Browns Canyon National Monument: History + Rafting = Unforgettable Adventure
March 11th, 2020
Written by Ani Levine
Browns Canyon is one of the most historic and beautiful canyons in Colorado. It is known for fishing and hiking and is the most popular destination for white water rafting in the country.
Located between Buena Vista and Salida at elevations above 7000 feet, Browns Canyon is the perfect spot for adventure and family fun! The awe-inspiring views of the Arkansas River Valley and Sawatch Range of the Rocky Mountains with make your trip truly unforgettable.
Historic Remnants Tell the Story of A “Rich” History
To understand the history of Browns Canyon we must explore the mining that led to much of the development in Colorado. Commercial mining first took off in 1927. By 1949, the industry had mined nearly 5 million dollars’ worth of fluorspar. Remanence of the rich history of this area can be seen throughout the canyon, where old cabins, previously occupied by miners, can be found with a keen eye.
The conservation process for Browns Canyon National Monument began in 1972 when the National Forest Service found the area suitable to be designated wilderness. This process was completed in 1993 when it was designated a wilderness study area, preventing mining there. In February 2015, President Obama visited the area and officially declared Browns Canyon a national Monument.
This monument encompasses 21,586 acres of unspoiled canyons, rivers and backcountry forest helping to further the American Ideal of natural conservation. Whether on foot or in a raft, this protected monument allows visitors to continue to enjoy the canyons profound beauty and spectacular views.
Some of the Best Rafting In the Country
Rafting Browns Canyon takes you 10+ miles down the beautiful Arkansas River. With your highly trained guide and the rest of your crew, you will navigate the exciting class III rapids Browns Canyon National Monument has to offer.
Children as young as 7 years old can enjoy the splendor of this granite canyon. Those seeking adventure will enjoy the thrill of rapids like Zoom Flume and Pinball. For a once in a life time experience, overnight trips take the fun to the next level.
Whether you are camping or staying in a cabin on the shores of the beautiful Arkansas River, you will have time to step back from technology and the rush of everyday life, relaxing into “river time”. It doesn’t matter if water levels are high or low because a trip down Browns Canyon is always enjoyable.
My first rafting trip down Browns Canyon was full of excitement and laughter. It was a day full of big splashes, great views and a little bit of sun burn. I even had a chance to take a quick dip in the river to cool off! It was nothing like any other rafting trip I’ve been on and my favorite rapid was Toilet Bowl but the Fractions came in as a close second. The highlight of the day was seeing a bald eagle and two big horn sheep!
An adventure in Browns Canyon is the total package. Whether you come for the history, scenery, or world renowned white water, you will come away with unforgettable memories from your perfect trip.