Adventure on Water: Whitewater Rafting at the Arkansas River

Arkansas sign board

Arkansas sign boardWhen you speak of the Arkansas River, the first thing that comes to mind for some people is whitewater rafting. With the stunning sights and the clear rapids, the Arkansas River has become the most popular whitewater rafting in the U.S.

The river flows from the Colorado Rockies, going through Buena Vista and Salida and onward to the plains of Cañon City. The river stretches 95 miles.

For an unforgettable whitewater adventure, the team of American Adventure Expeditions suggests these two activities to include in your itinerary:

A tumble down the Royal Gorge

Based on the standardized International Scale of River Difficulty, Class III rapids have irregular moderate waves and fast current, which are not always possible to avoid. If you have good control of the boat, you can still steer away from obstructions and large waves.

Class IV rapids are powerful and turbulent. They have constricted passages, unavoidable waves, which may pose as a major hazard for rafters. Nevertheless, if the person handling the boat is capable of precision maneuvering, the boat can pass through without incident.

The Royal Gorge features Class III-IV rapids, which make for a classic adrenaline-pumping experience. This is one of the whitewater adventures you shouldn’t miss. It’s best to go through this route on an overnight trip.

The Challenge of Pine Creek

If you are after highly challenging rapids, there is no better choice than the famous Pine Creek Gauntlet. This is the Class V rapids section of the River — it’s the real deal. This stretch of the Arkansas River features breathtaking canyon walls of the surrounding landscape. The Pine Creek route is ideal for experienced rafters.

You can always choose your own adventure when planning a whitewater rafting trip. Travel companies offer different tour options, including half-day boat rides and overnight excursions. Whichever tour you choose, the wonders of the Arkansas River will make you want to come back for more.