Featured River: The Arkansas River

Rafting on the Arkansas River in Colorado

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. 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: 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, like you see on the Eagle River or Clear Creek.”

Colorado's Arkansas River is perfect for rafting

Enjoy Stunning Views while Rafting

According to Cole, the backdrop on the Arkansas River 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. Raft the Arkansas River as a group!Brave Arkansas River's whitewater rapids

Tackle 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.

Float through a National Monument

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.”

For more information on our rafting trips, or on any of the great outdoor adventures that we offer from Sage headquarters in Vail, explore the rest of our website at SageOutdoorAdventures.com or call us at 970-476-3700.

Sage’s Summer Whitewater Rafting Trip Options

Rafting with Sage Outdoor Adventures

Ready for summer and some warmer weather? Tell us about it! Here at Sage, the summer season offers an endless array of adventures, including one of our favorites: whitewater rafting!

As the sun starts to shine and melt the heaps of snow winter brought, spring runoff flows down the mountains of central Colorado and announces the beginning of rafting season. From whitewater adventures to scenic family float trips, the wild rivers of Colorado are the perfect setting for lifelong memories.

A Guide to Our Rafting Trip Options

Thinking about joining us on one of the rivers? Below, Cole Bangert and Joe Tomasic give some insight into the rafting trip options that we have available at Sage. Then, take a look at our rafting classifications and book a trip!

 

Class II Rafting Trips

Our rafting trips on the upper Colorado River are perfect for families of all ages. You’ll raft through incredible canyon scenery, experience small rapids, and have plenty of time to play and splash in the River. Participants as young as 3 years old can get in on the fun.

Class III Rafting Trips

We have a wide variety of Class III trips available on the Colorado River, Gore Creek, the lower Eagle River, and the Arkansas River. These whitewater trips are a ton of fun! Some of our class III trips are available to rafters as young as 6-years-old, while others can be more challenging. Depending on the age of participants, how much time you have, and what you’d like to experience, we can help plan the perfect summer rafting adventure.

Class IV+ Rafting Trips

For the adventure seekers, we have incredible class IV and V trips available on the upper Eagle River and the Arkansas River. For rafters ages 16 and up, these are some memorable trips on some of the best whitewater in the country!

If you have questions or if you’d like to begin planning your summer trip, please give us a call at 970-476-3700 or check out our rafting activity page. We’d love to help you plan the ultimate summer adventure!

Take a Summer Rafting Trip down one of Colorado's many rivers