The Arkansas River in Colorado is home to some of North America’s most popular whitewater stretches. Here you’ll find everything from the wild, 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 the majestic Colorado mountain terrain and the excitement of continuous whitewater and you get the best whitewater trips available in Colorado!
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 Rafting & Zipline was established in 1998 in Buena Vista, CO, making the Arkansas River our original rafting headquarters. Rafting trips on the Arkansas River are available from late April through Labor Day each year. 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. Choose from 1/2 day, 3/4 day, full day or our 24 hour overnight trip for your Browns Canyon adventure. Kids ages 7 and up and join us on this section, but the thrilling rapids and breathtaking scenery make this trip great for all ages and desired experiences.
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. The full day trip combines the Numbers and Narrows section with a chicken fajita lunch on the river cooked by your guide. We also have a 1/2 day trip of the Numbers section, as well as an overnight that rafts the Numbers, Narrows and Browns Canyon called the 2 Day Advanced.
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 1/2 day, full day and 3 day Mild to Wild Overnight that includes the Browns Canyon, Pine Creek, Numbers and Narrows sections over 3 days and 2 nights on the river.
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