Rafting Pine Creek: The Ultimate Arkansas River Rafting Adventure

If you’re like us, you probably choose your adventure travel trips by the number of deaths per year. Now, while we can’t promise that you’ll die whitewater rafting, we can, at the very least, introduce you to one of the most extreme whitewater experiences in the Rockies.

Colorado’s Arkansas River has become a well-known whitewater rafting destination for its breathtaking scenery and exhilarating rapids. One of the most intense and difficult stretches of water on the Arkansas is known as Pine Creek.

Pine Creek is located close to where the Arkansas River begins, near the small town of Granite, Colorado. It is here that the Arkansas River begins its rapid descent down the Rocky Mountains through a narrow valley at a rate of 200 feet per mile.

The narrow channels and steep gradient is precisely what makes rafting this section so difficult, and why it has earned a Class V difficulty. Because of  the potential dangers, most Arkansas River Rafting tour operators require that you be at least 18 years old, experienced, and in great physical condition.

Thrill seekers should check out local rafting company, Buffalo Joe’s, which currently offers a 15-mile trip through thirteen class III-V rapids at the Pine Creek and Numbers stretches of the river. As an extra perk, between the two stretches you’ll be treated to Buffalo Joe’s Whitewater Rafting famous steak lunch, complete with corn on the cob, watermelon, salad and dessert. With rapids that go by the name of Narrows Sqbuffueeze, Miracle Mile, and Little Sidel’s Suckhole, your secret death wish won’t be left unattended. You can find out more about singing up for a Pine Creek/Numbers rafting experience here.

If you’re in the mood for a little paddle porn, check out this fast-paced video:

If you’re not a hardcore rafter, there are still plenty of less intense stretches on the Arkansas River that are beginner-friendly.

Rafting on the Arkansas river has become very popular in recent times due to the surrounding natural beauty and the number of outdoor adventures offered. In addition to rafting, you can also sign on to do a ton of outdoor activities, including fly fishing, photography and geology excursions, rock climbing, hiking, off-roading, ziplining, biking, hang gliding, and much more.

Best time to go:        

Whitewater trips on the Pine Creek stretch of the Arkansas River run from June 1st through September 5th. The best time to go is usually in the beginning of June when the mountain water flows are at their highest. This is also when the weather is still nice enough for everyone to be in a decent mood.

Bragging Rights

The Rocky Mountain High — Return to the office more relaxed and at ease after spending a week or weekend in the fresh alpine air. Your newfound confidence will be noticed.


It costs about $130 to raft the Pine Creek stretch. Other packages range from $44-249 for children and $59-$319 for adults.

Insider Tips:
  • The Royal Gorge is another stretch that is popular with advanced rafters. This is where you’ll face rapids that go by names like Sledgehammer, Boat Eater, and Squeeze Box.
  • Make sure that you select a Colorado whitewater rafting trip that is acceptable for everyone in your group.
  • Since you can expect to get wet, wear shoes that won’t soak up water and lightweight clothes that dry quickly.
  • There are six different campgrounds located right on the Arkansas River, between the Number’s section, all the way to the Canon City sections of River. Click here to explore your options.

Learn More

Buffalo Joe’s Whitewater Rafting, located in historic downtown Buena Vista, is dedicated to giving you the most enjoyable river experience possible; safety is the number one priority at Buffalo Joe’s.

About the author: Alexandria Gaskarth loves organizing extreme adventure trips, blogging about beautiful places on Earth, and photography. She values the beauty of nature thru taking pictures.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *