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Colorado Whitewater Rafting & Kayaking
Arkansas River Rafting & Kayaking


The Arkansas is open for rafting from May though September. The 100-mile stretch of water is used by more than 400,000 rafters, kayakers, fishermen, campers and wildlife viewers each year. The Arkansas River has an average gradient of 38 feet per mile.

The Arkansas River is divided in three different sections. The upper section, the Bighorn, flows by the Cotopaxi cliffs. As you cruise down the river, you will experience geological formations and views of the Sangre de Cristo mountain range. It is also common to see bighorn sheep as you raft down the river. These rapids are classified as III-IV rapids.

Continuing down the river is the Royal Gorge section of the river. This section of the river features giant waves, steep technical drops and almost continuous whitewater through the narrow canyon of the Royal Gorge. As you adventure though some of the most challenging whitewater you'll find, you may not even notice the Royal Gorge Bridge 1053' above the river. To traverse this section, you must be in good physical shape to navigate the class IV-V rapids.

Brown's canyon is the last section of the Arkansas River, which runs near the Buena Vista Area. This section of the river is tamer than the other sections and is more suitable for all ages with class III-III+ rapids.

The International Rapid Rating Scale:

  • Class I: Easy. Fast moving water with riffles, small waves.
  • Class II: Novice. Straightforward rapids, wide, clear channels.
  • Class III: Intermediate. Rapids, moderate, irregular waves.
  • Class IV: Advanced. Intense, powerful rapids, precise boat handling.
  • Class V: Expert. Long, obstructed, violent rapids.

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Places to Stay & Fun Things to Do

4 Seasons RV Resort email this Colorado cabin Photos available on Colorado vacation page Link to special offers and discounts icon
In the Heart of the Rockies, 2 miles E of Salida. Full RV hookups on level, grassy sites by the Arkansas River. 3 mountain resort cabins. Open 4 seasons! $AVE MONEY, LONGER STAY! Multi-night discounts.
Adventure Company, The link to Colorado vacation
Adventure Packages: Full moon raft trips, zipline tours, kayak instruction, fishing expeditions, mountain biking. A Whitewater Company Rafting on 4 rivers, serving vacationers from Buena Vista to Breckenridge.
Adventure Outfitters link to Colorado vacation Photos available on Colorado vacation page
Rafting! Family Adventure to Expert Runs. 1/2-day and Full Day trips in Bighorn Sheep Canyon and the Royal Gorge. Great Guides + Great Prices = Great Value! It's that simple! Outfitters Committed To Safety!
Agate Dog Inc dba Geo Tours Whitewater Raft Trips link to Colorado vacation Photos available on Colorado vacation page
Based in Metro Area in Morrison! Geo Tours is WHITEWATER RAFTING. Experienced Staff, owners since 1981. Clear Creek mini-trips; closest to Denver, perfect family outing. Gold Medal waters fishing trips.
Arkansas River KOA & Loma Linda Motel email this Colorado cabin Photos available on Colorado vacation page
2000 foot along beautiful Arkansas River with great fly fishing. WI-FI! KOA Campground and Loma Linda motel rooms and cabins with kitchenettes. Riverside group pavilion. Near ATV tours, trails. Family rates.
Arkansas River Tours email this Colorado cabin link to Colorado vacation Photos available on Colorado vacation page
Family reunions are our specialty! Since 1973, ART offers exceptional whitewater rafting trips on the Arkansas River; in Cotopaxi, between Canon City and Salida. Wilderness Tours in Gunnison Gorge.
Chalk Creek Campground, Cabins & RV Park link to Colorado vacation Photos available on Colorado vacation page
Near Buena Vista, Salida, fishing, rafting, off-roading, hiking, hot springs pools. Log Cabins have kitchen and bathroom. Some campground sites along Chalk Creek. Large full hookups RV sites! FREE WI-FI!!
City of Salida Hot Springs Aquatic Center link to Colorado vacation
Colorado's largest indoor hot springs aquatic center is open year-round in Salida. Relax in natural, hot, mineral water. Public family swimming and soaking pools. Private European style natural hot baths.
Clear Creek Rafting Co. email this Colorado cabin link to Colorado vacation Photos available on Colorado vacation page
Whitewater trips on TWO GREAT RIVERS: The Arkansas River and Clear Creek. TWO CONVENIENT LOCATIONS: Royal Gorge and Idaho Springs! 2 hours to multi-day rafting tours. Something for everyone!
Colorado Adventure Center link to Colorado vacation Photos available on Colorado vacation page
A full service outdoor center -- rafting, biking, zip-lines: Rock Gardens Rafting, Glenwood Bike Tours, Glenwood Canyon Zipline Adventures, Highside Adventure Tours, Colorado Canopy Adventures.
Colorado Adventures - Wilderness Aware Rafting link to Colorado vacation Photos available on Colorado vacation page Link to special offers and discounts icon
BE AWARE: Family Outdoor Fun! Twice Named Colorado's: Company of the Year! Rafting adventures with Inn-to-Inn stays for multi-day excursions. Daily raft trips on 5 Colorado rivers through the wilderness.
MoonShadow Ranch: Family Vacation Home, Fishing, ATVing link to Colorado vacation New Colorado vacation business
Mild Weather Year Round -- MoonShadow is a Family Vacation Home is a 4-bedroom Ranch between Salida and Canon City in the Royal Gorge Region. In summer and winter gear up for ATVing and fishing.
Noah's Ark Whitewater Rafting and Adventure Co. "Miles from Ordinary" link to Colorado vacation Photos available on Colorado vacation page New Colorado vacation business
The family whitewater rafting specialists since 1983! Noah's Ark is dedicated to excellence, adventure and fun. Half-day, full-day, overnight trips on the Arkansas River. Group discounts with reservations.
Raft Masters, Inc link to Colorado vacation Photos available on Colorado vacation page
Rafting on Two Rivers: The incredible Arkansas River, 45 miles from Colorado Springs in Canon City; and, Clear Creek, 30 miles from Denver in Idaho Springs. Raft Masters FREE wetsuit and river-boot use.
Rocky Mountain Outdoor Center link to Colorado vacation Photos available on Colorado vacation page
Between Salida and Buena Vista the Outdoor Center is in the Heart of Colorado's Rocky Mountains. Fun, exciting raft trips for all ages and abilities, all with Free WETSUIT Use! DISCOUNTS for Groups of 10+.
Royal Gorge Rafting, Zip Line Tours, Vacation Rentals, White Water Bar & Grill link to Colorado vacation Photos available on Colorado vacation page
Colorado's #1 Royal Gorge Outfitter and Zip Line Tours. Royal Gorge Rafting, Zip Line Tours, White Water Bar and Grill - One Location ~ 100% FUN! Between Salida and Canon City on the Arkansas River.

More Activities & Information

Buena Vista Area, Colorado includes: Johnson Village, Nathrop, St. Elmo

Royal Gorge Area, Colorado includes: Cañon City, Coaldale, Cotopaxi, Florence, Guffey, Penrose, Texas Creek

Salida, Colorado includes: Howard, Monarch, Poncha Springs

Rafting & Kayaking in Colorado

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