Welcome to the Bureau of Land Management’s Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area, managed cooperatively with Colorado State Parks. The Arkansas River valley is a lush and varied ecosystem, ranging from the cottonwoods and pines lining the river, to pinon pine covered slopes, and culminating with 14,000 ft snow-capped peaks.

 

When you think of the Arkansas River, what comes to mind? That's right - world class whitewater. Mild rapids that are fun for the relaxing float or whiteknuckle Class Five thrill rides. People come from all over the west to experience the Arkansas. Rafts, Kayaks, you name it. Explore on your own, or hook up with one of the many excellent river guides. Either way, you'll have the time of your life!

 

Like the satisfaction of filling you creel with brown and rainbow trout? You've come to the right place. Heck, you may even land one of those trophy lunkers hiding in the crystal clear pools. Try visiting during the caddis and stonefly hatch in the spring - you'll have even better luck! Fishing regulations vary, so check the rules in the area you’ll be fishing. We promise you'll be hooked!

 

If motorized sports is more your style, then this is the place for you. From backcountry exploring to wild action, you will be sure find what you want.

Carnage Canyon and Chinaman Gulch are known as two of the most extreme 4by4 trails in Colorado. But here you better have an extreme built rig. No wimpy trucks allowed!

Or how about some throttle twisting, high jumping action? BigBend OHV area caters to the adrenaline crowd whether its motorcycles or ATV's. And that's not the only place - Texas Creek has miles of trails to explore also. Just stick to designated routes!

 

Speaking of heart pounding action, whether it's from climbing a scenic single track, or the thrill of a fast downhill, mountain biking in the AHRA will get your blood pumping!  We have trails for the tenderfoot, or knarly technical sections for you real shredders!

You can ride straight out of Salida to access the Arkansas Hill and Mehodist Mountain trails, or try the hundreds of miles of trails around, like the Fourmile area by BuenaVista. And the world famous Colorado Trail that parallels the Arkansas valley - can't miss that!

 

OK, still not exciting enough for you? How about hanging on a handhold on your way up one of the incredible granite outcroppings like Turtle Rock, or any of the other nearby climbing areas. Plenty of routes, even 5 ten and above, and they're all listed in available guidebooks. Sport, Trad, you name it - but be sure to wear a helmet.

 

No matter what your adventure, you will be traveling through some of the most scenic areas in Colorado. The river valley is guarded on the west by some of the most impressive peaks in the Rockies – Mt Elbert and Mt. Massive, the two highest in Colorado. For 150 miles from Leadville, through BuenaVista and Salida, and all the way to Canon City you won't stop staring at the scenery.

 

History abounds in this area, and you can visit the past by doing a little gold panning! You can run even use a small sluice without a permit, but be sure to check the rules for your area- no claim jumpers allowed here!

No matter what you do during the day, spending the night under the stars caps the real outdoor experience, and there plenty of developed and undeveloped campgrounds around. Try one of the many State Park locations or pick your own spot by the side of a mountain trail. Facilities and services vary, but heck, just give us a call and we'll find the perfect site. Remember, Leave no Trace

 

Got your attention? Want to know more? Our office is in downtown Salida, and you can call us at (719) 539-7289. Or visit our website that we share with Colorado State Parks at parks.state.co.us/Parks/arkansasheadwaters

Be responsible, but have fun. See you soon!