Arkansas River Rafting Trips in Colorado

Arkansas River White Water Rafting Colorado

Join us on America’s most popular river for white water rafting

Arkansas River SummarySectionsDay TripsMulti-Day TripsMapsReviewsVideos & Photos

Arkansas River Description:

Beginning high in the Colorado Rockies near the Continental Divide, the Arkansas River delivers more than 100 miles of whitewater – making it the most popular rafting river in the West. The Arkansas River’s appeal lies in its wide variety of trips and easy accessibility. Start your rafting adventure on mild, scenic float sections before stepping up to the world-famous class III-IV Browns Canyon section, then hit it hard on the ultimate whitewater challenge of the Numbers, Royal Gorge or Pine Creek. The Arkansas is ideal for families with young children, groups with mixed skill levels and outgoing, adventurous adults.

Find the Arkansas River in Colorado

• Difficulty: Class I-V+(What does this mean?)
• Peak Season: May – September

We offer Arkansas River rafting trips suitable for families with small children as well as exciting white water rafting trips for seasoned pros. You may choose to raft on mellow scenic sections such as the Lower Browns Canyon, the wildly popular and moderately rambunctious Browns Canyon and Narrows trips or challenge the steep and unpredictable Numbers and Royal Gorge sections. Whatever level of white water rafting on the Arkansas River you’re prepared for, you can find the right trip with us.

Arkansas River Multi-Day Rafting and Camping Trips are available for two, three and five day lengths. Wilderness Aware runs more overnight river rafting trips than any other Arkansas River outfitter. We are the only company on the Arkansas River offering continuous rafting trips longer than two days where you carry your camping gear on the rafts and camp along the river… without driving between sections. For those interested in an overnight Arkansas River whitewater rafting trip of up to four days while sleeping in the comfort of a bed and breakfast each night, you may want to consider our Inn to Inn Rafting Trip. Senior guides cater to special requests on these custom small-group trips.

The Arkansas River drops 5,000 feet in its first 125 miles from its headwaters in the Colorado Rockies near the Continental Divide to the plains near Cañon City, Colorado. The Arkansas River is located 90 miles west of Colorado Springs, 120 miles southwest of Denver. The whitewater rafting sections of the Arkansas River flow past Buena Vista, Salida and finally end in Cañon City, Colorado.

Return to Colorado State Map

Arkansas River Rafting Sections:

Hayden Meadows
Class II
Hayden Meadows is great for self-guided float and/or fishing trips. No commercial outfitters run this section; self-guided only.

Pine Creek
Class IV-V+
Pine Creek is the Arkansas River’s most challenging section. Wilderness Aware does not offer this section due to it’s difficulty. See the resources drop down for more info.

The Numbers
Class IV-V
The Numbers is fast-paced, technical with big waves and steep drops.

The Narrows
Class III-IV
The Narrows is rocky, technical with long, exciting rapids.

Milk Run
Class I-II
The Milk Run is short and mild with a few small rapids. Great for kids.

Browns Canyon
Class III-IV
Browns Canyon is full of big, splashy rapids suitable for all skill levels.

Lower Browns Canyon
Class II-III
Lower Browns is a mild section with a handful of small yet exciting rapids.

Upper Bighorn Sheep Canyon
Class II-III
Upper Bighorn is a family-friendly section with small, fun rapids.

Lower Bighorn Sheep Canyon
Class II-III
Lower Bighorn is a mellow section dotted with small rapids.

Parkdale
Class III-IV
Parkdale is fast-paced with larger, splashy and technical rapids.

Royal Gorge
Class IV-V
The Royal Gorge has high canyon walls and fast-paced, big rapids.

Swallows
Class I-II
Swallows is a calm, scenic sections that’s great for families. Wilderness Aware does not offer this section due to it’s location. See the resources drop down for more info.

 

Return to Colorado State Map

Day Trips:

TRIP NAME
CLASS
DIST.
SEASON
MIN. AGE
Class III-IV
18 mi.
May 1-Sept 4
Age 7+
Class III-IV
10 mi.
May 1-Sept 4
Age 7+
Class I-II
9.5 mi.
May 1-Sept 4
Age 4+
Class III-IV
9 mi.
May 15-Aug 15
Age 10+
Class III-IV
26 mi.
June 1-July 15
Age 10+
Class II-III
6-8 mi.
April-Sept
Age 6+
Class II-III
19 mi.
May 27-Aug 13
Age 6+
Class I-II
3.5 mi.
May 29-Aug 15
Age 4+

Advanced Day Trips:

TRIP NAME
CLASS
DIST.
SEASON
MIN. AGE
Class IV-V
6 mi.
May 15-Aug 20
Age 14+
Class IV-V
15 mi.
May 15-Aug 15
Age 14+
Class IV-V
18 mi.
May 27-Aug 13
Age 14+
Class IV-V
10 mi.
April-Sept
Age 14+
Class III, IV-V
15 mi.
May 15-Aug 20
Age 14+

Multi-DayTrips:

TRIP NAME
CLASS
DIST.
SEASON
MIN. AGE
Class IV-V (V optional)
35-85 mi.
May 15-Aug 25
Age 10+
Class III-IV (V optional)
35 mi.
May 1-Aug 25
Age 8+
Class IV-V
33 mi.
May 15-Aug 15
Age 14+
Class IV-V (V optional)
68 mi.
May 15-Aug 15
Age 8+
Class IV-V (V optional)
90 mi.
May 15-Aug 15
Age 8+

Arkansas River Maps from Granite to Canon City!

This map gives an overview of all the rafting sections of the Arkansas River in Colorado. Each of these five sections can be rafted in one day. Sections can also be combined into 2-5 multi-day river trips with comfortable riverside camping or deluxe Inn to Inn all-inclusive options. Click on an outlined section to see details including rapid names. Printer-friendly and souvenir-quality low-resolution or high-resolution versions of this map are great to bring along when visiting us. If you and your friends or family are interested in Arkansas River Rafting Trips, or perhaps viewing the beautiful scenery whilst rafting the Royal Gorge, then contact Wilderness Aware Rafting where our experienced, knowledgeable, and well trained staff can determine the best trip for you!

Image Map

Browse these maps for more detail on the various sections of the Arkansas River.

The Arkansas River is the longest continuous whitewater rafting in Colorado. The most popular section (Browns Canyon) is located near the town of Buena Vista, Colorado.


Arkansas River Rafting

Overall rating:


★★★★★


5
based on

14
reviews

5
1

Woohoo Rafting!


Arkansas River Rafting




★★★★★

5


5


1
Logan the Goose was an awesome guide. Made us all feel like we were all doing good.. I will definitely be back-it was a blast. Next time I’m riding the bull!

Sorry it’s over!


Arkansas River Rafting




★★★★★

5


5


1
Lydia filled us with confidence. She was skilled and knowledgeable and explained each set of rapids so we knew what to expect. She was great company and we had the best experience. She was brilliant.

Outstanding trip!


Arkansas River Rafting




★★★★★

5


5


1
Although I was not involved with booking, I can say as a first time rafter that I was blown away by Nicki. She gave us exceptional info about local info. Perhaps having a few photographers stationed at a couple rapids could be an improvement?

It couldn’t have been better


Arkansas River Rafting




★★★★★

5


5


1
Ella was awesome & very easy to joke with. She fit right in w/our family. We’ll definitely ask for her next time. We loved how Zack and Mike kept us all entertained & laughing! Zack was excellent w/the directions of safety….

Loved the trip!


Arkansas River Rafting




★★★★★

5


5


1
I cannot wait to come back! Also loved how funny all the guides were. It was the most I’ve seen my sister laugh in a long time! Thank you so much for this amazing experience.

Thank you bunches!


Arkansas River Rafting




★★★★★

5


5


1
I spent several days researching various rafting options and after speaking w/your team was sold. We were not disappointed-the trip is spectacular and our guide Sean was informative, lively professional and entertaining.

Thanks!!


Arkansas River Rafting




★★★★★

5


5


1
This is the best and safest company I’ve been with. Matt was greatest. Made us feel like pro rafters.

The guides were fantastic


Arkansas River Rafting




★★★★★

5


5


1
Guides were full of knowledge about rafting and interesting information, but smart guys. They were engaging and fun too.

Junior is boss!


Arkansas River Rafting




★★★★★

5


5


1
He made the trip so much fun. He allowed us to choose how rough we wanted to raft. He was patient and very instructive. Very easy going and easy to talk to. Would definitely choose Junior as a guide again. Great Internet site, loved the videos, very informative.

Would recommend to anyone


Arkansas River Rafting




★★★★★

5


5


1
My first time and it was awesome and would do it again. From walking in the front door to the end of the trip. Justin was great.

I felt very safe


Arkansas River Rafting




★★★★★

5


5


1
The woman who helped me book the trip was extremely helpful and helped me choose a great trip. Isaiah and Squid were very funny and made the trip great. Good balance of info and jokes.

Great fun


Arkansas River Rafting




★★★★★

5


5


1
Can’t say enough about our guide Tom. Great knowledge of river and surroundings. Kept us together and motivated. Other guides were great also…I plan to return.

Brandon is a gem!


Arkansas River Rafting




★★★★★

5


5


1
He is clearly passionate about paddling and the area. He is the type of guide I’d want to lead us through anything in Colorado. Great with kids!

Loved your enthusiasm and passion


Arkansas River Rafting




★★★★★

5


5


1
Matt Brown-thanks for helping our family celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary! Would definitely request him again.

Arkansas River Rafting Videos:

Arkansas River Rafting Photos:

The sections of the Arkansas River where we offer our whitewater rafting trips attracts thousands of adventure seekers each year from all around the world, earning it the nickname “The Mecca of Whitewater Rafting”. There is something for every skill level here. The diverse Arkansas River features sections of high intensity rapids like The Numbers and the Royal Gorge as well as family friendly sections where guests as young as 4 years old can experience the fun of Colorado whitewater rafting at its finest. We even have oars we can easily mount onto our rafts so you can sit back and enjoy the gorgeous scenery as you soak up the Colorado sunshine. The most popular trips are in Browns Canyon. With over 100 miles of whitewater, you may also consider rafting the Narrows, Lower Browns Canyon and Bighorn Sheep Canyon.

Self-Guided
Resources

Colorado Rafting River Guide:

Colorado Rafting River Guide
Check out our detailed information about the rivers you can raft across Colorado.

What Our Guests Say:

I want to raft again and again and well you get the point…again.
Levi V.
Very pleasant and enjoyable experience. Rafted four other times and this was the best.
Linda H.
We feel we have found new friends in Wilderness Aware and plan on spending time in the future with you.
Susie S.
I work in safety – wish I could get all our regional safety folks to present their safety meetings with the same enthusiasm and professionalism.
Karla S.
We booked our trip cold off the internet and found from the very beginning a very friendly and courteous staff that helped out and answered all our questions.
Carolyn W.
We had an awesome time. I would definitely recommend your company!
Leona H.
Frenchie was the best guide I’ve ever had! This is a great company and I will definitely be telling friends about it!
Jamin R.
Your staff and guides were so helpful and so much fun. My kids ranked that half-day trip as the highlight of our month long trip!
Patty G.
Appreciate your professional and fun staff! Will definitely return next year!
Dana Q.
Sarah, our guide, was the consummate professional.
Becky M.
I loved my experience at WA and will definitely be back with more people.
Cory D.
Matt was the most enthusiastic and exciting guide I have ever had… and I have done this a lot.
Carl M.
Thanks for the great time on the river. You do a super job of taking care of your crews.
Jan P.
Very professional yet very informal approach—not an easy combination to sustain—nice team—office included.
Mark W.
Pete was great. Extremely friendly and he took great care of us and really put our group first. Our trip was relaxing and fun!
Erin L.
We have rafted round the world and this is by far the best—best trained guides, best safety, best food, best fun. Thanks.
Jane H.
We’ve been with a lot of different rafting companies over the years and we have never used the same company twice but everyone on the trip agreed that your company is the best!
Lisa P.
When I made our reservation I knew we were going to have a fantastic time. Everything that happened today exceeded my expectations.
Mark E.
We had an awesome time! All staff we dealt with were very personable and helpful. I can’t imagine anything you could do to improve!
Rusty B.
I started rafting at WA in 1999 and have always had a good time. I highly recommend WA to anyone who wants to raft.
Marty E.
I would like to commend your staff on their great teamwork and enthusiasm. This was the highlight of our trip to Arizona.
Michele E.
Sarah was fantastic! Very knowledgeable and very fun! Best trip ever, even the low water! We will be back again!
Barbara L.
You are great to work with and your guides are fun to be around and well trained. Each experience I’ve had with you (3) has been excellent.
Dawn R.
I have rafted with other companies before but I found your company and Mike, our guide, to be outstanding! I will be back!
Joe M.
Been rafting six times around the country. Best trip and guide so far.
James H.
This was the highlight of our trip to Colorado!
Beth G.
Good job, as usual. Our 5th or 6th trip with WA. Big fans of WA.
Tim S.
One of the best times of my life!
Dylnn R.
Best time I’ve had on the river in the past 15 years!!!! Will return soon!!!
Dylan S.
We started rafting with you in 1988. This is our fourth trip. Will be back.
Jim L.
I love the staff!! Very entertaining and welcoming. This was a great rafting experience. I want to come back tomorrow and do it again!
Bailey W.
Your internet advertising was great. People who answered the phone very helpful and the guides top notch. Seems like your manager has done a wonderful job. I see why you are a successful company.
Phil G.
This was my first rafting experience and you guys made it awesome! Thank you so much!
Jamie L.
From the enthusiastic greetings when we arrived at the office this am, all service was top notch.
John D.
This company is quality. Six years ago I did the same trip with Jack, Ian, and Kelly and the quality is as good today.
Chris G.
This trip surpassed all of my expectations.
Amy B.
The trip, your people, your facility never get old.
Fred P.
The entire staff from reservations to first contact to trip guide was friendly and helpful. Our Scouts had an outstanding time!
Ken T.
Family friend always said Wilderness Aware Rafting was the best. I totally agree!
Angie D.
It was the best first experience in rafting. Ben was awesome!! Five stars!
Kirby S.

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