What to do in Arkansas Headwaters State Park

This park offers some of the highest quality white water opportunities in the country. Welcome to the Arkansas Headwaters, one of the nation's most unusual recreation areas. The region stretches 148 miles along one of the West's premier recreation rivers, the Arkansas. From its northern boundary below the fabled mining town of Leadville to the bass-filled waters of Pueblo Reservoir, the area is a recreation paradise. The terrain includes 14,000-foot peaks to steep-walled gorges, and opportunities for recreationists of all levels.

The Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area is a landmark cooperative effort by Colorado State Parks and the U.S. Bureau of Land Management. By continuing to manage public lands and recreation on the Arkansas River, the agencies can give visitors the best of all worlds along this legendary river — and care for recreation and natural resources at the same time.

Welcome to the Arkansas Headwaters, one of the nation's most unusual recreation areas. The region stretches 148 miles along one of the West's premier recreation rivers, the Arkansas. From its northern boundary below the fabled mining town of Leadville to the bass-filled waters of Pueblo Reservoir, the area is a recreation paradise. The terrain includes 14,000-foot peaks to steep-walled gorges, and opportunities for recreationists of all levels.

The Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area is a landmark cooperative effort by Colorado State Parks and the U.S. Bureau of Land Management. By continuing to manage public lands and recreation on the Arkansas River, the agencies can give visitors the best of all worlds along this legendary river — and care for recreation and natural resources at the same time.

Recreation
Recreation opportunities abound for fishing, rafting, kayaking, picnicking, wildlife watching, hiking, camping, mountain climbing and sightseeing among deep canyons, broad valleys and towering mountains within the drainage. Fine dining, lodging and a western welcome are offered by the towns along the path of the Arkansas.

Location
The Headwaters of the Arkansas begin a few miles northwest of Leadville in the mountains of the Sawatch Range. The river leads through the valley, known as the Upper Arkansas River Valley, between the Sawatch and Mosquito mountain ranges to Salida. From Leadville to just north of Salida Highway 24 parallels the flow of the river. The drainage turns east, continues through Salida and flows south toward Canon City and Pueblo. From Salida Highway 50 follows the drainage through the Arkansas River Canyon and Canon City to Pueblo. The journey lasts 148 miles.

Climate
Climate conditions in Colorado should be taken seriously throughout the state. Snow and ice are common on roads and trails from mid-October through late April. In the summer months, snow is still possible but less common. Varying conditions throughout a given day can be expected throughout the year. Remember that summer days can typically have beautiful sunny mornings and short sudden thunderstorms in the afternoon. Please prepare appropriately for your outdoor experience.

Address
P.O. Box 126
307 W. Sackett Street
Salida, CO 81201

Phone: 719-539-7289

Fax: 719-539-3771

Email: ahra@state.co.us
  • Arkansas Headwaters State Park Travel Q&A