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Paddlesports Schools:

Rocky Mountain Outdoor Center
Located in:
Salida, CO

More Details
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Whitewater Kayaking, Rafting, Rock Climbing, & Mountain Biking: Guided Tours and Professional Instruction. Choose your own a (more...)
site home  :: self guided home  :: U.S. river guide  :: Rivers in Colorado  :: Arkansas River Colorado  :: Browns Canyon Whitewater Kayaking & Canoeing Trip

Browns Canyon Whitewater Kayaking & Canoeing Trip on the Arkansas River

Surfing the Canyon Doors - Paddler: Jeff Henke at 2000 cfs
Surfing the Canyon Doors - Paddler: Doug Loughry at 2000 cfs Keep your eyes open for the endless stream of rubber at 2000 cfs Brown's Creek above Zoom Flume at 700 cfs Toilet Bowl Rapid at 700 cfs Pink Panther Rock above Brown's Creek
Seidel's Suckhole Rapid at 5000 cfs Pinball Rapid at 700 cfs Back Door Rapid at 700 cfs Right Hand Squeeze Rapid at 700cfs Staircase Rapid 7 at 700 cfs
Jump Rock Staircase Rapid 5 at 700 cfs Big Drop Rapid at 700 cfs Pinball Rapid at 700 cfs

View larger map of Browns Canyon & get directions
Click 'Earth' to fly through the canyon!

Browns Canyon Video

Canyon Doors Surf - Paddler: Jeff Henke
Browns Canyon Info
Use this information at your own risk. See our legal notices.
Put In:  Fisherman's Bridge
Take Out:  Stone Bridge
Difficulty:  Class III , Class IV
Gradient:  37 ft/mi
Run Length:  12 miles
Flow Information (phone):  watertalk 303-831-7135, 2*, 59*. Arkansas River at Nathrop, CO.
Good Level:  700 - 4500 cfs
Streamflow Comments: 

The flows usually peak between the 1st and 3rd week of June at somewhere between 2000 cfs and 6000 cfs. The water managers try to keep it near 700 cfs for the remainder of the summer. The water is usually turned off in mid-August.

The typical off-season flows are between 150 cfs and 350 cfs. It can spike up at times due to a fast melt-off of low lying snow but this is very rare. The river is runnable without portage in a small craft at these low flows. In a raft, there will be some places where you have to portage, simply because there isn't enough water.

Season Comments:  May, June, July, August
Permit:  Daily self issued permits required. You can find them at the access points. $3/person for river access and use of picnic site, additional fees for camping
Character/Similar To:  medium sized river with deep channels. Lot's of play and at high water some of the rapids link together to form continuous whitewater.
Water Craft:  kayak,wwcan,raft
Land Ownership:  After the first couple of miles it is public. Watch for signs along river designating public lands
Wilderness:  no
Camping on River:  yes on public lands
Location:  In the Rocky Mtn Region (CO), 142 miles Southwest of Denver
Shuttle Logistics: 

Put-In: turn east off Hwy 285 2 miles north of Nathrop (mile marker 24) on county road 301. Cross the river and turn right at the top of the river.

Take-Out: Turn east off Hwy 291 onto county road 190 then turn right into the Stone Bridge recreation area.

Browns Canyon on the Arkansas River

Browns Canyon is the classic whitewater run in Colorado. Through the summer months, the Arkansas river has fairly predictable flows with easy access and generally warm dry weather.

As a result, this is the most popular whitewater section of river in the entire U.S. Most of the river traffic is commercial rafting so late afternoons and during the week are the best time to kayak the run.

Browns Canyon has good play at most levels above 700 cfs. There is a really nice hole that develops in the canyon door rapid at the beginning of the rapids about 4 miles from the put-in.

Last Edited by bradgoet on 4/21/2011

Towns near Browns Canyon Kayaking

Aspen Colorado
Breckenridge Colorado
Buena Vista Colorado
Cañon City Colorado
Colorado Springs Colorado
Crested Butte Colorado
Denver Colorado
Dillon Colorado
Frisco Colorado
Garfield - Monarch Colorado
Golden Colorado
Gunnison Colorado
Keystone Colorado
Leadville Colorado
Manitou Springs Colorado
Salida Colorado
Silverthorne Colorado
South Fork Colorado
Vail Colorado

Other Resources

Conservation Organizations
  • Save The Poudre
  • Sierra Club-Poudre Canyon Group
  • Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado
  • Newspapers
  • Chaffee County Times
  • Mountain Mail
  • River Managing Agencies
  • Colorado State Parks
  • Rocky Mountain Kayak Clubs
  • Colorado School of Mines Kayak Club
  • Colorado Whitewater Association
  • High Country River Rafters
  • Pikes Peak Whitewater Club
  • Poudre Paddlers
  • Rocky Mountain Canoe Club
  • Travel Guides
  • Buena Vista Chamber of Commerce
  • Chaffee County Visitor's Bureau
  • Colorado Vacation & Travel Guide
  • Heart of the Rockies Chamber of Commerce