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region_urltitle colorado
site_id 4
id 7
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r colorado
region_id 72
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Arkansas River

The Arkansas River forms out of the white-capped Collegiate Mountains of the Sawatch Range. Of the 18 peaks, half of them are over 14,000 feet and are some of the tallest of the Rocky Mountains. From here the Arkansas flows through or nearby towns like Leadville, Buena Vista, Salida, Canyon City, and Pueblo, the largest town the river travels through in Colorado. The river drops 4,600 feet in 120 miles and flows through Kansas, Oklahoma, and Arkansas where it leads to the mighty Mississippi River. The locals of Colorado ask that visitors are respectful and follow the rules and etiquette that comes with river rafting, fishing, and enjoying the other activities found along the Arkansas. Be sure to get a fishing license and learn the rules, leaving Colorado as you found it when you leave.

Whitewater Rafting

As the sixth longest river in the U.S., the Arkansas is known to be one of the most commercially rafted river, due to its ability to produce anything from Class I or II rapids to Class V, for the advanced rafters and kayakers. When planning a trip to Colorado to raft, it’s advisable to pay attention to high-water warnings and to raft with a seasoned guide or group.


Anyone who enjoys fishing should consider spending time along the river. Here you can camp out and eat the fish you caught cooked in a campfire you built. There’s nothing quite like that experience! Sections of the river allow you to keep a certain number of fish and the rest you return to the water. Again, be sure to know the rules of the area. Fishing is best early morning or late evening, after the whitewater rafters and kayakers have retired for the day. The trout population is 90 percent self-reproducing brown trout and 10 percent Colorado River rainbows. You can expect about 2,000 fish per mile on the average.


The Arizona Headwaters Recreation Area is part of the Colorado State Park system and has six campsites along the Arkansas River. You must reserve a campsite in advance and there is a $16 fee for campers. Bring your own water, but the sites do have waste areas, as well as fire pits, helping to prevent forest fires. Be sure to read the rules and regulations, know how to keep the people in your group safe, and be respectful to your surroundings, leaving Colorado as you found it.

Colorado Summer Adventure Deals

Discover savings by browsing the group areas provided and find discounts for whitewater rafting and other activities, including deals on lodging in the area.

Map Courtesy of Creative Commons