The AHRA – and its avid patrons – follow the beautiful but unpredictable, wild-to-mild river for 150 miles from the historic town of Leadville, through the Sawatch mountain range and Colorado’s tallest mountains, all the way down to Pueblo on the edge of Colorado’s plains.
Boaters can find anything from roaring Class IV and V rapids to milder Class II and III sections, which are ideal for beginner and family trips. The upper Arkansas River is the most popular whitewater boating river in the United States. On any spring or summer day, hundreds of private and commercial rafters and kayakers will challenge the churning rapids or glide through the calmer sections of the Arkansas.
AHRA visitors also enjoy fishing , hiking , camping , picnicking, wildlife waching, mountain biking, rock climbing , and even gold panning along the river’s shores, deep canyons, broad valleys and towering mountain peaks found within the upper Arkansas River valley.
Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area offers a choice of six campgrounds from north to southeast along the Arkansas River: Railroad Bridge, Ruby Mountain, Hecla Junction, Rincon, Vallie Bridge and Five Points Campgrounds. AHRA campgrounds offer campers the experience of "backcountry" camping while being accessible and in the heart of outdoor recreation. All of the campgrounds are open 365 days a year, barring severe weather. With the right camping equipment and clothing for our chilly nights, you'll find day time temperatures moderate along the river most of the year and perfect for an "off-season" getaway.
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