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Current Theme: Watershed
Boulder Creek Information

Boulder CREEK 
Flood Data
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Watershed Address: 
Boulder Creek, St. Vrain, South Platte, Platte, Missouri, Mississippi, Gulf of Mexico  

Approximate length: 47 Miles 


Gallery: Historic Photos of Boulder Canyon and Near Nederland from Denver Public Library Collection

Description: The main "trunk" of the dentritic ("tree-like") system that forms the Boulder Creek Watershed, main or Middle Boulder Creek begins along the Continental Divide near Arapahoe Pass and Diamond and Jasper Lakes. Passing through the towns of Eldora and Nederland, Middle Boulder was dammed in 1906 by the Public Service Company of Colorado, storing water in Barker Reservoir for hydroelectric generation further downstream. The city of Boulder now has about 40% of its drinking water supply coming from Barker Reservoir.

In Boulder Canyon, North Boulder Creek, originating near Niwot Ridge and the Green and Silver Lakes and passing through Dream Canyon near the community of Sugarloaf, joins Boulder Creek just below Boulder Falls.

Near the tunnel in Boulder Canyon is the Public Service Company power plant which is still operated in the winter months to help meet peak demand. (The power generation causes a surge of up to several hundred cubic feet per second of water in the evening hours when electricity is being generated.) Check out the recent flow of at the Orodell gauge station below the hydro plant. Between October and March the flow can vary from usually around 10 cubic feet per second (cfs) to close to 200 csf.

As Boulder Creek leaves the mouth of the canyon it forms a floodplain which much of downtown Boulder is built in. The Municipal Building, Main Public Library, Boulder High School, Married Student Housing for CU Students and the Naropa University all are located in the floodplain, which is considered one of the greatest potential natural hazards in the western United States.

The last major flood down Boulder Creek was in May of 1894 when nearly 60 hours of continuous rain triggered a 100 year flood event. Gallery images of 1894 Flood.

Also see History of Flash Floods in BASIN History.

Nearby Neighborhoods (upstream to downstream) 

  • Eldora
  • Nederland
  • Caribou
  • Boulder Canyon
  • Sugarloaf
  • Four Mile Canyon (including Salina, Gold Hill)
  • Arapahoe/Marine Street
  • Downtown Boulder
  • Goss/Grove
  • Crossroads
  • East Pearl Street
  • Valmont


  • Flatirons Elementary
  • Mapleton Elementary
  • September School
  • Casey Middle School
  • Boulder High School
  • Naropa University
  • Bear Creek Elementary

Flash Flood Data  
 Source: FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Association) June 2, 1995 Flood Insurance Study-- subject to update. Locations given from downstream to upstream

Flooding Source & Location
    (Cubic Ft.
per Second)
10-year 50-year 100-year 500-year
 Confluence w/ Fourmile Canyon Creek
Valmont Drive
Right Bank Overflow (aprox. 800 ft. upstream of Foothillls Pkwy.)
28th Street
County Road 54


Historic Flow Data from USGS:
Chart your own graphs

Middle Boulder Creek at Nederland
North Boulder Creek at Silver Lake
North Boulder Creek near Nederland
Bummers Gulch near El Vado
Boulder Creek near Orodell
Four Mile Creek at Orodell
Boulder Creek at 75th Street

Boulder Creek at Mouth

It is our intent to build a comprehensive information resource based on the local watershed theme. One way you can help us develop this area of the BASIN WWW site is to take this quick survey. Your input is greatly appreciated.

Do you have a comment or question about this area ? Select here for a more general BASIN feedback form.

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Last Page Update - Tuesday December 27, 2005