Exploring the Arkansas River

Exploring the Arkansas River Salida, Colorado

The Arkansas River lazily winds its way through many states providing ample opportunities to enjoy its refreshing freshwaters. The most scenic area the river runs through is near the town of Salida, Colorado. Find out more about all the amazing adventures awaiting you on the Arkansas River 

Arkansas River

Outdoor enthusiasts love the greatest rivers in the country for their amazing views, wonderful fishing, and great escape opportunities. The Arkansas River is no exception to the rule! Coming in at the sixth-longest river in the United States, its headwater begins near Leadville, Colorado, and flows east into the Midwest. It heads south through Oklahoma and Arkansas to end its journey as a tribute to the Mississippi River.

Best known for trout fishing, the Arkansas River offers much more to those who live for the outdoors. Activities such as white-water rafting, hiking, camping, kayaking, trail rides, and more can be found surrounding Salida, Colorado. There are even festivals that revolve around the Arkansas River!

In the water- Fishing

Fishing is by far the most popular activity around the river, fly fishing to be exact. Trout are abundant in the area and the fish are just waiting for the right fly to land. Trout Unlimited has named the Arkansas River to be one of the top 100 trout streams within the United States. Providing mostly brown trout, the river estimates of “trout-per-mile” range from 2,000 to 5,000 fish.

 The best fishing conditions are when the river has marked low flows, which are about 1,200 cubic feet per second. There are bag limits, as per state allowances, and some exceptions exist. While in the 7.5 mile stretch of the ‘gold medal water’ up to four brown trout of any size can be bagged, however, due to conservation efforts, all rainbow trout must be returned to the waters. The stretch of the Arkansas River that runs from the Stockyard Bridge just east of Salida to Fernleaf Gulch between Cotopaxi and Texas Creek was named to be the ‘gold medal waters’ due to the abundance of trout and the best chance for award-winning fish, by the Colorado Parks and Wildlife.

In the water- Boating

The crystal-clear waters of the Arkansas River provide more than an excellent fishing area. There is the potential for a relaxing float downriver, an energetic kayak adventure, or a thrilling white water rafting experience on top of beaches and swimming.

Beaches and swimming appeal to every generation. Kids love to watch the small minnows in the shallows while the older generations love to watch the river race by. Though most beaches along the river are not sandy, they are still popular places to stop by and enjoy a family picnic and a cool dip in the water on hot summer days.

If you would rather stay on the water for a longer time, just relaxing, enjoy a tube ride down the river. Totally Tubular River Rentals rents out river tubes and other equipment to enjoy relaxing and floating down the river. They also give directions on where you can stop, trek back to the rental, and restart your experience for a full day of relaxing rides.

Performance Tours Rafting Discount

Those looking for a more exciting, adventure-filled day should check out the white-water rafting. Independent Whitewater is among one of the highest-rated white water rafting companies in Salida, offering six rafting packages for all ages and skill levels. If you are looking to venture out on your own they also rent equipment for visitors to enjoy the river. If you are looking for the most variety of rental options, look no further than CKS-Colorado Kayak Supply where you can rent Kayaks, SUP, rafts, and more. 

On land

Prefer to stay dry for at least one afternoon during your visit? Book an exciting horseback trail ride, explore the mountain trails on foot or take an ATV up the mountain on a guided tour. Hungry? Some of the best restaurants in Salida, Colorado you can find along the river.

Food is a basic need, even when you are on vacation. Good food and wine are as easy to find as tubing down the river. Visit Vino Salida Wine Cellars for education on Colorado viticulture and a wonderful wine tasting paired with a local antipasti plate. If you are looking for a romantic spot on the river, consider 216 Ferraro’s for freshly made pasta and an appealing atmosphere.

Staying in one place can be healthy and relaxing as well. Take a break from the river itself and enjoy a Colorado craft beer from one of the local watering holes. Locals enjoy The Drift In Riverside Bar & Grill or the Boathouse Cantina. These are only a couple of the best places to fuel up for your day on the river or share stories of the days’ adventures when you are done.

The Arkansas River lazily winds its way through many states providing ample opportunities to enjoy its refreshing freshwaters. The most scenic area the river runs through is near the town of Salida, Colorado. Find out more about all the amazing adventures awaiting you on the Arkansas River 

Enjoy the festivities

Like any other city, there are traditional festivities in the area. A couple of these include the Paddlefest of Buena Vista and celebrating Father’s Day at the FIBArk.

Enjoy your visit to Buena Vista as the Paddlefest begins its traditional beginning of summer festivities. Held over Memorial Day weekend the festivities include instructional kayak courses, live music, competitions, and games. Venders attend to support new gears, and a gear swap area is one of the best attractions. Enjoy the festivities and participate in the conservation of the Arkansas River with the River clean-up with raffle prizes.

Father’s Day is always a special day for father figures and their children. FIBArK helps celebrate not only Father’s Day but the melting of the snow, providing the best waters for the First In Boating on the Arkansas race. The race is combined with a three-day festival commemorating the arrival of the spring and has invited international interests to compete on the “Meanest stretch of whitewater in the world”. Enjoy the raft rodeo, food, and shows as the participates run the multiple river races.

Place to rest

At the end of the day, there comes a time when you need to rest up for another amazing day on the Arkansas River. Allow Creekside Chalets to be the place to go. With lodging with one to three bedrooms, there are cabins for any size camper. Minutes from Monarch Mountain the views are breathtaking in any season. Book now to enjoy all Salida, Colorado has to offer.