Downtown salida colorado and river

The Top 3 Salida River Adventures

There are many ways to explore a new area, one of the best being the experience of a river adventure! When it comes to our neck of the woods, Salida river adventures are the perfect way to experience the city. In Salida, the Arkansas River flows right through the center of downtown, so it’s no wonder that time on the river is a popular past-time. To get your feet wet, we’ve compiled a list of the 3 best river adventures in and around Salida to help you have the best experience possible.

1. Tubing in Salida

Sometimes, it’s nice to keep things close and simple, needing nothing but a tube and some water to float on. Well, if you’re staying in Salida, you’re in luck. With the Arkansas River flowing right through the middle of town, you don’t need to walk very far. In fact, there are four playful whitewater features in Riverside Park, perfect for Salida river tubing. The best part? There’s a walking path right along the bank eliminating any need to schedule a shuttle. Grab your rubber vessel, float through the park, rinse and repeat the Salida river tubing.

2. Paddleboarding

Over the last decade or so, a new Salida river adventure has emerged – standup paddleboarding (SUP). It has exploded in popularity. From doing yoga on lakes to braving whitewater rapids, the activity is seeing participation in many forms. If you’re just starting out, we recommend getting your feet under you (literally) in the flat water. Cottonwood Lake, O’Haver Lake, Clear Creek Reservoir, and Twin Lakes are all learner-friendly and within an hour’s drive.

For more advanced SUPers out there, the Arkansas River immediately around Salida has a variety of intermediate whitewater. Check out any of these three sections for active paddling with rapids up to Class III: The Town Run (Big Bend boat ramp to Salida East boat ramp), Browns Canyon (Fisherman’s Bridge to Hecla Junction), and Lower Browns (Hecla Junction to Stone Bridge).

3. Arkansas River Whitewater Rafting

When it comes to Salida river Adventures, whitewater rafting is a bucket-list experience! The Arkansas River is a waterway renowned for its variety of whitewater and accessibility to all levels and abilities. From placid meandering stretches to splashy wave trains and exhilarating rapids, the river offers something for everyone. Be it upstream in Browns Canyon or downstream through Bighorn Sheep Canyon and on through the Royal Gorge, when it comes to rafting Salida, adventure awaits around every bend.

When planning your river excursion, consult Arkansas River Tours. We guide trips all throughout the region and can provide expert advice on what stretch is right for you. Plus, we have private access located in Cotopaxi, just 25 miles downriver of Salida in the heart of Bighorn Sheep Canyon, Colorado. To make things simple, we’ll break things into 3 categories: beginner, intermediate, and advanced/expert. Those on the beginner side of things, or with small children aboard, should check out the Cottonwood Family Float. With some small rapids and fantastic swimming holes, this trip is great for folks new to whitewater and is one of our most popular family whitewater rafting trips. For the intermediates out there, Bighorn Sheep Canyon is an easy choice and one of the most popular Salida whitewater rafting floats in the area. Here, you’ll experience fun Class III rapids spliced with calm stretches and amazing landscapes. If you’re a bold, adrenaline junkie, you may consider a trip down the rapid-laden Royal Gorge rafting. While you won’t have much time to take in the scenery, your trip will be filled with big hydraulics, swirling water, and crashing waves around every bend.

Find the Gear You Need

Looking for gear? The Salida area has plenty of rental companies and outfitters to set you up for success on the water. Totally Tubular River Rentals, Badfish SUP, and Dvorak Watersport Rentals in Nathrop can provide all the necessary essentials for a day of Salida river tubing, paddle boarding, and more. When it comes to rafting Salida or a guided fly fishing trip, Arkansas River Tours is your one-stop shop for unforgettable Salida river adventures. Happy floating!

By: Arkansas River Tours
Share this post:


Trips for all ages & experience

Find Your
Right Trip