Salida Rafting Trip Information

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.

Book a Salida White Water Rafting Adventure Now!

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.

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:

It was the best first experience in rafting. Ben was awesome!! Five stars!
Kirby S.
Good job, as usual. Our 5th or 6th trip with WA. Big fans of WA.
Tim S.
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.
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.
Thanks for the great time on the river. You do a super job of taking care of your crews.
Jan P.
This was my first rafting experience and you guys made it awesome! Thank you so much!
Jamie L.
Family friend always said Wilderness Aware Rafting was the best. I totally agree!
Angie D.
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 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.
One of the best times of my life!
Dylnn R.
I loved my experience at WA and will definitely be back with more people.
Cory D.
We started rafting with you in 1988. This is our fourth trip. Will be back.
Jim L.
Sarah, our guide, was the consummate professional.
Becky M.
From the enthusiastic greetings when we arrived at the office this am, all service was top notch.
John D.
This was the highlight of our trip to Colorado!
Beth G.
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 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.
Very pleasant and enjoyable experience. Rafted four other times and this was the best.
Linda 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.
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.
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.
This trip surpassed all of my expectations.
Amy B.
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.
Been rafting six times around the country. Best trip and guide so far.
James H.
We feel we have found new friends in Wilderness Aware and plan on spending time in the future with you.
Susie S.
We had an awesome time. I would definitely recommend your company!
Leona H.
Appreciate your professional and fun staff! Will definitely return next year!
Dana Q.
Sarah was fantastic! Very knowledgeable and very fun! Best trip ever, even the low water! We will be back again!
Barbara L.
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.
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.
I would like to commend your staff on their great teamwork and enthusiasm. This was the highlight of our trip to Arizona.
Michele E.
Very professional yet very informal approach—not an easy combination to sustain—nice team—office included.
Mark 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.
Best time I’ve had on the river in the past 15 years!!!! Will return soon!!!
Dylan S.
Matt was the most enthusiastic and exciting guide I have ever had… and I have done this a lot.
Carl M.
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.
I want to raft again and again and well you get the point…again.
Levi V.
The entire staff from reservations to first contact to trip guide was friendly and helpful. Our Scouts had an outstanding time!
Ken T.
The trip, your people, your facility never get old.
Fred P.

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