Rafting the Arkansas River in Colorado | AVA Rafting
Trip Recommender

Find Your Perfect Adventure

White Water Rafting - Arkansas River



Adventure on the Arkansas

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.

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!

Our Trending Arkansas River Trips


  • LOCATION: Buena Vista, CO VIEW MAP
    ACTIVITIES: Whitewater Rafting Colorado
    DURATION: 1/2 Day
    DIFFICULTY: Level 4 (moderate)
    MINIMUM AGE: 7 years old
    PRICE: from $94 Ages 13+
    from $89 Ages 7-12


     Buena Vista, CO VIEW MAP
    ACTIVITIES: The Numbers Rafting, Via Ferrata
    DURATION: Full Day
    DIFFICULTY: Level 5 (intense)
    MINIMUM AGE: 15 years old
    PRICE: from $238

  • Brown's Canyon Sizzler

     Buena Vista, CO VIEW MAP
    ACTIVITIES: Browns Canyon Sizzler
    DURATION: Full Day
    DIFFICULTY: Level 4 (moderate)
    MINIMUM AGE: 7 years old
    PRICE: from $159

Whitewater Rafting on the Arkansas River

Our Arkansas River trips include a variety of trip lengths, excitement levels and multi-adventure package options.

Our Browns Canyon trips feature a series of class III rapids through the scenic Browns Canyon National Monument, and we offer options for a 1/2 day Browns Canyon, full day Browns Canyon Sizzler or our overnight 24 Hours in Browns. Paddle through the breathtaking granite walls of the canyon with opportunities to view wildlife. Kids ages 7 and up and join us on this section, and the thrilling rapids and breathtaking scenery make this trip great for all ages!

Just north of Browns Canyon lies the Numbers and Narrows sections of the Arkansas River. Our Numbers and Narrow trips are a bit more extreme than Browns Canyon, and rafters must be at least 15 years old to join us on these sections. Our Numbers 1/2 day trip speeds you through exciting class III-V rapids over 6 miles and is perfect for those looking to experience the thrill of more advanced rapids on a half day adventure.

The most extreme section of the Arkansas River is the Pine Creek section of Granite, CO, just a few minutes north of our Buena Vista Outpost. This section features the most technical and challenging whitewater on the Arkansas River. The Pine Creek rapid gradually drops 200 feet and brings you right into the next rapid, Trip Drop Rapid. Our trips on the Pine Creek section are available as a The Gauntlet, a full day trip allowing you to blast down the most continuous section of whitewater on the Arkansas River, as you navigate class III through V rapids on some of Colorado’s fastest whitewater. and 3 day Mild to Wild that includes rafting on Browns Canyon, Pine Creek, Numbers and Narrows sections, as well as an exciting rappel and one night spent under the stars, the other in one of our cozy cabins!

Our Buena Vista outpost also hosts our Mountaintop Zipline and Granite Via Ferrata courses, with opportunities to package your adventure experience and maximize your day! We additionally offer Horseback Riding trips, as well as cabins and campsites!

Best time to raft: May – September

Ages: 7 years old and up

Duration: 1/2 day, full day, multiday

Other Activities: Zipline, Via Ferrata, Rock Climbing, Horseback riding


AVA and the Arkansas River

The Mighty Arkansas River

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. As it winds through the US, it spreads over 1,400 miles, making it the 6th longest river in the states and the 45th longest river in the world.

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 trips on this mighty river, through a variety of rivers classes.

GETTING to the ARkansas River

Our Buena Vista outpost is located just 14 miles north of the town of Buena Vista. 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.

Other Adventure Opportunities

Our Buena Vista outpost hosts a Zipline and Via Ferrata course. Our courses are unique in that they are built directly into the cliffside, allowing you to get into the trees high above the beautiful Arkansas River valley. We also offer Horseback Riding at nearby Princeton Stables, as well as opportunities for Campsite and Cabin rentals and packages for you to maximize your Colorado experience!



All Adventures