Boy Scout Whitewater & Kayaking Merit Badge

Merit Badge

Clinic Facts:

  • Intermediate Class II
  • Arkansas River
  • Minimum age: 12
  • Meet River Runners Browns Canyon
  • 4 Hour Course
  • 4-6 hours of prerequisites required
  • Bring your own Blue Cards
  • Available May – September

Merit Badge

8:30 am & 1:30 pm

Per Person

Please book in advance — (800) 723-8987
Spring and fall trip times may vary. Click book to check availability.


Whitewater and Kayaking Merit Badge

Explore the Arkansas River in Colorado

The River Runners Whitewater and Kayaking Merit Badge Clinic cover all practical (on-river/in-kayak) requirements for the BSA Whitewater Merit Badge and Kayaking Merit Badge using inflatable kayaks. This four-hour clinic is held on the Arkansas River from the River Runners at Browns Canyon (riverside) – six miles south of Buena Vista, Colorado.

Troops should plan on four to six hours of preparation prior to the clinic. Scouts must meet all requirements in order to be signed off by a River Runners merit badge counselor. Book any date May 1 – Labor Day with a minimum of four Scouts (maximum 10 Scouts per clinic/20 Scouts per day).


  • Expert instruction and sign off by BSA certified Merit Badge Counselor
  • Four-mile class II inflatable kayak trip on the Arkansas River

Optional Add-Ons

  • A 10-mile class III-IV rafting trip on the Arkansas River in Browns Canyon National Monument – 20% off with merit badge bookings
  • Catered riverside lunch – $8/Scout

Be Prepared…

Your troop will need to spend four to six hours preparing for the River Runners Merit Badge Clinic on your own to meet all requirements. The BSA Whitewater Merit Badge and Kayaking Merit Badge are not for every Scout. Know the limits of each Scout in your troop.

Each Scout must do the following prior to the clinic (not covered in the clinic):

  • Scout leaders must provide the BSA Swim Classification Form. All participants must be a first-class swimmer.
  • Each Scout must complete the CPR and First Aid merit badge.
  • Read individually and discuss as a troop the BSA Whitewater Merit Badge Handbook.
  • Read individually and discuss as a troop the BSA Kayaking Merit Badge Handbook.
  • Practice and be ready to demonstrate the trucker’s hitch and bowline knots.
  • Review and compare BSA Safety Afloat and the American Whitewater safety guidelines.
  • Prepare a written plan for your kayaking trip and submit to your local council. (River Runners will provide a list of considerations and logistics to aid in this requirement).

Make River Runners your Colorado base camp

Group Camping on the Arkansas River
All River Runners Whitewater Merit Badge Clinics are held at the River Runners Riverside Rafting Resort, which is also the launch site for Browns Canyon rafting trips. This facility features three group campsites, sand volleyball, horseshoes, catch and release fishing, private shower facilities, rafting shop, and riverside grill. Group campsites are $40 – $60 per night and can accommodate 10-20 campers. It is recommended that you book well in advance to make River Runners your Colorado base camp. If we are all booked up – don’t worry – our reservation staff can recommend other camping areas near River Runners.

Colorado whitewater rafting

In addition to the Kayaking and Whitewater Merit Badge Clinic, River Runners offers a wide range of Boy Scout whitewater rafting trips in Colorado for your next troop outing. Choose from half-day, full-day and overnight whitewater adventures on the Arkansas River from the River Runners at Browns Canyon (riverside) or the at the Royal Gorge.

“The kids love it!”
-Travis, Denver, CO

“We do it every year.”
-Jeff from Lakewood, CO

“I think the adults enjoyed it as much as the boys.”
-Jane, Lincoln, NE