Advanced rafting surrounded by breathtaking sheer canyon walls




Royal Gorge rafting is one of the most spectacular stretches for Arkansas River rafting, known not only for its sheer, steep canyon walls, but also for its big, powerful, technical rapids. The narrow canyon funnels the river into an adrenaline-pumping barrage of world-class whitewater. If you have time between paddle strokes, take a peek up to see the Royal Gorge suspension bridge spanning the canyon over 1,000 feet above the river.

If you are looking for a more beginner friendly raft trip, you may be interested in our Browns Canyon white water rafting trip. Here is a more in depth list of our river rafting Buena Vista options. 

Recommended For: Experienced rafters, extremely out-going and physically fit first-timers.


Recommended Royal Gorge Rafting Trips on the Arkansas River:

Royal Gorge Full Day Trip

Join us on the most popular advanced rafting section on the Arkansas River! Experience the true beauty of the Royal Gorge, as stunning canyon walls surround this section of whitewater near Cañon City, Colorado – close to Colorado Springs and Denver. Suitable for advanced rafters and those ages 14+, raft with us between late-May and mid-August. Gather your family and friends for a full day of thrilling rapids!

Adult price : $159


Arkansas River Extreme 2 Day Trip

Paddle the two most challenging sections of the Arkansas River over two amazing days – The Numbers and Royal Gorge. This rafting adventure is full of technical paddling through fast, twisting rapids. Meet and depart from Buena Vista, Colorado, near Denver and Colorado Springs. Best suited for advanced rafters and those ages 14+. Trips run from May 15 to Aug 15.

A green raft navigates class 5 white water rafting in colorado

Adult price : $539


Arkansas River 5 Day Trip

Raft with us on nearly every section we offer, including Browns Canyon National Monument, on the Arkansas River – all in one unforgettable 5 Day trip! With departures between May 15 and Aug 15, rafters of all skill levels and kids ages 8+ are welcome on this adventure. Meet and depart in Buena Vista, Colorado – near Denver and Colorado Springs.

Adult price : $1129


royal gorge rafting sections

Royal Gorge White Water Rafting Details:

Difficulty: Class IV-V (What does this mean?)
Elevation: 5760′ to 5321′
Average Gradient: 43.6′ per mile

Access to Access:

Parkdale to Pink House: 9.0 miles
Pink House to Centennial Park: 1.0 miles
Centennial Park to River Station: 0.4 miles
Total Mileage: 10.4 miles

Notes: The Royal Gorge is typically under a high water advisory (over 3200 cfs) from late-May through late-June due to run-off and all commercial outfitters refrain from rafting this section at that time.

royal gorge rafting water level graph



What people are saying

  • 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.

    Dwight W. Rafter
  • 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.

    Lexi R. Rafter
  • 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.

    Lauren C. Rafter


Information for Royal Gorge Self-Guided Boaters:

The Arkansas River is in the Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area (AHRA) and is managed by Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).

  • Boating Permit Required: NO
  • Permit Details: On the off chance you do not use a developed AHRA Recreation Site, no fee of any kind is required to float the river.

Royal Gorge Access Details:

Parkdale, Pink House & River Station Access

Arkansas River – Parkdale, Pink House & River Station Access Details:

  • Sites: Parkdale, Pink House & River Station Recreation Sites
  • Instructions: Follow signage at recreation site.
  • Fee: Annual or daily permits are required to use these sites. Those without passes will be ticketed.
  • Where to Buy: Annual Permits can be purchased through AHRA in Salida or Colorado Parks and Wildlife Offices in Denver, but most people use the self-serve daily pay stations at AHRA managed access points.
  • Contact: Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area (AHRA)
    307 W Sackett Street, Salida, CO 81201
    719-539-7289 ~
Centennial Park Access

Arkansas River – Centennial Park Access Details:

  • Sites: Centennial Park Access
  • Instructions: Follow signage at site.
  • Fee: No
  • Contact: The City of Cañon City
    221 Griffin Ave, Po Box 1460, Cañon City, CO 81212
    719.269.9028 ~

At this time we do not have information on any entity that offers shuttles on this section. We recommend traveling with at least two vehicles in order to run your own shuttle.

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