6 Reasons to Raft the Arkansas River during your Next Breckenridge Vacation

By: Rebecca Dowd

I can think of way more than 6 reasons for rafting the Arkansas River, but we will stick to just these top examples of why this is one of the best placed to go whitewater rafting in Colorado – especially if you are staying in Breckenridge. Here are the top 6 reasons to go rafting on the Arkansas River near Buena Vista, Colorado during your next trip.

  1. Location, location, location
  2. Trips for everyone and every skill level
  3. Views for days
  4. Awesome summer town vibes
  5. Unbelievable drive
  6. Raft through Browns Canyon National Monument

Let me elaborate on each of these a little more, now that I have your attention.

Location: The Arkansas River: Buena Vista, Colorado

This scenic one hour drive is one of the shorter drives you can embark on to get to some of the best whitewater rafting in, not only the state, but the entire country.

There are two routes to get to Buena Vista for your rafting trip, so I like to recommend taking one route there, and another route home for different views.

  • Route 1: I-70 through Leadville, Colorado (claims to be the highest incorporated town in Colorado), over Fremont pass, past Twin Lakes and into Granite for the launch of your rafting trip.
  • Route 2: From Buena Vista, head south towards Fairplay – where the famous show South Park was written about, and then through Alma (also claiming to be the highest incorporated town in Colorado) through Hoosier pass to Breckenridge.

Not only will you find the best rafting in Buena Vista, just 1 hour south of Breckenridge but you will find a whole lot of other things as well. I will dive deeper into that when we reach number 4.

Trip Options: Class III, IV, V whitewater rafting trips

There are not many rafting locations that offer trips for a 7 year old and those adrenaline junkies looking for the more intense whitewater experience.

  • Browns Canyon Rafting – Class III: This is a great trip for everyone and when I say everyone I mean it. I have been rafting for years and this is still one of my favorite trips because there are fun splashy rapids, amazing views, cool history and more. You will have to embark on this trip to see what the “more” part entails.
  • Whitewater Rafting July 4th
  • The Numbers Rafting – Class IV: This trip is great for those 15+ and ready to paddle hard through rapids without a ton of breaks. Don’t let me scare you, this is a great trip even for those who haven’t been whitewater rafting but are looking for an exhilarating experience. Our guides handle the hard part and as long as you listen and are ready to paddle then you are ready for this trip.
  • Whitewater Rafting in August
  • Pine Creek Rafting – Class V: This trip is no joke as you are dropping through rapids at a quick pace and there are very very little breaks. Again, I am not here to scare anyone, but I am here to tell you that this might be that exciting whitewater trip you have been looking for.

Views for Days: Peaks and River Valleys

The Arkansas River Valley is surrounded by 14 thousand foot peaks, so not only are you rafting through an unbelievable canyon, but you are also surrounded by some of the most beautiful and largest mountains in the world.

  • Buena Vista is home to the famous Collegiate Peaks which were renames from the Sawatch Mountain Range once different universities began to travel to the area to study the mountains. These awe inspiring mountains are a must-see.

The Summer Mountain Town you Never Knew You Needed

Buena Vista is the perfect place for a day trip, and like I mentioned before it is the perfect distance from Breckenridge. You will get out of the high alpine environment for a beautiful summer day in an unbelievable river valley. Here are a few reasons why it is so amazing.

  • Amazing restaurants and patios
  • Unbeatable hiking
  • Fly Fishing central
  • Obviously, the best rafting
  • Via ferrata and zipline adventures
  • The Arkansas River runs right through downtown
  • Breweries, bookstores, and bakeries

Awesome drive from Breckenridge

So, we already talked a little bit about the drive from Breckenridge, but just to remind you, it is only one hour south, but you will have thought you traveled 4 hours as you go over amazing passes and drop into this river valley. I highly recommend taking both routes, one on the way there and one on the way home, because you would not believe how different they are.

Browns Canyon National Monument

Under President Obama, Browns Canyon became a national monument and there is not question why. These tall canyon walls are made up of giant boulders made out of Granite. You will pass rainbow rocks, chalk creek and more that just make this an unforgettable place.

I hope these six reasons were enough to convince you to go rafting on the Arkansas River just one hour south of Breckenridge, CO. If you still aren’t so sure, give us a call and we will give you 100 more reasons why this is the summer spot to visit.