Know Before You Go!
Trip: Multi Day Camping
Departure & Return Times
Trip: Arkansas River Multi-Day Camping
Show Up Time: 8:00 am
Trip Departs: 9:00 am
Trip Returns: 3:30 pm – 5:00 pm
Meeting Location & Directions
Physical Address: 12600 US Highway 24/285, Buena Vista, CO 81211*
GPS: 38.813867, -106.101856
*Please note that many times mapping and gps systems will try to take you north of Buena Vista. PLEASE follow the links WE provided on this page and in your confirmation emails to find our location.
What To Bring – Day
Do NOT wear cotton on the river! It can make you colder!
- Swimming suit and/or shorts
- Sunglasses with securing strap
- Fleece jacket or synthetic insulating layer (on colder days)
- Hat or visor (can be worn under your helmet)
- Waterproof sunscreen (Important! We are close to the sun!)
- Lip balm (with SPF 15+)
- Tennis shoes, water shoes or secure sandals (no flip-flops or Crocs)
- Water bottle
- Cash for souvenirs and tipping your guide at the conclusion of trip
What To Bring – Camp
- Warm sleeping bag and ground pad (available to rent)
- Tent (available to rent)
- Warm jacket
- Rain jacket or poncho
- Dry shoes
- Change of clothes and small towel
- Headlamp or flashlight
- Small plastic (grocery) bag for wet clothes
- Insect repellant
- Favorite beverage (no glass)
- Favorite book or toy
What We Provide
- Professional guide in every raft
- Lifejacket & helmet
- Shuttle back to your car at the end of your trip
- Comfortable changing facilities
- Meals from lunch on the first day through lunch on the last day
- Lemonade and water with meals, and hot drinks in camp
- Personal waterproof storage bags – 3.2 cu. ft. capacity
- All kitchen and cooking equipment
- Portable chemical toilet
Cold Weather/High Water Rentals
- Thick neoprene
- Velcro closures on shoulders
- Large sizes have a front zipper
- Zippered ankles
- Add layer over this for extra warmth
- Rental includes FREE BOOTIES
$15/each (PER DAY) to rent
- Thick water-resistant nylon
- Hood with velcro closure
- Neoprene cuffs & collar with velcro closure
- Elastic pull string around waist
- Add layer under this for extra warmth
- Best choice if warm days w/rain are forecast
$10/each (PER DAY) to rent
- Zippered ankles
- Hard rubber sole
- Wear in place of your shoes
- Keeps feet warm, not dry
- Add wool socks for extra warmth
- FREE BOOTIES if you rent a wetsuit
$5/pair (PER DAY) to rent
Tents, Sleeping Bags and Ground Pads
- Tents sleep 2 adults with gear
- Sleeping bags are warm and roomy
- Sleeping bag rental INCLUDES ground pad
- Ground pads are self-inflating
$20/Sleeping Bag with Ground Pad & Liner
$10/Ground Pad only
Cold Weather/High Water Rentals
Velcro closures on shoulders
Large sizes have a front zipper
Add layer over this for extra warmth
Rental includes FREE booties
$10/each (PER DAY) to rent
|Thick water-resistant nylon
Hood with velcro closure
Neoprene cuffs & collar with velcro closure
Elastic pull string around waist
Add layer under this for extra warmth
Best choice if warm days w/rain are forecast
$5/each (PER DAY) to rent
Hard rubber sole
Wear in place of your shoes
Keeps feet warm, not dry
Add wool socks for extra warmth
FREE booties if you rent a wetsuit
$5/pair (EACH DAY) to rent
|Items||Tents, Sleeping Bags & Ground Pads||Rental Cost (Per Trip)|
|Tents sleep 2 adults with gear
Sleeping bags are warm and roomy
Sleeping bag rental INCLUDES ground pad
Ground pads are self-inflating
$15/sleeping bag with ground pad
$4/ground pad only
|Month||Average Low||Average High||Average Rain|
|May||500-1100 cfs||In early May, cooler air temps keep water levels lower. As the weather warms up in late-May, water levels increase and water temperatures are very cold.|
|June||2000 cfs||The first couple weeks of June sees water levels at their highest and coldest. On high snowpack years, peak runoff can last through the entire month of June.|
|July||1500-1000 cfs||As runoff subsides, July brings warmer air and water temperatures and more moderate river flows.|
|August||900-450 cfs||Early August sees water levels begin to naturally subside as air and water temperatures are at their highest. After August 15th, water levels are unregulated and drop to native lower levels.|
|September||400-200 cfs||Early September water is lower, warmer and air temperatures range from mild to quite warm.|
- 8:00 am – Meet at our riverside headquarters to check in for your trip.
- After check in, change into your river gear and have a guide fit you for a helmet, lifejacket and paddle.
- Before loading up on the bus, the guides will cover a complete safety orientation with you.
- Load up on the bus to head to the river.
- Click the button below to read the FULL trip itinerary.
Arkansas River Multi-Day Rafting and Camping trips all begin just upstream of Railroad Bridge and end at different downstream locations (depending on trip length). 2 Day trips take out at Big Bend, 3 Day trips take out at Vallie Bridge, and 5 Day trips take out near Cañon City. This trip spans multiple maps, beginning in the Arkansas River Numbers/Narrows Map, and going all the way down through the Royal Gorge. Subject to change based on water levels.
- Each member of your group is required to complete and sign a digital liability waiver. Youth under the age of 18 are required to have a parent or guardian co-sign their waiver. Upon completion of your reservation, you will receive a confirmation email outlining the waiver signing process. To save time, please complete the digital waiver before you arrive for your trip. To see a copy of the waiver, please click here.
- Bookings made more than 14 days in advance require a 50% deposit to confirm. 14 days prior to your trip, the balance will be automatically charged to the credit card provided. Bookings made within 14 days of the departure date require payment in full.
- Cancellation Policy (NON-discounted reservations): If your group or any person in your group cancels more than 14 days before the trip’s check-in time, a full refund will be provided. If cancellations are made within 14 days, no refund will be provided for any reason.
- Cancellation Policy (DISCOUNTED reservations): If your reservation has a discount applied and you wish to cancel, you will not receive a refund. You may reschedule or receive a trip credit (digital gift card code).
- Cancellation Insurance: Cancellation Insurance is available for 7.5% of the trip cost. Insurance purchased for individuals is non-transferable. If purchased, a refund would be provided minus an additional 7.5% cancellation fee up to 72 hours prior to check-in time. Anything cancelled less than 72 hours, but at least 24 hours in advance would receive a non-refundable gift certificate valid for one calendar year from the date of cancellation. Cancellations made within 24 hours are not eligible for a refund for any reason. Guests who opt out of Cancellation Insurance are subject to the 14-day Cancellation Policy.
No exceptions will be made. This includes, but is not limited to road construction, undesirable weather, poor road conditions, COVID or other illnesses.
- Late Arrival Policy: It is your responsibility arrive for your trip on time – typically 30-60 minutes prior to your scheduled departure time. We will not wait for late arrivals. Please take into account travel time, weather, road construction, etc.
- Water Policy: Wilderness Aware reserves the right to move your group to a more appropriate section of river due to extreme high or low water conditions. We will give you as much notice as possible of conditions that may affect your scheduled trip. Note that if an alternate section of river is available to your group no refunds or credits are given.
- Weather Policy: Wilderness Aware trips run rain or shine. We will not cancel or cut short trips due to rain and/or thunderstorm conditions (including lighting).
- Drugs and Alcohol: Drugs or alcohol are not to be consumed before or during the trip. This includes recreational marijuana. No refund will be given to those drinking alcohol or using drugs prior to the trip.
- Pregnancy: We do allow guests that are pregnant to participate in rafting.
- Where is the closest lodging to our meeting point? Our office is located just two miles south of Buena Vista. There are hotels/motels, campgrounds, cabins, bed & breakfasts and small resorts in the area. For complete area lodging information, we recommend you visit the Buena Vista Chamber of Commerce website at www.buenavistacolorado.org.
- Will I receive a safety orientation prior to my trip? Prior to boarding your raft, your guide will cover a detailed safety orientation with everyone. Colorado Rivers Outfitters Association (CROA) created a comprehensive video that covers the same information in your safety orientation. Feel free to check out this video before your rafting adventure begins.
- Is it appropriate to tip my guide? Tipping is appropriate, particularly if you have received exceptional customer service. If you believe that a tip is appropriate we recommend an average tip of 10-20% of your total trip cost. You will have the opportunity to tip your guide directly, or you may use the cash tip box or leave a credit card tip through our helpful front desk staff. We always appreciate hearing from you so we can recognize extraordinary customer service. We also appreciate your feedback if you feel there are areas we can improve upon. We strive to exceed your expectations!
- What happens if I arrive late for my trip? To provide our guests with the best possible customer service, we launch our trips on time. We cannot wait for late guests. You must arrive for your trip 45-60 minutes prior to your departure time in order to get through our check in process and prepare for your trip. Please plan your time accordingly – allow enough travel time and include unexpected stops for road construction.
- I cannot swim. Can I still go rafting? Many of our participants cannot swim. We provide U.S. Coast Guard approved personal flotation devices designed to float you face-up in whitewater. Personal flotation devices are required to be worn at all times.
- Do I need to wear a helmet? Helmets are required and provided on the Arkansas River.
- Can I bring anything along with me on the raft? Each raft is equipped with a waterproof bag for any small items that you may need during the day.
- Should I bring a water bottle on my raft trip? We do not carry drinking water on your raft and recommend you bring your own bottle. There are water bottles available to purchase in our retail store. Water bottles can sit on the floor of the raft.
- What kind of camping conditions should I expect? All campsites are primitive-no plumbing or electricity. We provide a portable chemical toilet for use in camp. You may wash in the river
- What type of meals will I have during my trip? We provide fresh hearty meals starting with lunch on the first day through lunch on the last day. Special diets can be accommodated upon request. Remember we provide only lemonade and water. If you would like to bring your own drinks in metal or plastic containers, please feel free. We will provide a place to carry them.
- Can I fish on this trip? Feel free to bring your fishing gear. You may fish from the shore at camp only as we do not allow fishing from the raft. You will need a valid Colorado fishing license, available to purchase locally at the hardware store.
- What do I do with any trash I may have? Please keep in mind that on our trip we will carry out all of our trash and whatever other trash we may find as we travel down the river. We appreciate your assistance in keeping the river clean and beautiful.
- Do you have a retail store? We have a retail store for those last minute items such as sunscreen, lip balm, and sunglasses retainers. Plan to check out our t-shirts, hats and souvenirs after the trip.
- Will there be photos taken on my raft trip? We partner with a professional photography company who takes photos of every raft. Digital copies are available to view and purchase at our office by the time your trip returns. They can also be found anytime after your trip on our website.
- I am worried about the altitude. Will I be ok to raft? You will be rafting at 8000 feet above sea level. Most people don’t have serious problems here, but shortness of breath and dehydration are possible. Come a day or two early to acclimatize yourself if you can. We recommend you drink plenty of water during your stay.