Resources for Planning a White Water Rafting Trip from Salida, Colorado
Visiting Salida, Colorado in the summer is the ultimate vacation! There are so many outdoor activities, festivals, shopping and restaurants – you’ll have something different to do every day! America’s most famous white water rafting river – the Arkansas – runs right through downtown Salida, Colorado. No Salida vacation is complete without experiencing a white water rafting trip in the Arkansas River. And you won’t find a better white water rafting outfitter than Wilderness Aware!
Many of our customers come back year after year to enjoy Salida and the beautiful Arkansas River Valley. With so many things to do near Salida, white water rafting is only one of the many activities you can experience.
Direction from Canon City to Colorado Rafting Destinations
Arkansas River – closest white water rafting trips to Salida.
Gunnison River – remote wilderness two-day rafting trips.
Colorado River – mild family float trips.
North Platte River – wilderness trips in May and June.
Dolores River – 3, 6 & 10 day trips in May and June.
Salt River, AZ – springtime rafting trips in Arizona near Phoenix and Tucson.
Salida, Colorado: Largest Historic District in Colorado.
For centuries before the town of Salida came into existence, the area was inhabited by native cultures including the Ute, Arapahoe and Cheyenne. But it was in 1806 and 1807 when Zebulon Pike, Colorado’s most famous frontiersmen, came into the Upper Arkansas Valley area on an official mission to explore the headwaters of the Arkansas River, which at the time was thought to be the Red River. Pike’s account had a dramatic effect on the exploration of the southwest. Frontiersmen visited the area until the late 1850’s, when the first settlers entered the valley.
Most settlers came in search of gold and silver. In the early 1860’s, when the dream of fame and fortune did not become a reality, many discouraged miners vacated mining camps and began to establish farms and ranches on the Arkansas River near present day Salida. 1876, the same year of Colorado’s statehood, the mining boom in the small mining camp of Leadville took place and the wagon road traffic through the Upper Arkansas River Valley increased drastically. The settlement of Cleora was founded, south of Salida, and Chaffee County was formed – named after the states first senator.
In 1880 the Denver and Rio Grande railroad tracks arrived at South Arkansas, as Salida was first called, bypassing Cleora. A man named A.C. Hunt laid out the new 160-acre townsite, and in June of 1880 a post office was established. Hunt’s wife suggested the Spanish name Salida (‘exit’), for the new town. Salida was now a major division point on the railroad tracks, with a brand new stone depot where the tracks diverged. Many new buildings and projects were constructed in the coming years, displaying the success of the new town of Salida. These buildings and projects included the Alpine Tunnel, the D&RG Hospital, the Salida Light and Power Company (Steamplant) building and the smokestack in Smeltertown. Many of the buildings are still standing, creating Colorado’s largest historical district.
1949 saw the establishment of FIBArk, First in Boating on the Arkansas, an international river boat competition with a race from Salida to Canon City. From 1958 through 1988, the Salida Steamplant was abandoned, only to be saved, restored and re-opened as a theater 2001. After the closure of the Climax mine near Leadville in the 1980’s and the discontinuation of the railroad in 1997, Salida and Chaffee County saw a dramatic decrease in population. Today, however, the town thrives on the outdoor tourism industry as well the unavoidable charm of old downtown. Salida is a place bursting with history and limitless outdoor recreation.
Salida and Chaffee County: An Active Colorado Vacation
Salida is a wonderful destination for your Colorado rafting vacation. Outdoor activities are endless – the availability of hiking, rafting and camping make a Salida vacation the trip of lifetime. Take white water rafting trip through Browns Canyon on the Arkansas River, hike through Bighorn Sheep Canyon, or enjoy a horseback ride amidst the grand beauty of the Rocky Mountains.
Don’t forget to visit many other vacation towns and destinations on your Salida, CO vacation, including Buena Vista, Leadville, Breckenridge, Keystone, Aspen, Vail, Canon City, Colorado Springs, Denver, and Gunnison.