Colorado State Parks: Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area

The Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area (AHRA), located just outside of Salida, is a popular spot for kayaking and whitewater rafting. In fact, according to Colorado Parks & Wildlife, the Arkansas River is the “most commercially rafted river in the United States.” The park also offers camping, fishing, hiking, biking, and wildlife watching and features event space, equestrian stables, picnic areas, and a visitor’s center.

With boating being the park’s most popular activity, the park website features many resources including river safety and flow information, current water temps and daily averages, and a river outfitter’s page. Also, be sure to view the park’s River Safety and Etiquette brochure.

AHRA was established in 1989. In 2001 a park management plan was published for AHRA. A revision of this plan is currently underway, which you can learn more about on the AHRA website. The park also publishes an annual report; issues back to 2000 are available from our library.

Additional resources available on the AHRA website include a bird species list; fly fishing etiquette; a bus drivers’ guide; water needs assessment; videos; and volunteer information.

For more about the Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area and to plan your trip, see the park’s official map and brochure.