Arkansas River Rafting
In Buena Vista & Salida, Colorado
Welcome to the Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area! This is one of the nation’s most popular locations for whitewater rafting and kayaking. It’s also home to the most commercially rafted river in the United States, the Arkansas River!
Tumbling 4,650’ in 152 miles, boaters can find anything from roaring Class IV and V rapids, to milder Class II and III sections, which are ideal for beginner and family trips. AHRA also offers a world class trout fishery and abundant opportunities for camping, picnicking, hiking, wildlife watching, horseback riding, mountain biking, OHV travel and sightseeing within the Upper Arkansas River Valley.
Check out the Arkansas River Water Report below to see current water flows.
Visitor Photos Rafting Buena Vista & Salida, Colorado
102 Miles Of Whitewater On The Arkansas River
The Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area is a landmark cooperative effort between Colorado Parks & Wildlife
(CPW), the US Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the US Forest Service (USFS). Through this partnership, the agencies provide visitors with outstanding recreation opportunities and care for the nationally significant natural resources of the Upper Arkansas River Valley.
Many commercial boating companies operate within the recreation area and offer visitors the chance to experience the “wet side” of the river with experienced guides. AHRA encourages you to explore the Arkansas River first hand, be it a
wet and wild ride through Class III+ rapids, a relaxing float trip through calm water, spending time enjoying one of the whitewater parks located in Buena Vista, Salida or Canon City, or a walk and wade or float fishing trip in world-class trout waters.
The Arkansas can present tremendous challenges to both novice and experienced boaters. Be certain to get specific information about the section of river you are interested in. Consult others who have boated there, know your abilities – and carry and use safety equipment. All whitewater boats (canoes, kayaks and rafts) must have the owner’s name and current address written legibly and clearly visible somewhere on the craft. In addition, it is also recommended that a telephone number be clearly displayed on the boat.
Rafting Trips On The Arkansas River
Scenic Float Class II
Trips for kids 3 & Up
Try a family float trip on the Arkansas River. These scenic Class II rapids are great for families with children at least 3 years old, depending on water flows.
Family Friendly Class III-IV
Must Do Trips for kids 6 & Up
Browns Canyon National Monument
A rafting trip through Browns Canyon National Monument is the most popular whitewater rafting trip in Colorado. Offering amazing scenic views and abundant wildlife, Browns Canyon rafting trips are known for large, exciting rapids followed by calm pools of water, creating an adventure suitable for all levels of experience. Located between Buena Vista and Salida, Colorado. Suggested for age 6 and above, depending on water flows.
Adventurous Class IV – V
Must Do Trips for kids 14 & Up
Raft the Numbers if you can! The Numbers are the most continuous rapids on the Arkansas River. Too many rapids to name so they just got numbers. Suggested for age 14 and above with strong swimming abilities, depending on water flows.
Class IV – V
Raft & Camp With The Family
2-3 Day Overnight Adventures
Raft and camp under the stars, a unique and fun way to see world-class whitewater and camp along the beautiful Arkansas River without the hassle of packing, cooking, and cleaning. With an overnight whitewater rafting trip your professional river guide will take care of all the work; you just bring your sense of adventure!
82% Of Chaffee County Is Public Land
Whitewater Rafting Companies
Buena Vista & Salida, Colorado
CHAFFEE COUNTY VISITORS BUREAU