tubing Clear Creek can be a unique way to enjoy the changing leaves.

Planning an Epic Day of Tubing

Fuel up with a good brunch:Make your first stop the Bridgewater Grill, at 800 11th St. in Golden which is inside the Golden Hotel, and request to sit on the patio where you’ll get a scenic view ofClear Creek. Fuel yourself with a Colorado omelet, decadently stuffed with chorizo and green chilis, or the steel cut oatmeal topped with fresh berries and cream. They also serve Bloody Mary's (and Bloody Maria's, made with tequila) that are garnished so well, you could almost turn them into a meal.

Buy a tube:If you’re a local, invest in a tube to call your own and that will take you onfuture rafting trips.As a bonus, they're great for sledding down snow-kissed hills come winter.Golden Goods, 1201 Washington Ave. in Golden, is near the river and sells some high-quality tubes for under $40. Store employees will even pump up the tube for you so that you can use it right away.

Rent a tube:Just visiting? You can rent a tube nearby at Golden River Sports, 806 Washington Ave. in Golden and play all day in the river with the locals.Tube rentals range from $20 to $50 a day, depending on the size and type of tube. You can find more information about the rentals at the Golden River Sports’ Facebook page.

(Video) Clear Creek Off Limits To Tubing, Swimming But Experienced Kayakers Allowed

Launch your tube:Golden’s Clear Creek River is a stand-out for water enthusiasts because the city built a special Whitewater Park, 800 feet in length, constructed with boulders and divided into sections that feature a series of drops and pools. Tubers will come across shallow surf waves, fast eddies, drops, and pools. The course is free and is unsupervised. To access the course, you can park at Lions Park (a prime spot for a picnic, too). There’s also free parking further downstream at Vanover Park if you want to continue on your tubing journey.A walkable path runs parallel to the Clear Creek River, with lots of drop-in points. It's recommended that you park another car near where you plan to get out so that you can shuttle yourself back to the starting point.

Get a sweet treat:Like a reward at the finish line, Golden’s main drag has plenty of places where you can grab an ice cream cone. Check outGolden Sweets at 1299 Washington Avenue in Golden. The ice cream shop and candy store also have a soda fountain. The Pretzel Fluffer Nutter will satiate both your sweet tooth and salty snack cravings; the peaches and cream shake is a summer-time favorite.

Clear Creek, Near Denver, is Perfect for Tubing This Summer (1)

Continue to Play in Golden

Picnic or relax in the parks: Just north of Clear Creek, Lions Park is a local gem, complete with a horseshoe pit, sand volleyball court, and a newly remodeled playground for kids. Down the creek, you can relax at Vanover Park with the sound of the creek in thebackground providing the perfect soundtrack for a relaxing afternoon. The east side of the park features a climbing structure and nature play elements for kids to monkey around on.

Rent a bike:Continue your adventure on two wheels by renting a bike from Golden'sBike Library, located at 1010 10th St. The bikes are free if you ride for less than two hours. Otherwise, it's a $10 a day rental fee. Unlike typical bike shares, the bike library has a variety of bikes available for rent, including road bikes, mountain bikes, children bikes and light-weight geared bikes that are good for traversing Golden's hills.

Have dinner at Abejas: Enjoy the season's best ingredients at Abejas, located at 807 13th St. in Golden. The restaurant's focus is seasonal meals prepared with local ingredients, which makes for an ever-changing menu. Dinner is served from 5 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. The local fish dish is a must-have on the summer menu.

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(Video) Fly Fishing Clear Creek near Golden, Colorado


Clear Creek, Near Denver, is Perfect for Tubing This Summer? ›

This creek cuts right through town and is a lot of fun to swim, kayak or tube. Nice paved path along the side is good for walking along the water and back upstream to drop in again. Water is rather chilly so go when the air temperature is warm.

How long does Clear Creek take to tube? ›

Tubing Clear Creek is about a 10 minute ride, depending on how far you hike. Coors Brewer lies at the base of the mountain in the background. Higher up the Clear Creek. The further you hike, the longer the ride.

Can you go tubing in Denver? ›

You can enjoy a dip close to Denver with stunning scenery and float away to your heart's content on a fairly smooth river. One of the best places to do this is Golden's Clear Creek, which offers some great tubing.

When can you go tubing in Golden? ›

The City of Golden is now requiring life jackets for all tubers. Our tubes are for use within Golden City limits on the Clear Creek where it is safe for tubing during the summer season when we are open. Do not put-in past Gateway Trailhead/Route 6 bridge.
Tube Rental Pricing
$22 Sat. & Sun.$44 Sat. & Sun.
3 more rows

Can you tube down Clear Creek? ›

Enjoying Watersports Safely on Clear Creek

The City of Golden wants you to enjoy your visit and recreate safely on Clear Creek! Please understand that tubing, kayaking and swimming in the Creek can be dangerous, and you do so at your own risk. The water is extremely cold and runs faster than many people anticipate.

Can you swim in Clear Creek Colorado? ›

Red Flag: High Flow – Clear Creek is closed for swimming and tubing. Only experienced kayakers and other vessels should be on the creek. Users should wear protective gear and be able to rescue themselves in the water. High caution should be used in the water.

How much does it cost to go tubing in Colorado? ›

Regular Season tickets – $28 an hour. Holiday Season tickets – $34 an hour. Additional Hour Regular Season – $14 an hour.

Can you go tubing in the Colorado River? ›

Tubing down one of Colorado's many scenic rivers is a great way to spend a hot, sunny day. Enjoy an adrenaline-pumping ride down some whitewater or take it easy with a float down a gentle, lazy river.

How do you tube a Boulder Creek? ›

Where to Tube Boulder Creek. Put in at Eben G. Fine Park (map it) and let the creek carry you as far as 55th Street. Just don't expect a super-gentle float — this ride includes chutes and rapids!

Can you float the river in Breckenridge? ›

The “Upper C” float trips by Breckenridge Whitewater Rafting. This section of the Colorado River features “junior-starter” whitewater rapids that will thrill the kids with spectacular mini-gorges that dazzle sightseers of any age.

How long does it take to tube the Yampa? ›

How long does it take to float down the Yampa? From Backdoor Sports or Bucking Rainbow's Tube Shack, the ride is approximately 1 hour long and 2 miles in length to the James Brown Bridge exit point. From Rotary or Fetcher Parks to Dr. Rich Weiss Park the ride is approximately 1 hour and 1 mile in length.

How high is Clear Creek? ›

5,092 ft

Where is Clear Creek Colorado? ›

Clear Creek – near Georgetown-Golden-Denver. Clear Creek is probably most known as the river that runs parallel for a portion of I-70 along the front range. It's also extremely popular as the location for the whitewater park located in Golden, Colorado.

Where can I swim in Golden Colorado? ›

The Best 10 Beaches in Golden, Colorado
  • Lions Park. 1.5 mi. Playgrounds, Parks. ...
  • Bear Creek Lake Park Marina. 7.2 mi. Parks. ...
  • Rocky Mountain Beach. 10.5 mi. Swimming Pools, Beaches. ...
  • Bow Mar Beach. 12.0 mi. Beaches. ...
  • Rocky Mountain Paddleboard - Boulder. 23.3 mi. ...
  • Golden River Sports. 1.5 mi. ...
  • Liquid Descent. 19.1 mi. ...
  • Sloan's Lake Park. 8.1 mi.

What county is Clear Creek Canyon in? ›

Clear Creek Canyon Park | Jefferson County, CO.

Where can I swim in Boulder creek? ›

Boulder Creek

The best pools are found east of the Settler's Park area. Walk along the Boulder Creek path until you find a good spot to soak your bones. Most months the shallow creek runs swiftly enough to carry tubers and kayakers, though most of the wading pools are spacious enough to have plenty of elbow room.

Can you fish Golden reservoir? ›

Golden Reservoir is near Golden. The most popular species caught here is Largemouth bass. 2 catches are logged on Fishbrain. Please use your best judgement when determining where you can fish, and make sure you follow local regulations.

Is the Colorado River in Utah? ›

In the Upper Basin, the Colorado River enters Utah west of Grand Junction, Colorado, but few diversions in Utah are made directly from the river in this area. The largest use of Colorado River water is from the Duchesne River system in the Uintah Basin.

Whats the altitude in Denver? ›

Denver is situated at a high altitude of 5,280 feet (one mile high) above sea level. Visitors from lower elevations often underestimate the effects of altitude on their health and physical abilities. With high altitude living, the body gradually acclimates to the lower air pressure and decreased oxygen.

What county is Denver in Colorado? ›

Like Broomfield, Colorado, Denver has a consolidated city and county government. The city of Denver, the 22nd-most populous U.S. city, serves as the state's capital.

What are the cities in Colorado? ›


Where is Denver Country? ›

Denver, city and county, capital of Colorado, U.S., at the western edge of the Great Plains, just east of the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains.


1. 2 tubers died after using Clear Creek for water recreation
(CBS Colorado)
2. Tubing Clear Creek in Golden Colorado
(Two Traveling Teachers)
3. Tubing restrictions to remain in place on Clear Creek until flow drops steadily below 800 cfs
(Denver7 – The Denver Channel)
4. Clear Creek Canyon *Day Hikes From Denver* // Explore Colorado
5. Summer Afternoon on Clear Creek Golden Colorado
(Barb Warden)
6. Tubing Banned On Clear Creek
(CBS Colorado)

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