Colorado Rafting Trip Spotlight: Arkansas River Rafting
The most popular river for white water rafting in the world is Colorado’s Arkansas River. It’s not difficult to see why. Located a mere 90 miles west of Colorado Springs and 120 miles southwest of Denver, the Arkansas River offers offers 95 miles of some of the best white water rafting in Colorado.
The Arkansas River is unique in its flow and length. Fed by snow melts from the mountains of central Colorado, the Arkansas River has some of the heaviest water flows of any river in Colorado, and roars down 5000 feet between its source near Leadville and the flat lands near Canon City, 125 miles away. The combination of the large, raftable river and significant drop in elevation makes the Arkansas ideal for river-rafting, but the scenery along river is equally spectacular. Cutting through the Sawatch Mountains, the Upper and Lower Bighorn Canyon, the Royal Gorge, and the canyon lands around Canon City, the Arkansas River offers some of the most beautiful scenery in Colorado.
There are no fewer than five main areas for rafting along the Arkansas River, all with different levels of difficulty and intensity: which means that the Arkansas has something for everybody. Close to the uppermost raftable section of the river, near Leadville, the Numbers section of the Arkansas River offers some of the most exciting, extreme white water rafting in Colorado, featuring punishing drop after punishing drop through Class V rapids. Below the Numbers area is Brown’s Canyon, the most popular section of the Arkansas River, with a variety of Class III and IV rapids and incredible views of the Sawatch Mountains. Below Brown’s Canyon is the Upper and Lower Bighorn Canyon, the mildest section of the Arkansas River. The Bighorn Canyon’s Class I and II rapids are perfect for beginners and families. Below the Bighorn Canyon, the Arkansas River runs through the magnificent Royal Gorge, one of the best-known natural sites in Colorado. Royal Gorge Rafting features Class IV rapids under the shadow of one of America’s tallest canyons and the highest suspension bridge in the world.