Buena Vista

The Arkansas River flows right through the town of Buena Vista and offers some of the best rapids in the country. The pine creek section is one of the most intense areas on the river and in Colorado, with the famous class V pine creek rapid and triple drop section. The numbers portion of the Arkansas also packs 7 steep rapids in 7 miles, making for another adrenaline rush. The Browns Canyon section compliments this intensity with a splashy class III section through stunning Browns Canyon National Monument, with opportunities to spot bighorn sheep and other wildlife.

World-Class Whitewater

Located at the base of the Collegiate Peaks and 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. 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 world-class whitewater rafting, along with biking, hiking, horseback riding, camping, and more.

Explore Buena Vista

Top Trips

With easy access from our Buena Vista outpost, Whitewater Rafting in Buena Vista has never been more convenient!  The powerful Arkansas River runs through the area, providing opportunities to for a diverse range of whitewater excursions. From family whitewater excursions to advanced rafting experiences, we cater to all abilities and interests.

Our Buena Vista outpost also offers opportunities to maximize your Buena Vista adventure with additional options including Zipline, Via Ferrata, and Horseback Riding, allowing you to take your mountain vacation to new heights in the Arkansas River Valley!

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 [...]

Learn More
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 [...]

Learn More
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 [...]

Learn More
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 [...]

Learn More
Woman ziplining in the Colorado mountains.
Exciting & Active
Best for Families with Kids

Mountaintop Ziplining In Colorado – Half Day

Fly between towering old-growth pine trees and cliffs on our Mountaintop Zipline, a unique Colorado experience fun for all ages. This course may be [...]

Learn More
group smiling and laughing as they paddle down the Arkansas River
Thrilling & Very Active
Best for a Day of Family Fun

Browns Canyon Sizzler

The full-day Browns Canyon Sizzler represents the ultimate Colorado rafting experience! This trip offers a full day of classic white water rafting through class [...]

Learn More

Buena Vista Whitewater Rafting

Buena Vista Rafting

Join us on an Arkansas River trip from our Buena Vista outpost, just 15 minutes north of the town of Buena Vista. Discover the stunning scenery of the Collegiate Peak Mountain Range in the Sawatch Range as you navigate the rapids through one of Colorado’s most stunning locations on the Arkansas River.

 

Whitewater Rafting Trips

Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned adventurer, our Arkansas River trips offer the perfect blend of excitement and scenery. On our Browns Canyon 1/2 Day trip, you will paddle through Browns Canyon National Monument on intermediate class III rapids, experiencing breathtaking views of the granite canyon, Arkansas River Valley, and its abundant wildlife. Take your adventure to the next level with our 3/4 day Browns Canyon Express, full-day Browns Canyon Sizzler, or 24 Hours in Browns, our overnight trip that lets you camp under the stars and wake up to the sounds of the river.

If you’re seeking a more intense adventure in a beautiful location, our Numbers 1/2 day trip is the perfect choice. Get ready to tackle the most continuous whitewater rafting section of the Arkansas River, complete with exhilarating class IV rapids. For the ultimate adrenaline rush, embark on our full-day Gauntlet-Pine Creek and the Numbers and tackle the Arkansas’s steepest class V section, with our Rappel version of this trip launching you with a 75-foot rappel to a waiting raft.

Buena Vista Aerial Adventures

Our Buena Vista outpost also offers ziplining on our Mountaintop Zipline course! Embark on an exhilarating adventure through the trees, where you’ll soar across 6 lines above the Arkansas River Valley. At this same location, you will be able to try out a unique adventure on our Granite Via Ferrata course. Climb high into the cliffside, traverse across iron rungs and cables, swing across several lines of our zipline course, and experience the highest freefall in Colorado at 78 feet! We also host rock climbing adventures at Granite Gorge Cliffs, just minutes from our Buena Vista outpost. Here, you can explore the cliffs on multiple different routes, as well as learn new climbing technique.

Buena Vista Lodging

Our Buena Vista outpost is also home to cabin and campsites available for booking. Stay on site before or after your adventure so you can arrive on time, relax without extra hassle, and have more time to explore the area.

Explore Lodging

Discover Buena Vista

Rafting the Arkansas River.

The closest river to Buena Vista

The Arkansas River runs through the town of Buena Vista and is just a 5 minute shuttle from our Buena Vista outpost.

aerial view of AVA Buena Vista outpost and mountains in background

The closest outpost to Buena Vista

Our Buena Vista outpost is only 15 minutes north of the town of Buena Vista.

Arkansas River Colorado Whitewater Rafting

Adrenaline seekers

Prepare for an adrenaline-pumping adventure with our Gauntlet – Pine Creek & the Numbers trip, featuring the most exhilarating whitewater on the Arkansas River. Brace yourself for a pulse-pounding journey through class V rapids with some of the most intense and steepest rapids in the state.

Whitewater Rafting with Kids in Colorado

Family-friendly Fun

Raft through the impressive Brown’s Canyon National Monument on our Brown’s Canyon Half Day trip. This scenic trip through class III rapids is perfect for wildlife spotting and families with kids ages 7 +. Combine this with a zipline adventure for a full-day multi-adventure package the entire family will enjoy.

Man fly fishing in a Colorado mountain stream.

Fly-fishing

The Arkansas River is also renowned for its excellent fly fishing opportunities. Anglers can cast for trout in this scenic river, which is stocked with rainbow, brown, and cutthroat trout. Whether you’re a seasoned angler or a beginner, the Arkansas offers a tranquil setting to enjoy the sport of fly fishing.

Rocky Mountain National Park Colorado Hikes

Hiking Trails

Explore the breathtaking scenery of the Collegiate Peaks Wilderness, located just outside of Buena Vista. This wilderness area is home to numerous hiking trails that wind through pristine forests, alpine meadows, and rugged mountain terrain. Popular hikes include the trails to Mount Yale, Mount Princeton, and the Colorado Trail.

Hot Spring

Hot Springs

Relax and rejuvenate in the natural hot springs of Cottonwood Hot Springs, located just a short drive from Buena Vista. In a tranquil valley surrounded by mountains, Cottonwood Hot Springs offers a peaceful oasis where visitors can soak in therapeutic mineral waters while enjoying the beauty of the natural surroundings. The hot springs feature several pools with varying temperatures.

Mountain Biking Near Idaho Springs, Colorado.

Mountain Biking

The Midland Hill Trails, located near Buena Vista, offer a network of mountain biking trails with stunning views of the Arkansas River Valley and the surrounding mountains. With trails suitable for riders of all skill levels, from beginner to advanced, the Midland Hill Trails provide opportunities for exhilarating rides through diverse terrain.

aerial view of AVA Buena Vista outpost and mountains in background

Buena Vista Location

Buena Vista, located in central Colorado’s Chaffee County, is nestled at the base of the Collegiate Peaks and alongside the Arkansas River. It lies approximately midway between the cities of Salida and Leadville.

View of Buena Vista mountains from across the town and yellow/orange plains

Buena Vista History

Buena Vista was founded in 1879 as a mining and railroad town during the Colorado Silver Boom. The town’s economy was initially driven by mining activities, particularly for gold, silver, and lead. Today, remnants of its mining heritage can be seen in the historic buildings and structures scattered throughout the town.

Rafters on smooth waters.

Best Time to Raft

The best time to raft Buena Vista’s Arkansas River is May through September.

Buena Vista Colorado Cabins

Buena Vista Trips

In addition to whitewater rafting, Buena Vista hosts ziplining, Via Ferrata courses, rock climbing, horseback riding, fly-fishing, and more with options for 1/2 day, full-day, and multi-day trips.

Explore Buena Vista Adventures

  • Sort By

  • Sort By

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 [...]

Learn More
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 [...]

Learn More
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 [...]

Learn More
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 [...]

Learn More
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 [...]

Learn More
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 [...]

Learn More

Closest River to Buena Vista

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.

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!

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!

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.

Arkansas River near Buena Vista, Colorado.

Arkansas River

40671 US-24
Buena Vista, CO 81211

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 is one of Colorado’s most notable natural landmarks and waterways and offers some of North America’s most popular whitewater stretches. Here you’ll find everything from the wild and challenging section of Pine Creek near Granite, CO, to the thrilling and scenic family-friendly rapids of Browns Canyon near Buena Vista, to the towering rock walls of the Royal Gorge near Cañon City. With every class of whitewater available and great Colorado rafting for families with young kids, groups and adrenaline junkies, Arkansas River rafting truly has something for everyone.