River Ethics

This entry is an excerpt from the Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area web site:

  • The river draws many different kinds of people. They are enjoying what they are doing as much as you are  enjoying what you’re doing. Please be respectful of others.
  • At low flows, boaters should alert anglers to their presence in a quiet and courteous manner. If possible avoid floating through the water being fished by an angler.
  • Please keep noise to a respectable level – for wildlife, nearby homeowners and others enjoying the river.
  • The river passes through areas of private property including railroad tracks and right-of-ways. Don’t trespass! Be considerate of the river’s neighbors!
  • Keep a safe distance between your boat and others when approaching rapids.
  • You can help minimize the damage rafts and feet do to the shoreline by stopping only at well used sites or rocky areas.
  • Trash? Bring it out with you. Someone else left it? Bring it out too!
  • The use of fire pans and human waste containers is required when camping in undeveloped areas along the river.
  • The put-in and take-out sites are often busy places. Please launch and load your boat as quickly as possible. Most boat ramps have a 15 minute load and unload limit. Separate rigging and deflating areas are available at many boat ramps.

Spirit of Browns Canyon

By Sam Bricker and Nathan Ward

Browns Canyon National Monument, including the Browns Canyon Wilderness Study Area, covers approximately 22,000 acres of federally- and state-managed public lands in Chaffee County, Colorado. The area consists of the riparian corridor along the Arkansas River, stunning rock spires, hoodoos, and granite outcroppings. Wooded drainages descend to the river from upland areas covered with aspen, limber pines, Douglas firs, and subalpine grasslands. The variety of terrain in such a small space and relatively low elevation make Browns Canyon National Monument unique among all of Colorado’s protected public lands.

The history of the Upper Arkansas Valley includes traditional land uses that predate Browns Canyon National Monument. The trains stopped running decades ago, but ranching, hunting, fishing, rafting, horseback riding, hiking and camping traditions continue to play important roles. President Obama’s national monument proclamation protects all of these traditions, ensuring their preservation along with the natural character of this national treasure.

See how you can help protect our playground with the Friends of Browns Canyon.


Darin McQuoid, photographerMany images at the top of these pages are by Darin McQuoid. He generously agreed to their use on our site. Darin is part of the Jackson Kayak Factory Team and, like most of us, he loves kayaking. "For me personally kayaking has been life defining, and the most empowering thing I’ve ever done. The challenges and real and concrete, as are the rewards and the potential consequences. In a world full of gray areas, undefined expectations and vague goals a day on the river is black and white, a successful journey from point a to point b. I believe this, and time in remote beautiful places, is what I embrace, but only a small part of the big picture. Perhaps like a lot of things in life, the beauty of kayaking is that the beauty is too complex to be truly defined."

Check out more of Darin's work at his website: Darin McQuoid

River Flows

USGS Current Water Data for the Nation:
USGS Current Water Data for the Nation

Colorado Rivers listed on American Whitewater:
AW River Summary for Colorado

Helpful Resources

Beginner's Book for Kayakers

The Beginner Book is an unofficial publication for the Pikes Peak Whitewater Club. It was written and edited by members of the Pikes Peak Whitewater Club:

Beginner's Book (PDF)

River Safety at Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area:

AHRA Safety Brochure

General Kayaking Links

American Whitewater Mountain Buzz

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