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Whitewater Rafting Colorado – Arkansas River

Arkansas River Tours has been offering exceptional whitewater rafting in Colorado since 1973. Colorado’s Rocky Mountains are the birthplace of more major rivers than any other mountain range in the U.S. Colorado’s Arkansas River, the most popular river in America, provides a variety of whitewater rafting experiences ranging from ½ day trips to multi-day trips with camping, easy whitewater for family vacation adventures to challenging extreme adventures in Class IV+ whitewater. Three unique canyons, Bighorn Canyon, Brown’s Canyon and the Royal Gorge provide whitewater rafting trips for the timid beginner to the seasoned veteran.

Bighorn Canyon

Family Rafting in Bighorn Sheep Canyon. First timers or experienced rafters will enjoy fun and exciting Class II-III+ rapids. Trips for families with kids as young as 5 years old.



Royal Gorge

Royal Gorge whitewater rafting is the most challenging Class IV-IV+ rapids we offer! This ultimate rafting experience features huge waves, steep technical drops and almost continuous action.



Browns Canyon

America’s newest National Monument! Combine exciting whitewater with spectacular views of some of Colorado’s highest peaks. Class II-III+ rapids are suitable for families, first timers and experienced rafters.


Multi-Day Trips

A true mini-vacation! Combine Brown’s Canyon, Bighorn Sheep Canyon and the Royal Gorge for 2 or 3 day adventures. Riverside camping, fantastic meals and time around the campfire highlight your Colorado rafting vacation.


More River Adventures

Fly Fishing

Colorado Fly Fishing
Float fish the Gold Medal Arkansas River! Fly fish for Brown and Rainbow trout with our professional guides. Evening Floats to multi-day fishing expeditions. Wilderness 3 day trips in the Gunnison Gorge.


Specialty Trips



  • Gunnison Gorge Photography Workshop with John Fielder
  • Corporate Team Building trips
  • Boy Scout and Girl Scout trips



Gunnison Gorge

Gunnison Gorge Rafting
Wilderness multi-day trips below Black Canyon National Park. This exclusive trip can be run as 2 Day Whitewater adventure or a 3 day Fishing expedition. Gold Medal fishing, exciting rapids plus exquisite scenery and camping.


River & Rail

River and Rail Packages
Combine rafting with a steak or chicken BBQ lunch cooked by the river and a Royal Gorge train ride. Choose a ½ Day Bighorn Sheep Canyon trip or a Cottonwood Family Float to start your adventure.


Recently on the Blog

Royal Gorge Bridge and Park Reopening

Royal Gorge Park & Bridge

This year will be the official reopening of the Royal Gorge Bridge and Park after the devastating fire in 2013. A completely rebuilt Visitors Center on the edge of the Gorge will overlook this dramatic vista. We look forward to partnering with our friends at the Bridge to bring you a package that will include rafting in Bighorn Sheep Canyon or the Royal Gorge, general admission to the Park and a zip line like no other! Imagine zipping 1200 feet over the river from one side of the Gorge to the other for a total length of over 2,000 feet! […]

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Colorado Rafting 2015 Snowpack Update

colorado snowpack

The recent snowstorm has really pushed our snowpack even higher above 100% of normal. It is important to note that the news media will report on the general snowpack conditions and take into account areas of drought in Colorado that are not connected to river recreation. We look to specific measuring sites, called SNOTEL sites, to determine stream flows and potential runoff which are our primary concerns for rafting and fishing conditions. The highlighted numbers are snow water content percentages. Add those 3 numbers, divide by 3 and you get the Arkansas River condition. 121% is very good for late […]

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Brown’s Canyon Designated a National Monument

Browns Canyon in the Fall

Brown’s Canyon National Monument finally designated! President Obama designated the Brown’s Canyon National Monument today through the Antiquities Act. This legislation has been in the works for 27 years. This protection encompasses 22,000 acres surrounding one of Colorado’s most popular river segments for whitewater rafting, kayaking and fishing. This scenic section of the Arkansas River has been a very popular rafting trip for us for over 40 years. Recently, float fishing has also become popular with fly fishing enthusiasts.

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The Arkansas River Fishery Receives Gold Medal Status

trout fishing in colorado

The Arkansas River fishery has received Gold Medal status for the 102 mile stretch from the Lake Fork confluence to Parkdale. In order to receive the listing, a body of water must consistently support a minimum trout standing stock of 60 pounds per acre, and consistently support an average of at least 12 quality trout (larger than 14 inches) per acre. The upper Arkansas has met the criteria for several years now, joining other famous Colorado trout fisheries such as the Fryingpan River, Gunnison River and select sections of the South Platte. Colorado has 322 total miles of Gold Medal […]

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