Join us on America’s most popular river for white water rafting
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.
• 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.
Arkansas River Rafting Sections:
Hayden Meadows is great for self-guided float and/or fishing trips. No commercial outfitters run this section; self-guided only.
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 is fast-paced, technical with big waves and steep drops.
The Narrows is rocky, technical with long, exciting rapids.
The Milk Run is short and mild with a few small rapids. Great for kids.
Browns Canyon is full of big, splashy rapids suitable for all skill levels.
Lower Browns Canyon
Lower Browns is a mild section with a handful of small yet exciting rapids.
Upper Bighorn Sheep Canyon
Upper Bighorn is a family-friendly section with small, fun rapids.
Lower Bighorn Sheep Canyon
Lower Bighorn is a mellow section dotted with small rapids.
Parkdale is fast-paced with larger, splashy and technical rapids.
The Royal Gorge has high canyon walls and fast-paced, big rapids.
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.
Advanced Day Trips:
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!
Browse these maps for more detail on the various sections of the Arkansas River.
Arkansas River Maps:
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.
Sorry it’s over!
It couldn’t have been better
Loved the trip!
Thank you bunches!
The guides were fantastic
Junior is boss!
Would recommend to anyone
I felt very safe
Brandon is a gem!
Loved your enthusiasm and passion
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.