Book Lodging

Floating the San Miguel

Tuesday • July 7, 2015

A Float Down the River

What’s the best activity to do in Telluride on a hot summer afternoon? Float the San Miguel River! You will certainly get cooled off on this ride gliding over water that just hours before was still snow and mere moments ago was in a free fall from Bridal Veil and Ingram.

Like the Boy Scouts, Be Prepared

To prepare for this adventure you are going to need a few things; a swim suit, water shoes and a tube. The swim suit you have to supply yourself. Water shoes are not completely necessary, but I found them helpful when I was getting in and out of the river, since I do have sensitive feet, but it’s up to you. Flip flops will work, but be careful! More than one of my friends has experienced the unbalanced walk of shame after exiting the river with only one wheel. And with the river moving so fast at this time of year your chance of recovering lost clothing articles is pretty minimal.

If you own a tube bring it, or purchase one on Main Street at Timberline Ace Hardware. The staff is incredibly accommodating and will even inflate it for you! If the thought of lugging home another item in your suitcase seems insufferable then you can opt to rent one from Paragon/Bootdoctors near the Gondola. I went on a not particularly busy day and was able to walk right in and rent one, alternatively you can reserve one here.

*Keep in mind if you are under 18, you need an adult to sign off but then you are free to go.

Entering the River

There are many places along the river you can begin your adventure, but the easiest area I’ve found to enter is approximately 100 yards east of the park along the river trail. There is an opening between the trail and the river where it is pretty shallow and the flow is not too fast. Use caution, get situated on your floaty and you’re off!

Enjoying the Ride

Depending on the season, it can be fast and exhilarating or slow and relaxing. I have experienced both and can’t decide which one is my favorite. When the water is high you are unable to hold back a scream. You are moving fast and have to keep your eyes open so you don’t end up tangled in a bush! In late July and early August when the river is calmer, you can pay less attention and kick back. There are some low spots when you have to hold yourself up so your bum doesn’t hit bottom, but it certianly does not detract from the fun.

Exit Strategy 

You can make your journey as long or as short as you want. There are many open areas along the river trail that you can hop out without leaving town. I have witnessed a couple of crazy maniacs who insist on floating as far as the Conoco! I personally have not made it that far for the sake of keeping some feeling in my back end, but if you are a brave soul, go for it.

Give Your Wallet a Break

The tube rental is $15 dollars, but everything else is free. And did I already mention this – it is fun. I mean a hilariously, awesomely, giggle-inducing kind of fun. Grab some friends and get floating!