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BLM>Colorado>Programs>Recreation>Recreation Areas>Royal Gorge Field Office>Arkansas Headwaters
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Recreation Areas

 
Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area
 
Whitewater rafting on the Arkansas River

The upper valley of Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area encompasses towering peaks and steep canyons. The Arkansas River features some of the state's best fishing, and with rapids ranging from class II to V, the diverse rafting options here are unrivaled. In fact, FIBArk, the oldest whitewater boat race in the country, takes place here annually. Those looking to add variety to a river trip can hike and camp all along the river or enjoy the fantastic mountain biking destinations of the Salida area.  Meanwhile, Big Bend OHV Park and Texas Creek offer exceptional motorized recreational opportunities, and Chinaman Gulch Extreme 4x4 Course is a great place to enjoy four-wheel driving. Popular rock climbing spots in the Buena Vista Area include Pumphouse Rock and Turtle Rock. Winter sports like like downhill skiing, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and snowmobiling are possible at locations such as Monarch.

Field Office:  Royal Gorge

Total Area:  109,107 acres
River Segment:  150 miles
Rapid Classes:  II to V

Activities:
  • Camping
  • Fishing
  • Heritage tourism
  • Hiking
  • Horseback riding
  • Mountain biking
  • Off-highway vehicles
  • Rock climbing
  • Water recreation
  • Wildlife viewing
  • Winter sports
  • 4x4 and jeep touring

       
Attractions, Facilities, & Services:
  • 24 boat launches
  • Fishing access sites
  • Amphitheatre at Ruby Mountain Campground
  • 6 campgrounds with no drinking water or other utilities
  • Undeveloped camping areas
  • Big Bend OHV Park
  • Chinaman Gulch Extreme 4x4 Course
  • Picnic areas
  • Available in Buena Vista, Cañon City, Florence, Leadville and Salida: lodging, restaurants and shops
  • Available in Salida: visitor center

Directions:  From Leadville to Salida, there are a number of access points along US-24/US-285. From Salida to Cañon City, there are access points along US-50.


ARKANSAS HEADWATERS RECREATION AREA HOMEPAGE

 

Additional Information:

About the Arkansas River

Rock climbing