The Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area offers six campgrounds along the banks of the Arkansas River. Camping fees at the AHRA sites are $16 per night and $7 per vehicle. A walk-in daily pass for an individual entering a site by means other than a motor vehicle is $3 per day.
Most AHRA sites offer fishing, hiking, mountain biking and sightseeing. Reservations may be made up to 6 months in advance but not less than 3 days in advance online at parks.state.co.us or by calling the reservation office at the Denver Area, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday though Friday, 303-470-1144 or toll-free 800-678-2267.
Railroad Bridge north of Buena Vista has river access for boaters and gold panners alike. It has 14 campsites, two vault toilets and two changing areas.
Ruby Mountain south of Buena Vista is popular with private boaters because of its easy access to the river and several trails leading into the backcountty. It has 22 campsites; four vault toilets and two changing areas.
Rafts are a common sight at Hecla Junction, where many Chaffee County rafting companies put in or take out at the recently upgraded recreation area.
Fishing and hiking are also popular activities at the site. Hecla, between Buena Vista and Salida on U.S. 285, has 22 campsites, four vault toilets and two changing areas.
Rincon, on U.S. 50 in Bighorn Sheep Canyon, offers some of the best fishing along the river and is a favorite take-out for boaters. It has eight campsites, four vault toilets and two changing areas.
Vallie Bridge, further south in Bighorn Sheep Canyon, has 16 tent sites, a boat ramp and tie-offs and a vault toilet. The campground is a peaceful respite for overnight river trips and tent campers.
Five Points, accessible from U.S. 50, has a “watchable wildlife” exhibit and observation deck over the river. Five Points, also the name of a technical rapid in the river, has 20 campsites, two vault toilets, a boat ramp and tie-offs and a vault toilet.