The Arkansas River is one of the most popular spots for whitewater rafting in the country. It begins its journey near Leadville and flows south past Buena Vista and Salida, before heading east to Canon City, Pueblo and the plains.
Aside from rafting, there’s OHV trails (Off-Highway Vehicles), gold panning on the Arkansas River, whitewater boating and rock climbing. There are a number of campgrounds too along its route.
Biking/Hiking: Lots of trails exist with the recreation area.
Boating: The 150 mile stretch of river is hugely popular for whitewater rafting from late spring through early fall. There are stretches of river to suit everyone’s tastes and abilities.
Camping: Yes, 6 campgrounds, open year round. No hook-ups or water. Reservable from April 1 to September 30 by calling the State Parks Reservations at 800-678-2267.
Read about the Camping near Buena Vista, around the Arkansas River.
Read about the Camping near Salida, around the Arkansas River.
Fishing: Both boat and river bank fishing on the Arkansas River.
Gold Panning: Common activity along the Arkansas River. Bring your own supplies and give it a try.
Horseback Riding: Available on adjacent public lands.
Ice Fishing: Available at the Hayden Meadows recreation site.
OHV Riding: There are lots of trails for off road vehicle riding in the in the Four Mile and Texas Creek area of the park.
Picnicking: Numerous sites are accessible just off the highway. Picnic areas have tables and grills.
Rock Climbing: There are many formidable climbs along the river for expert climbers. Novices should contact park for instructions and local outfitters.
Whitewater Rafting: The Arkansas is one of the best rivers for whitewater in the country. All rafting is done privately by commercial outfits. Learn about rafting the Arkansas River.
Winter Recreation: Snowmobiling is permitted in certain areas. There are lots of high alpine trails in the Collegiate Peaks mountains near Buena Vista. Camping is open in the winter. Snowshoeing and cross country skiing is also popular.
Address: 307 West Sackett Ave, Salida, CO
Nearby Towns: (north to south to east)
Season: Year round, 24 hours a day
Pets: Yes, on leash
Fees: $9/Day/, $80/year
Map: Arkansas Headwaters (PDF)