Arkansas River

On the Arkansas River, you’ll find some of the best whitewater rafting in the country. With options for everyone, groups can choose from the challenging section of Pine Creek to the splashy and scenic Browns Canyon. Raft through Colorado’s iconic Browns Canyon National Monument, marvel at the riverbank’s stunning granite walls and lush greenery, and explore one of Colorado’s wildest mountain areas. Our AVA outpost in Buena Vista–just over an hour drive from Breckenridge and Vail and two hours from Denver–offers convenient access to this mighty river.

Adventure on the Arkansas

There’s a reason that whitewater rafting on the Arkansas River in Colorado is one of the most popular and exciting river trips in the country. Combine the scenic beauty of the Arkansas River Valley with majestic Colorado mountain terrain and the excitement of continuous whitewater, and you get the best whitewater trips available in Colorado! Explore Arkansas River rafting on class III through V rapids, along with ziplining, Via Ferrata, and horseback riding, and fly-fishing adventures.

Explore Arkansas

Top Trips

AVA’s Arkansas River trips include a variety of trip lengths, excitement levels and multi-adventure package options. Paddle through the breathtaking granite walls of Browns Canyon National Monument or explore Pine Creek, the most extreme section of the Arkansas River.

Our nearby Buena Vista outpost also hosts exciting ziplining, Via Ferrata, and rock climbing trips, as well as the opportunity to experience multiple activities in a full day multi-adventure package.

group smiling through spray as they paddle down the Arkansas River
Exciting & Active
Best for Families & Groups

Browns Canyon 1/2 Day

 
Get ready to experience the best of Colorado on our Brown’s Canyon half-day trip. This family-friendly adventure rushes you down the Arkansas River and [...]

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group paddling straight into oncoming spray
Wild & High Exertion
Best for Thrill Seekers

Numbers 1/2 Day

Looking for that quintessential Colorado whitewater rafting experience? Head to the Numbers section of the Arkansas River! If you are an experienced rafter looking [...]

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Group of rafts paddling through Brown's Canyon on the Arkansas River
Thrilling & Very Active
Best for a Day of Excitement

Browns Canyon Rafting + Via Ferrata

Excitement and scenery await on your Browns Canyon + Via Ferrata full-day adventure. Climb into the Rocky Mountains and rush the rapids of the [...]

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Woman on zipline in Colorado.
Wild & High Exertion
Best for Thrill Seekers

The Numbers Half Day + Zipline

Experience an action-packed day with two of Colorado’s best summer activities. Soar between trees on our Mountaintop Zipline course and then splash your way [...]

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Guest on the 78-foot free fall on AVA's Granite Via Ferrata course.
Thrilling & Very Active
Best for thrill seekers

Colorado Via Ferrata – Granite

Adventure awaits as you conquer the cliffside on this unique mountaintop climbing experience. Feel a rush of adrenaline as you traverse across and above [...]

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group smiling as they conquer the rapids
Maximum Adrenaline
Best for Adrenaline Junkies

The Gauntlet- Pine Creek & Numbers

Experience the wildest rafting offered on the Arkansas River in Colorado.  On this full day rafting adventure, you’ll have the opportunity to navigate the [...]

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Your AVA ARKANSAS RIVER Adventure

The Mighty Arkansas River

The Arkansas River in Colorado begins in the Sawatch Range near Leadville and Buena Vista and joins the Mississippi River in Arkansas. The Arkansas River flows east and southeast through Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma and Arkansas, with the source basin sitting right in the Arkansas River Valley of Buena Vista, CO. The water is fed by melted snowpack from the Sawatch and Mosquito mountain ranges, and on its journey, it covers over 1,400 miles, making it the 6th longest river in the United States.

AVA's Arkansas River Outpost

AVA Rafting & Zipline was established in 1998 in Buena Vista, CO, making the Arkansas River our original rafting headquarters. We began with only a small team of 7 guides, running the Arkansas River through both exciting high-water years and 2002’s intense drought. Today, one of our three outposts lies in Buena Vista, with easy access to the Arkansas River, and we are proud to run 1/2 day, full day, and overnight rafting trips on this mighty river, through a variety of river classes.

Getting to the Arkansas River

AVA’s Buena Vista outpost is located just 14 miles north of the town of Buena Vista. AVA’s location is just over an hour from Breckenridge and Vail and slightly over 2 hours from Denver. The Arkansas River flows directly through this charming rafting town and provides some of the most exciting whitewater adventures in the state, perfect for first-timers and rafting enthusiasts alike.

Overnight Opportunities

Our Buena Vista outpost on the Arkansas River is unique in that we offer both an overnight trip opportunity, as well as camping and lodging options. Raft the Arkansas on our 24 Hours in Browns trip, passing through a National Monument with the chance to sleep under the stars. For those looking to stay in the area, we offer campsites and cabins for rent near our outposts. Settle in for the night and wake up refreshed and ready for adventure!

Cabins and Camping

Explore Arkansas Adventures

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group smiling as they conquer the rapids
Maximum Adrenaline
Best for Adrenaline Junkies

The Gauntlet- Pine Creek & Numbers

Experience the wildest rafting offered on the Arkansas River in Colorado.  On this full day rafting adventure, you’ll have the opportunity to navigate the [...]

Learn More
Group of rafts paddling through Brown's Canyon on the Arkansas River
Thrilling & Very Active
Best for a Day of Excitement

Browns Canyon Rafting + Via Ferrata

Excitement and scenery await on your Browns Canyon + Via Ferrata full-day adventure. Climb into the Rocky Mountains and rush the rapids of the [...]

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Person ziplining through Colorado fall foliage
Thrilling & Very Active
Best for a Full Day of Family Fun

Browns Canyon Half Day + Zipline Package

This multi-adventure package will keep you energized and smiling the entire day, as you fly through the trees on our Mountaintop Zipline course and [...]

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Rock climbing in the Colorado Mountains.
Heart Pounding
Best for a Full Day of Thrills

The Numbers 1/2 Day + Via Ferrata

This adventure will get your heart rate up and keep it up as you embark on our Numbers + Via Ferrata full-day excursion. This [...]

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Woman on zipline in Colorado.
Wild & High Exertion
Best for Thrill Seekers

The Numbers Half Day + Zipline

Experience an action-packed day with two of Colorado’s best summer activities. Soar between trees on our Mountaintop Zipline course and then splash your way [...]

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Woman preparing to begin her rock climbing adventure.
Exciting & Active
Best for a Full Day of Excitement

Browns Canyon Half Day + Rock Climb

Rock climber with a spotter.
Heart Pounding
Best for Thrill Seekers

The Numbers Half Day + Rock Climb

Experience an action-packed day with two of Colorado’s best mountain activities! On this multi-adventure package, you’ll have the opportunity to raft the iconic Arkansas [...]

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A thrilling moment captured as a raft plunges down a steep drop, surrounded by cascading whitewater.
Exciting & Active
Best for the ultimate Colorado experience

24 Hours in Browns Canyon

Experience Colorado’s best overnight whitewater rafting. This trip provides a unique way to explore the most popular stretch of whitewater rafting in the country [...]

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Image of Maroon Bells Lake in Aspen, Colorado.

Aspen

Aspen, CO

Colorado locals and tourists alike flock to Aspen in both winter and summer for the breathtaking views, recreation opportunities, restaurants, nightlife and culture. Although Aspen may be well known for its four ski mountains and winter snow sports, the mountain town’s location near some of the best whitewater rafting and outdoor adventure opportunities in Colorado makes for an exciting summer visit!

The former silver-mining town of Aspen additionally offers ample opportunities to explore the area’s history and culture. Catch a headline show at Belly Up, Aspen’s 500 person concert space, or check out a show at the Aspen Theatre, making sure to save time for sampling the area’s restaurants, most with outdoor seating perfect for enjoying a warm summer night.

Blue River near Breckenridge, Colorado.

Breckenridge

Breckenridge, CO 80424

The magic of summer in the mountains comes alive in Breckenridge, Colorado. Located within Summit County, Breckenridge offers skiing and snowboarding, alongside plenty of opportunities for winter sports, yet the temperate summer weather and high alpine environment transform Breckenridge into a mecca for summer adventure. Breckenridge, Colorado is the place to visit if you are looking for a hip mountain town with access to the best outdoor adventures the Colorado mountains have to offer. Best of all, you’ll find Whitewater Rafting trips near Breckenridge on 4 different rivers!

In summer, Breckenridge hosts several festivals, a vibrant downtown arts scene, and numerous high alpine adventures. Its downtown Main Street includes numerous restaurants, bars, and shops, and people flock from across Summit County and Colorado to try Breckenridge’s diverse food scene. The town also offers cultural and arts opportunities, including open galleries, arts classes, and multiple museums. Whether you’re looking to explore the mountains, the town’s rich history, or its unique food scene, Breckenridge has a plethora of diverse adventure opportunities for all!

Image of Buena Vista, Colorado.

Buena Vista

Buena Vista, CO 81211

Located at the base of the Collegiate Peaks within the Sawatch Mountain Range, Buena Vista, Colorado sits at almost 8,000 feet in elevation, with more 14ers than in any other area in Colorado. The area also hosts the Continental Divide to the east, and the Arkansas River flows through the town, providing opportunities for both mountain and river adventures.

The town of Buena Vista dates back to 1880 and originally gained prominence for its mining and railroad industries. Today, many people visit Buena Vista for its namesake – to take in its “Beautiful views” and experience some of Colorado’s best outdoors. The area offers hiking, biking, Whitewater Rafting, Horseback Riding, Camping, and numerous other opportunities to explore the outdoors. Buena Vista is also well known for its local hot springs, which are believed to have therapeutic and even medicinal qualities!

Our AVA outpost is located just 15 minutes north of Buena Vista, providing easy access to the best of the area’s outdoor adventures.

Garden of the Gods' red rock formations with Pike's Peak in the distance.

Colorado Springs

Colorado Springs, CO

Colorado Springs has long been known as a “must-see” on Colorado travelers’ lists – and not just for all the great outdoor adventure and whitewater rafting near Colorado Springs. Located East of the Pike National Forest, near Pikes Peak, Garden of the Gods, Old Colorado City, Cave of the Winds among other notable attractions, the area offers numerous opportunities to hike and explore the outdoors of central Colorado.

Pike’s Peak is one of Colorado’s many 14ers, yet one of the most accessible, as visitors can hike, bike, or drive to the top, and the National Landmark of Garden of the Gods provides stunning views of the area’s rock formations and landmarks, framing Pikes Peak in the background. National Geographic also notes Colorado Spring’s Broadmoor Seven Falls on their list of international waterfalls for their stunning scenery and views.

As Colorado’s second largest city and home to three colleges, Colorado Springs also hosts historical and cultural attractions. Visitors can explore the Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum, the Money Museum or the The Broadmoor Manitou and Pikes Peak Cog Railway. Colorado Springs also headquarters the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Training Center and offers tours for the public.

Vail Valley in the summertime.

Vail

Vail

Locals and guests in this quaint little town are spoiled with gorgeous surroundings and all the amenities of a bigger city. Winter brings skiing and boarding, yet summer offers endless sunny days and a chance to explore Colorado’s mountains and great outdoors. The White River National Forest and Gore Range surround the area, creating opportunities for hiking, biking and exploring the area’s trails.

The town of Vail has much to offer itself, including a variety of lodging and dining options, along with arts and culture opportunities. Catch a show at the outdoor Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater, check out Vail’s festival schedule, or stroll around the Betty Ford Alpine Gardens!

FAQs

Arkansas River rafting is easy and convenient from our Buena Vista outpost! The drive is about 2 hours from Denver, 1 hour and 15 minutes from Breckenridge, and 1 hour from Vail. Our Buena Vista outpost is perfect for a day trip or longer adventure.

We offer rafting trips on the Arkansas River for ages 7 and up! These are family-friendly and ideal for all ability levels.

At our Buena Vista outpost, we also offer ziplining and Via Ferrata trips, as well as horseback opportunities in the surrounding area. The town of Buena Vista also has many restaurants and a walkable area for exploration.

The Arkansas River and the Arkansas River Valley boast some of the most beautiful scenery and best whitewater in the state. This is a unique opportunity to have a blast on the water, as well as spend time in one of Colorado’s most pristine outdoor areas. The river also offers opportunities for wildlife spotting, and the bright blue water in contrast with the area’s granite cliffs will be sure to take your breath away.