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Colorado National Parks
Browns Canyon National Monument


Browns Canyon National Monument

Browns Canyon along the Arkansas River is known around the nation for its excellent rafting. With mountains, canyons, and gulches, there is no wonder why it has been designated as a National Monument.

Rock formations in Browns Canyon Colorado, Photo by Wilderness Aware Rafting
Breathtaking Views are Hidden throughout Browns Canyon While Hiking or Rafting
Unique rock formations inside Browns Canyon National Monument, Colorado, Photo by Wilderness Aware Rafting
Unique Rock Formations Surround Arkansas River Through the Browns Canyon Area


It has long been admired for its wildlife, whitewater rafting, hunting, fishing, and backcountry solitude. In the 1990s, citizens in Chaffee County worked with lawmakers to help keep this area protected. It wasn't until February 2015 that the President of the United States (Barack Obama) designated 21,586 acres between Buena Vista and Salida as Browns Canyon National Monument. Even though it is a protected area, visitors are still allowed to use it for hunting, fishing, and livestock grazing.

A vacationer's favorite activity in this area is most likely whitewater rafting or kayaking. This section of the Arkansas River is great for rafters of all ages with its class II-III+ rapids and because it is tamer than the rest of the river. There are many rafting companies in the area for you to experience a guided trip. Along the more relaxed sections of the river, you'll be able to look up and view the scenic canyon walls high above you, and if you're lucky maybe a Bighorn Sheep!

Fishing, along with rafting, is a large draw to this area. World Class and Gold Medal Fishing makes this the river to cast your line in. The granite walls of the canyon provide for boulders scattered throughout the water creating calm pools and eddies - an angler's paradise.

Other fun things to do in this area include mountain biking, horseback riding, hiking, wildlife watching, stargazing, and photography. Camping is scattered throughout Pike National Forest but no campsites are developed and you can only access the sites by hiking in, mountain biking, or horseback. If you're looking for commercial campgrounds, check out Buena Vista and Salida. Both have campgrounds more suitable for those who prefer the less rugged experience. There are also some archaeological sites with stone artifacts that attribute to Paleo-Indian and early Archaic periods.

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Places to Stay & Fun Things to Do

Acquired Tastes Rafting - Since 1986 Web page link icon Photos on page icon
We provide a smaller, more personal rafting experience with 2 MORE RAPIDS! Acquired Tastes Rafting has 1/2-day, full-day, 2-day adventures. Takeout and camp on our private property along the River.
Browns Canyon Aerial Adventure Park Web page link icon Photos on page icon
An aerial park experience above Browns Canyon near Buena Vista. 4 Courses, 66 elements, Big Drop Swing, Leap of Faith, Vertical Limit Challenge. Operated by Noah's Ark an adventure leader in Colorado.
Chalk Creek Campground, Cottages and RV Park Web page link icon Photos on page icon
Near Buena Vista, Salida, fishing, rafting, hiking, hot springs pools, off-roading. Cottages have kitchen and bathroom. Some campground sites along Chalk Creek. Large full hookups RV sites! FREE WiFi!!
Colorado Adventures - Wilderness Aware Web page link icon Photos on page icon Special offers and discounts link icon
BE AWARE: Family Outdoor Fun! Colorado Adventures was twice named Colorado Company of the Year! Daily trips on 5 rivers into the Wilderness. Multi-day raft excursions include Inn-to-Inn all inclusive stays.
Noah's Ark Colorado Rafting Web page link icon Photos on page icon Special offers and discounts link icon
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.

More Activities & Information

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

Salida, Colorado includes: Howard, Monarch, Poncha Springs

National Parks and Monuments in Colorado

Click to return to main Colorado National Park Map

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