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Colorado white water rafting since 1976


Popular Buena Vista white water rafting trips and beyond

Wilderness Aware is the premier Colorado and Buena Vista white water rafting outfitter since 1976. Known for providing thrilling river rafting experiences on five different rivers throughout the state. With 47+ years of expertise in river rafting Colorado and extensive knowledge of the area’s waterways, Wilderness Aware has become a trusted provider of unforgettable rafting trips. Whether you’re a seasoned rafter or a first-time adventurer, Wilderness Aware offers a range of options for Colorado white water rafting. Join us for an experience of a lifetime and discover the beauty and excitement of Colorado and Buena Vista white water rafting.




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overnight trips

Arkansas River – 2, 3 and 5 Day Trips

Half & Full Day Trips

Arkansas River: browns canyon – numbers – royal gorge

Family Trips

Lower Browns Canyon Float



Featured Trips






One of the best times of my life!

Dylnn R.

explore our arkansas river rafting trips


Buena Vista Rafting is made possible thanks to the magnificent Arkansas River which boasts four distinct rafting sections, each offering a unique and thrilling experience. The Browns Canyon rafting section is the most popular among them, strikes the perfect balance of challenge and forgiveness, catering to both experienced rafters and first-timers alike. The Numbers rafting section promises a highly technical and steep adventure, attracting thrill-seekers looking for an action-packed challenge. For a spectacle of nature’s grandeur, the Arkansas River’s Royal Gorge section impresses with its towering canyon walls and big, powerful rapids, making it an unforgettable journey. The Narrows section enchants with its secluded beauty, as non-stop exciting whitewater takes rafters through a mesmerizing landscape of cottonwood trees and the imposing Collegiate Peaks in the distance. Whether you choose Browns Canyon white water rafting or another Arkansas River rafting section, you will find that Buena Vista white water rafting offers its own captivating allure for an unforgettable rafting experience!

browns canyon

challenging yet forgiving

The Browns Canyon Rafting section of the Arkansas River is the most popular whitewater section in the U.S., because it is challenging enough for experienced rafters, yet forgiving enough for first-timers.


technical and steep

The Numbers section of the Arkansas River is steep and rocky, making it very technical and challenging. This section of Arkansas River whitewater is for those looking for an action-packed, highly challenging adventure.

royal gorge

big and powerful

The Royal Gorge is one of the most spectacular stretches of the Arkansas River, known not only for its sheer, steep canyon walls, but also for its big, powerful, technical rapids.


beautiful and secluded

The Narrows offers non-stop exciting whitewater through a beautifully secluded section of the Arkansas River. Large cottonwood trees line the river, where the stunning 14,000 peaks of the Collegiate Peaks dominate the horizon.

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Google Reviews

Chris SheltonChris Shelton
14:41 12 Sep 23
Joe SepulvedaJoe Sepulveda
00:03 12 Sep 23
Loved our guides “Ryan, Gato & Jake” they made this all day event super fun ! Highly recommend ❤️
Shawn LShawn L
21:52 04 Sep 23
Tony was an awesome guide! The whole experience was just fantastic. We’ll definitely be back to do it again some day! Thank you Tony for a great time!
Joe SepulvedaJoe Sepulveda
00:02 04 Sep 23
Alexa NovakAlexa Novak
00:01 04 Sep 23
Had an amazing half-day trip in Browns Canyon. Our guide Gatlin was amazing! Everything was well explained so we knew what to expect, and it was SUPER fun.
23:06 03 Sep 23
Our group had an absolute blast with “Hans”!! Seriously one of the best companies I’ve rafted with!!
Anita BrettAnita Brett
01:48 03 Sep 23
Loved this section of the River, absolutely stunning.Kat (Gato) our guide was great, friendly, informative, and effortlessly guided us through all the rapids. So much fun!
Ricky KendallRicky Kendall
18:09 01 Sep 23
Amazing time
wilhelm peterswilhelm peters
21:38 31 Aug 23
Snack was our guide and he was fantastic! Lots of great information about our surroundings as we went down the river. He also had some great anecdotes about each rapid we encountered, including some of his own misadventures. Everyone on staff was super friendly and ready to assist with anything we needed/any question we had.Also, it wasn't busy, since this is the end of the season. The water was at a great level, the air temperature was great, and the water wasn't too cold.Thanks for a great time, y'all! Can't wait to book the next adventure with you!
Tiffany AndersonTiffany Anderson
22:43 29 Aug 23
Lori KennardLori Kennard
23:47 28 Aug 23
Renee WittyRenee Witty
18:16 26 Aug 23
Emma GammellEmma Gammell
02:23 26 Aug 23
Our guide Gunnar was awesome, we had such a great time exploring the river!
Megan GordenMegan Gorden
23:07 24 Aug 23
Great experience, will definitely be back
Tim HTim H
20:39 23 Aug 23
I’ve rafted with wilderness aware more than a dozen times over the years and always amazing! The guides are all great, we went on a 1/2 day trip with Colton and had the time of our lives! Thanks so much for everything we’ll be back next year!!
Michele MarksMichele Marks
01:12 23 Aug 23
Our guide on our rafting trip today, Snack, was awesome. Not only did he guide us through some gnarly rapids and rocks, he was a font of interesting info about the river, mountains, and surrounding area. Great company and great guide!
Nancy PittsNancy Pitts
23:59 21 Aug 23
Online registration and waiver signing was very simple. All requests were met. Once we got there, the check-in process and equipment disbursement was easy. Colton was very knowledgeable and thorough in his intro and safety talk. Our guide was Gunner and he was super! Smart, funny, encouraging, and explained things well. He definitely knew what he was doing. I appreciated the fact that he did not use bad language. The rest of our group had Gatlin as a guide and according to them, he was also great. Probably would ask again for this same crew, if possible!
Laura StinsonLaura Stinson
14:43 21 Aug 23
This white water experience was our favorite part of our family vacation this year! Thank you so much for such a great time. The guides were all so nice and funny! We felt safe the whole trip! We will definitely be back. Thank you!
Chris LeinsterChris Leinster
21:37 20 Aug 23
Very fun and exhilarating experience! Browns Canyon presented some interesting navigational challenges, but our guide "snacks" expertly guided us through the treacherous obstacles. Rapids weren't exactly death defying, but every boat in our flotilla managed to dump a swimmer into the river. Great time with a great company we will return!
Jason AllenJason Allen
19:12 20 Aug 23
Great experience rafting Brown's Canyon. Gato was an amazing guide and took us down the river with great expertise. She helped my 11 year old daughter feel comfortable as well.
17:38 20 Aug 23
Kim LentineKim Lentine
16:54 20 Aug 23
cyrus soltaniancyrus soltanian
04:33 16 Aug 23
Snack was the absolute best guide, he gave us a fun wild ride, and was so much more informative about the surrounding area than we expected. He had story’s and information about every section of the river. We weren’t expecting to learn so much about things outside of rafting! Definitely make sure you don’t skip a trip with snack
Amy BertlingAmy Bertling
02:38 16 Aug 23
Tony was the most amazing guide ever! Highly recommend Wilderness. They are so organized and customer friendly! Book it!
Tina PoynterTina Poynter
02:25 16 Aug 23
Another great, fun experience, 2 yrs. in a row, our guide Danny was awesome!
Steve BolinSteve Bolin
15:38 15 Aug 23
We had a blast. Danny is an incredible guide!
John RohdeJohn Rohde
00:29 15 Aug 23
I have rafted the Arkansas with at least half a dozen rafting companies, and Wilderness Aware is by far the best. They charge the same as all the others, so try them first and reserve with them if you can. I don't know how they do it; they have a lovely facility with nice restrooms for changing and a gift store, they train their guides 3 WEEKS before they guide, their boats are well maintained, and, everything is reasonable. Do you want to rent water proof booties? $5. Splash jacket? $10. Do you need one of those sunglass cords so you don't lose your glasses? The gift shop sells them, for ...$4!!!We had such a super trip on the Arkansas that we are thinking of trying another river out of our area. Our guide was Ashlynd and she was wonderful, but when asked, she said all their guides were great. You will not be disappointed with Wilderness Aware.
Kris GerhardtKris Gerhardt
14:58 14 Aug 23
Great staff, beautiful location!
Rick ZimmermanRick Zimmerman
01:18 14 Aug 23
April ScottApril Scott
04:34 12 Aug 23
Awesome full day trip through Browns with Gatlin!! I would definitely use this outfitter again
Eric NauEric Nau
07:58 11 Aug 23
Great half day on the river with my kids. Staff was wonderful, professional and safe. Will raft with Wilderness Aware again.
Cary RicheyCary Richey
15:26 04 Aug 23
My family (wife and two teenagers) and I had an amazing time on our rafting trip (Numbers Full Day). It was right up our alley with pretty continuous action on the river. Justin was a great guide getting us safely through our trip, providing some fun activities along the way, and educating us about the river and surrounding area. I highly recommend booking a rafting trip with Wilderness Aware.
Alex LascellesAlex Lascelles
01:11 01 Aug 23
Highly recommend Wilderness Aware!We had a brilliant time on the Arkansas (Brown's Canyon 1/2 day)! Ellie, our guide and trip leader of 5 rafts, was great. We felt safe and she made it fun, thanks! We'll be back!
Michelle E.Michelle E.
19:33 25 Jul 23
Justin was an Amazing Guide! Never did rafting previously for myself or family. He coached us through every step. Did a Great job of empowering and encouraging my two young sons and they had a BLAST! I was so relieved by the safety and Fun that was accomplished! Absolutely made our entire trip! Anyone with one of these guides can do it and won’t regret it!! Thank you!!!
WestConn EnergyWestConn Energy
12:40 12 Jul 23
There are many rafting companies in the area and after a little research we decided to go with Wilderness Aware for our first rafting trip with our family. We have three boys 4, 6, and 12 so the family float was our only option. From the first phone call to get information to the second call to book the trip, and checking in at the the Buena Vista facility the staff was full of information, helpful, and kind.The trip itself was perfect. The route had just enough splashing to get the kids excited and laughing. Our guide Joey was excellent. He is a personable guy and with our shy young boys got them to open up during the trip. He gave us information about the areas we were traveling through as well as great conversations about other topics that we both had interest in like the ski mountains and mining. Our trip had two rafts in it and our family was only in one with Joey but we also had the pleasure to chat with the other guide Gunner as well. He as well had a great sense of humor and worked well with Joey, I am happy to go in a raft with either of these awesome guides.We are from Connecticut and this was our first trip to Colorado. As my boys get bigger, I am happy to say that Wilderness Aware will have a repeat customer to try out the higher class rapids. Thank you again to all of the staff from start to finish but especially Joey and Gunner for making the trip memorable!Steve and Sarah Walsh
Josh VaughnJosh Vaughn
15:40 07 Jul 23
Incredible experience! The staff made the trip so much more fun. Our guide (Snack) was fun, humorous and very informative. We took a half day trip on Browns. Great for our whole family.
Ilana AlbaneseIlana Albanese
15:30 03 Jul 23
My husband and I go on two trips a year with WA. Each trip is unique. The guides read the River, read their customers for the level of excitement wanted and are just good, fun people. Camping out with them is nature with a bit of pampering. Their food is fantastic. Camp fires in the evening with a sweet treat can’t be beat. This trip Colton was our leader. Eugene was our boat guide. Both A+ guys. Leadership from Brian the owner and lead guide Justin carried over to every trip. After day one rafting and camp set up, they showed us how to jump off a rock into the river. It was a blast! Great value in outdoor experience. Safe and an adventure. Go with WA!!!!
Tamison JoyerTamison Joyer
03:40 01 Jul 23
We had the best time on our family rafting adventure with Megan as our guide down the Lower Brown Canyon on the Arkansas river. Our 7 year old was ready to just go back to the put in spot and do it all over again right away! Everything was very well organized and we felt very safe while having a blast on the river! And we ended up with some great photos too as captured by the photographer on the shore. Megan was friendly and informative and guided us safely on the water while providing us enough opportunities to get splashed! I would 100% recommend Wilderness Aware and Megan as the guide!
Roxane CappaRoxane Cappa
20:05 25 Jun 23
Absolutely LOVED this overnight trip on the the Arkansas River! Our guides were all top notch and the food they cooked us was awesome! They thought of EVERYTHING! I Had high expectations for this trip and this company and ALL the employees far exceeded those expectations. Can’t wait to go back and do an even longer trip down the river next time! Thank you all for the best birthday ever!! See you next year!
Stephanie WadeStephanie Wade
23:27 22 Jun 23
Tony was our guide for a half-day browns canyon white water rafting trip. His instructions were simple, easy to follow. He told us many interesting things about the area and history. My teenagers felt very safe with him, because this was their first time white water rafting.The rafting equipment was very well-maintained and our wetsuits smelled fresh, having just been washed.We really enjoyed our time.
Maria JohnsonMaria Johnson
20:13 17 Jun 23
This was our first time rafting ever and it was amazing! We took our 11 and 14 year old kids (who loved it) and my husband said it was the best adrenaline high he's ever had. This definitely will be a repeat when we come to visit again! Our guide 'Snack' was amazing and really helped our 11 year old who was very nervous at the beginning. He ended up paddling through a lot of it (sat for some of the bigger stuff) and absolutely loved the trip! We all can't wait to do it again so thank you for making it a great first time experience for us!
Isabel LaraIsabel Lara
20:39 13 Jun 23
This was such a fun experience! All the staff were super friendly and they make you feel confident before you even head out going over basic commands and safety tips.A HUGE Shout-out to our guide Megan she really crushed it!!! She was so fun, engaging and had great facts to share about the scenery we passed while making sure we were staying safe! Would 10/10 recommend this tour and this company to anyone looking to try rafting! We did the full day tour and the guides also did such a great job of organizing lunch and making sure everyone got something to eat! I will definitely be back! Thank you Megan you're amazing!!!! 🤘🏻🫶🏻
David ManglosDavid Manglos
03:08 03 Jun 23
I only use Wilderness Aware when rafting the Arkansas River in Colorado. They are well trained, friendly and knowledgeable. Megan was great on our trip through Browns Canyon with flows running near record highs. Exciting and we kept safe and warm with the recommended gear. Wetsuits a must for us on 6/1.
Amy CastelloAmy Castello
22:38 03 Sep 22
The facilities are very up-to-date and clean. Every person we encountered was helpful and funny (a big plus). The trip was breathtaking and some parts were challenging and some relaxing. Danny, our guide, made it so enjoyable and I felt like a pro by the need.
Christina MisailChristina Misail
03:28 08 Aug 22
Best Rafting Experience Ever!! Thanks to our awesome guide Justin, he was top notch. He knew every twist & turn on the water and just about everything in CO!!! Couldn’t have asked for a better time. Staff working inside were kind and friendly! Great place overall! Highly recommend. Go here! For real! It’s Awesome!
Johanna RobbinsJohanna Robbins
02:15 01 Aug 22
If you’re trying to choose from the long list of guide companies for a fun filled day on the water, look no further! By far the best time I’ve ever had rafting! We ended being the only two doing the numbers full day trip and our guide, Gomez, made sure we got the experience we wanted! He was even kind enough to explain some guiding principles and how to read the river for me. He also got us an awesome experience surfing the big wave in the buena vista water park! Amazing guide and awesome trip on an exciting stretch of the Arkansas! The set up at Wilderness Aware was also better than others I have experienced. Great experience all around!
Ben ThomasBen Thomas
02:57 28 Jul 22
Great time on the river! Did Brown’s Canyon half day raft trip. Perfect for beginners. Plenty of easy portions and then some really good rapids.Guides were awesome. Highly recommend
travis rakestrawtravis rakestraw
12:10 22 Jul 22
Highly recommend! Their facility is very nice with clean restrooms and room for changing clothes. The guides were very knowledgeable and friendly. The trip through Browns Canyon was great. We chose WA because we had our dog and needed a kennel. Everything worked out great!
Leah KefalosLeah Kefalos
18:50 01 Jul 22
My family did a 3 day rafting/camping trip with guides Ellie and Rose and had a blast. Ellie and Rose were incredible- super fun, funny, smart, strong, and professional. They worked so hard and made sure we had fun and stayed safe. We had such an amazing experience and with the best guides!
Dean PDean P
23:38 26 Jun 22
Beyond an amazing experience. Justin is an amazing guy. Veteran rafter with amazing skills. He also has great information about the area. We did the royal gorge full day and we regret nothing.My wife and 14 year old son had never rafted and we managed the bigger rapids. Couldn't be more pleased with this experience, it's worth every penny. And they have a more personalized experience than the tourist trap companies. We left early and had the river to ourselves
Michael O'NealMichael O'Neal
22:18 23 Jun 22
Drake was our guide on our half day Brown's Canyon and he was great. Very personable, friendly yet professional. He was very knowledgeable and informative of the area we were rafting. I had rafted before but it was my wife's first time. She was nervous at first, but by the the time we we're done she was ready to book a full day for the next day. Highly recommend Wildnerness Aware. All their staff we ran into were great.
Cori MazerCori Mazer
21:46 22 Jun 22
Wilderness Aware is a large rafting company that manages a lot of customers and trips on the Arkansas River. While it is clear that they are a bigger outfitter in the area, they make sure every customer is attended to with regards to safety, attire, and having a fun time!I went on the Numbers full day trip with the very experienced, welcoming Tony. With his 15+ years of experience, I felt completely safe going through some technical rapids! He also provided a full lunch (that can be vegan/veggie). A truly fantastic day on the river! Thank you Tony!
Kaylene FriesenKaylene Friesen
23:48 20 Jun 22
Wilderness Aware is who you want to go with for your Brown's Canyon rafting adventures on the Arkansas River! We took our 13-year old granddaughter on the half-day trip and we all loved it. Coltrain was our guide and he was thorough with safety measures while also keeping us smiling with his jokes and encouragement. He was also very knowledgeable about the area and shared great facts and stories along the way. We were very glad that we rented the Stay Warm package with wetsuits, booties, and splash jackets since we were drenched and happy by the time we got to the pullout. We also chose to buy the whole package of digital photos and they were delivered immediately to our email. We've included just a few of our favorites here. Wilderness Aware did not disappoint!
Michelle GoldMichelle Gold
00:02 19 Jun 22
We had such a fun time in our half day canyon run. The staff was helpful and friendly. Colton, our guide, was very skilled at guiding and had a calm presence which made me feel comfortable and confident in the boat. We will totally use WA when we return and maybe even do an overnight trip!
Cheryl WashingtonCheryl Washington
01:58 17 Jun 22
AMAZING day in Brown's Canyon for a full day trip! Check in and gear rental went well, mandatory safety instruction about the river/raft safety was definitely a must and the staff was very thorough yet reassuring. On that note, Pascal (our raft) and Gatlin (buddy raft) were PHENOMENAL guides on our trip. First leg of the trip had thrilling rapids with 43°F water 🌊. Glad we had wet suits!! Lunch was set up and provided by the guides, then the 2nd leg of the trip was absolutely exhilarating!! Bucket list includes returning for Numbers !
03:41 16 Jun 22
What a great trip! My family absolutely enjoyed it even with a nervous wife and a 13 year old boy w Down Syndrome. The guides, Danny & Geoff, were outstanding…experienced, knowledgable, and enjoyable. Lunch was over-the-top. We will always remember our trip and be back for another one. With much gratitude, the Quinn’s from Jacksonville, FL.
Vincent PalermoVincent Palermo
05:30 14 Jun 22
First class operation! Very nice facility with changing rooms/ bathrooms. Jake was our guide and was excellent! Jake could get a raft down any river, making it look easy!
Haley NordHaley Nord
17:26 12 Jun 22
We had an amazing time doing the full day Browns Canyon tour. Our guide was really knowledgeable and the staff was helpful getting us the right rentals we needed for the conditions. Excited to come back and do Numbers!
David EagertonDavid Eagerton
18:55 02 Jun 22
Most amazing day I've had in a long time. Great crew and big thanks to Grace our guide who was super awesomeness
nancy rootnancy root
12:43 11 May 22
It was our first whitewater rafting experience, our guide Kat, used an oar boat, she really knew the river, and how to maneuver the rough spots. We never felt we were going to be ejected into the water, or have fear of pending doom😁 had a blast, highly recommended them, especially Kat! See you again soon!
Chelsea CrumpackerChelsea Crumpacker
21:25 31 Jul 21
Guide was Lana and she was great. This was my first white water raft experience level 3 and I am ready for more.
Thomas SimmonsThomas Simmons
02:21 17 Jun 21
They never disappoint! This place is clean, organized, friendly, and safe! The staff are super helpful and accommodating. Worth making a reservation. You won't regret it.
Jonathan RestrepoJonathan Restrepo
00:21 04 Jun 21
An amazing experience, our guide was excellent. The half-day Brown's Canyon run is a great option for those without prior experience.
John AwryloJohn Awrylo
13:32 30 Aug 20
Rafting on the river in Colorado life doesn't get a whole lot better

Yelp Reviews

stuff we are proud of

Wilderness Aware Rafting is proud to be a Colorado & Buena Vista white water rafting outfitter under the National Forest Service, the Bureau of Land Management, and Colorado Parks and Wildlife. All or part of this operation is conducted on Public Lands under special permit from the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Forest Service, and Colorado Parks and Wildlife. Wilderness Aware Rafting is an equal opportunity service provider and employer.

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