Updated: March 24, 2006
Rafting the Arkansas River in Colorado
The Arkansas River is located in Central Colorado in the heart of the Rocky Mountains. The Arkansas River drops a whopping 5,000 ft in the first 125 miles as it courses through Granite Gorge, The Numbers, Narrows/Frog Rock, Browns Canyon, The Royal Gorge, and the whitewater parks of Buena Vista and Salida. From its source below Mount Elbert (14,431 ft), the highest peak in Colorado, the Arkansas River runs through the quaint towns of Leadville, Buena Vista, and Salida Colorado and creates an epic playground for whitewater rafting and kayaking. The Arkansas River stretches across America for 1460 miles from the Continental Divide near Leadville, Colorado to the mouth of the Mississippi River at the Mississippi-Arkansas state line. That makes the Arkansas River the 6th longest river in the United States.
Granite Gorge - Class IV & V, 5.5 miles long
The Numbers - Class IV, 5.5 miles long
Browns Canyon - Class III & IV, 16.2 miles long
The Royal Gorge - Class IV, 10.5 miles long
In addition to the fantastic whitewater rafting, the Arkansas River valley has the highest concentration of fourteen thousand foot peaks in the entire state of Colorado. This beautiful valley boasts over 300 days of sunshine a year, many hot springs resorts, awesome mountain biking, and great backpacking.
The Arkansas River is fed by melting snow and it is usually at the highest levels in early summer. Thus the most exciting trips are usually found in May and June. The warmest weather is in July and August. Consider your preferred time of year when planning your trip, although any summer day is a great time for an Arkansas River Rafting trip.
-by Brad Goettemoeller, AllAboutRivers.com
Acquired Tastes Whitewater Rafting
Arkansas Valley Adventure
Bill Dvorak Kayak and Rafting Expeditions
Buffalo Joe's Whitewater Rafting
Canyon Marine Whitewater Expeditions
ECHO Canyon River Expeditions
Clear Creek Rafting Co.
Lakota River Guides
Raven Adventure Trips, Inc.
Rocky Mountain Adventures, inc.
Vessels for Honor Rafting Co.
Whitewater Adventure Outfitters
Wilderness Aware Rafting
Disclaimer: River descriptions and classifications may change due to natural events that may create new hazards or flows. C-W-R advises that any paddler that uses this site be additionally informed by seeking out local news and updates for changes on this river.
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