Whitewater rafting has always been outstanding here in the Vail Valley and across Colorado, and we’d like to introduce you to another one of our favorite rivers.
In case you missed our previous featured rivers, go back and check out our profile on the Shoshone rapids through Glenwood Canyon – Shoshone rafting is great for families. Also check out the Upper Eagle River and Gore Creek, which offer some of Colorado’s best early-season rafting from Vail, down through Avon and Beaver Creek.
Arkansas River: Whitewater Rafting on Colorado’s Ultimate Rafting River
This time, let’s talk about the Arkansas River. The ‘Ark’ is well-known in Colorado for its incredible whitewater all summer long. But there’s more than just rapids that make the Arkansas special.
“The Arkansas River brings to mind crystal clear, relatively warm water, in a semi-arid desert with warm air temps that create a perfect rafting environment,” Commented Cole Bangert, owner and guide here at Sage. “It’s totally unique in the west. The flows on the Ark are augmented by reservoirs upstream, so rafting is phenomenal all summer; not just during early snowmelt periods.”
Those experienced with Clear Creek Colorado rafting, or trips on the Eagle River, know that those are a couple of Colorado rafting trips that rely heavily on that early snowmelt period.
Enjoy Stunning Views While Rafting Through Browns Canyon Rapids
According to Cole, the backdrop on the Arkansas, with Browns Canyon rafting trips or the Numbers excursions, also makes it unique. The entire corridor is lined with towering 14,000-foot peaks, the highest concentration of “14-ers” in the state. With snow-capped peaks above and desert granite boulders below, the banks of the Arkansas River are scattered ponderosa pine, and the vanilla aroma from their bark fills the air.
If all that isn’t enough, the whitewater is top quality.
Tackle the Arkansas River’s Powerful Rapids
“The upper stretches of the Arkansas River boast big class V rapids, with the steepest commercially-run rapid in the U.S.,” Cole added. “The Pine Creek section drops at a gradient of over 200 feet per mile. This is a mile-long class V rapid with tricky moves, fast water, big waves, and big hydraulics that must be run with precision and power.”
Just below Pine Creek is the popular, “Numbers” stretch, where rafters will find some of the most fun class IV drops anywhere in Colorado. The numbers rapids of the Arkansas River are some of the most famous waters for experienced rafters to enjoy in this great state.
Float Through a National Monument While Arkansas River Rafting
And finally, below the town of Buena Vista is the most popular stretch on the Arkansas River, Browns Canyon National Monument. This spectacular canyon was designated a National Monument in 2015, and for good reason.
“Here, you have the opportunity to float through a jaw-dropping gorge,” Cole concluded. “It consists of ten miles of class III rapids, where groups and families can enjoy an incredible experience amid these impressive natural surroundings.”
Even if you’re looking for fun things to do in Avon, CO, which is closest to the Eagle River, don’t discount the Arkansas River close by.
Explore the rest of our site for more info on rafting trips and other activities offered at Sage, or give us a call at 970-476-3700.