navigation bar
Arkansas River, Colorado
Report by Marc W. McCord

navigation bar River descriptions categorized by state First Aid and general safety information Southwest Paddler on-line store Southwest Paddler Yellow Pages listings Environmental issues and concerns Photos of rivers and surrounding areas Trip reports with photos How to advertise on Southwest Paddler Advertiser Index Internet links to related information and services Southwest Paddler visitor comments General disclaimer Product Reviews Federal and state navigation laws Credits for contributors Web Campfire

SOAR Inflatable Canoes - Somewhere On A River

The Arkansas River (or Kicka, as it was known to the Pawnee Nation), sourcing near Leadville, Colorado, flows 1,469 miles across Colorado, Kansas, Northeastern Oklahoma and Arkansas to the confluence of the Mississippi River about 600 miles north of New Orleans. In Colorado, the Arkansas River flows through Lake, Chaffee, Fremont and Pueblo Counties between Leadville and Pueblo Reservoir dropping some 10,000 feet in about 125 miles. It is a cross-section of other Colorado rivers, ranging in difficulty from easy Class I / II to very technical Class V/VI drops, though most of the river is rated in the range from Class III to IV. The water is cold, the ride is wild and the grandient in the channel is steep. The "flattest" sections are below Salida, with a gradient of 23 feet per mile (FPM) or below Canon City on a gradient of less than 16 FPM, and the steepest section is "The Numbers", with a gradient of 71 FPM.

The reaches between Granite and Canon City total about 102 miles, though the river can be paddled many miles above Granite and below Canon City. In fact, it is possible to go all the way to Pueblo Reservoir, though there are some man-made obstructions, detailed in the individual reach descriptions, to negotiate along the way. Numerous public access points and campgrounds along the way allow paddlers to plan trips of varying lengths and sections, taking into account the varying difficulty of the different reaches described herein. In addition to the ten sections described, the Arkansas River offers several runs on feeder creeks that provide some really hairy rides. Most of the creek runs are best left to expert kayakers in playboats or creek boats. The sections and creek runs are described individually at the links below.

Click the links below for information regarding the section of the Arkansas River and its tributaries where you want to paddle.

Arkansas River

[ Hayden Meadow to Granite ] [ Granite to Numbers Launch Site ] [ Numbers Launch Site to Railroad Bridge ]
[ Railroad Bridge to Buena Vista Baseball Field ] [ Buena Vista Town Run ] [ Fisherman's Bridge to Stone Bridge ]
[ Stone Bridge to Rincon ] [ Rincon to Pinnacle Rock ] [ Pinnacle Rock to Canon City ] [ Canon City to Pueblo Reservoir ]


[ Grape Creek ] [ Lake Creek ]

Southwest Paddler
Click to return to the Southwest Paddler Homepage
Home Page
Southwest Paddler

Colorado Rivers Index
Canoeman River

Guide Services
Return to the homepage
Home Page

CobraGraphics - Web Designs with a Bite!

Send E-mail This web page designed, created and maintained by
Marc W. McCord dba CobraGraphics
© February 11, 2003. All rights reserved.
Last updated August 26, 2021

Copyright © 1997-2021, Marc W. McCord dba CobraGraphics. All rights reserved. Southwest Paddler, CobraGraphics and Canoeman River Guide Services are trademarks of Marc W. McCord dba CobraGraphics. The textual, graphic, audio, and audio/visual material in this site is protected by United States copyright law and international treaties. You may not copy, distribute, or use these materials except for your personal, non-commercial use. Any trademarks are the property of their respective owners. All original photographs on this web site are the exclusive property of Marc W. McCord or other designated photographers and may not be copied, duplicated, reproduced, distributed or used in any manner without prior written permission under penalty of US and International laws and treaties.