Arkansas River Rafting Locations Canon City & Buena Vista, Colorado
Arkansas River Rafting Locations Canon City & Buena Vista, Colorado

Arkansas River Rafting in Colorado

Arkansas River White Water Rafting May - September
Arkansas River Whitewater Rafting May - September

One of North America’s most popular whitewater rafting destinations is the Arkansas River in Colorado. Centrally located in the Heart of the Rockies, the Arkansas River has Colorado whitewater rafting trips suitable for nearly all ages and abilities. At River Runners you can depart from Buena Vista or Canon City.

Whitewater Rafting the Arkansas River in Colorado is fun, exciting and sometimes challenging (depending on the type of trip you choose). Allow River Runners to help find the right level of rafting trip for the ages and abilities of your group.

The Arkansas River has a variety of whitewater sections from mild class I-II rafting to extreme class V whitewater. No matter what type of thrills or experiences you want to fulfill, the Arkansas River is bound to have something that fits the bill – from narrow, boulder-filled canyons to calm meandering river corridors filled with wildlife.

Even though the Arkansas River is one of the most commercially rafted rivers in the world, it is still well preserved and maintained through the Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area, a collaboration of Colorado Wildlife and Parks and the Bureau of Land Management.

Arkansas River overnight whitewater rafting trips

Overnight whitewater rafting trips through Browns Canyon are a great way to experience the solitude of multi-day rafting without committing to longer expeditions. Paddle, hike, camp, fish and relax on an overnight Arkansas River rafting adventure. These exclusive rafting trips launch every day throughout the season with a minimum of four people. Call to check for existing launch dates.

Whitewater Rafting Destinations

Arkansas River Rafting

The Arkansas River

Map of the Upper Arkansas River.The Arkansas River is home to the best whitewater rafting in Colorado. Its headwaters are high in the Rocky Mountains near Leadville, Colorado where the river drops 5,000 feet in the first 125 miles. This is where you will find world-class whitewater. The most popular whitewater rafting sections include the Numbers, Browns Canyon, Bighorn Sheep Canyon, and the Royal Gorge.

Rafting the Arkansas River

Rafting the Arkansas River is a popular summer activity in Colorado. You can choose from half-day, full day and overnight raft trips on beginner, intermediate and advanced whitewater. River Runners has four locations: at South Main (BV Adventure Hub), at Browns Canyon, at Salida, and at the Royal Gorge.


Pine Creek Rafting Class V

Pine Creek is rarely run commercially and has a limited launch window. It’s the steepest section of the Arkansas River with some of the most challenging rapids in Colorado.

The Numbers Rafting Class IV – V

The Numbers section of the Arkansas River is just downstream of Pine Creek. It is one of the most continuous rafting trips in Colorado. Previous rafting experience is recommended, but not required. Participants should be adventurous and in good shape.

Browns Canyon Rafting Class III – IV

Browns Canyon is located between Buena Vista and Salida, Colorado, making it an easily accessible rafting trip. This beautiful stretch of river is the most popular family rafting trip in the state. The rapids are spread out just enough to allow you to enjoy the scenery.

Bighorn Sheep Canyon Rafting Class III-IV

Bighorn Sheep Canyon is a great whitewater rafting trip for beginners and it’s just one hour from Colorado Springs. This incredible canyon follows Hwy 50, heading towards Cañon City, Colorado.

Royal Gorge Rafting Class IV – V

Rafting the Royal Gorge is one of the most exciting things you can do in Colorado. Float nearly 1,000 feet below the highest suspension bridge in North America. Experience big rapids, grand geology, and epic engineering.