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Nestled beneath the towering 14,000-foot peaks of the Collegiate mountains, Buena Vista is a hub of summer activity for all kinds of outdoor adventures. This high alpine town was settled in 1864 by those drawn to the riches of the Arkansas River and the surrounding farmland, but these days, the Arkansas is now famous for other reasons: water sports. From whitewater rafting through Browns Canyon National Monument to stand-up paddleboarding and kayaking, there are endless ways for everyone to enjoy a summer day on the river. The surrounding mountains also offer incredible terrain for mountain biking and rock climbing. So, in partnership with the Rocky Mountain Outdoor Center, we’ve put together your essential activity guide that highlights some of our favorite Buena Vista-area experiences. It’s a choose-your-own-adventure kind of a place, so here are seven activities that we think will make your adventure in Buena Vista unforgettable.

1. Whitewater Rafting

Whitewater Rafting - Buena Vista - courtesy of Rocky Mountain Outdoor Center
Rocky Mountain Outdoor Center offers beginner, intermediate, and advanced guided rafting trips. Photo courtesy of Rocky Mountain Outdoor Center.

Buena Vista is often dubbed the United States Capital of Whitewater Rafting. And with good reason. You’ll find at least five world class rafting areas all within close proximity to town.

The scenic and remote section of the Arkansas River that runs through Browns Canyon National Monument, Colorado’s newest monument, offers beginner and intermediate rafters a thrilling experience surrounded by sheer cliffs, rolling meadows, and 14,000-foot peaks. Other fun beginner and intermediate trips include rafting the section of the river that runs past the town of Salida and a trip through Bighorn Sheep Canyon that will take you through a high-alpine desert landscape.

If you’re up for an adrenaline-filled adventure, take on the infamous Numbers section of the Arkansas that’s filled with tight lines and steep drops. Or head to the Royal Gorge for big rapids and unbeatable views. For more information about Rocky Mountain Outdoor Center’s guided rafting trips, visit rmoc.com.

2. Mountain Biking

Mountain Biking - Buena Vista - courtesy of Rocky Mountain Outdoor Center
The Rocky Mountain Outdoor Center offers guided mountain biking trips and classes in the Buena Vista region. Photo courtesy of Rocky Mountain Outdoor Center

Buena Vista has become one of the premier mountain biking destinations in Colorado. From high forests to desert landscapes, mountain bikers of all experience levels and abilities will find something to enjoy. Rocky Mountain Outdoor Center offers half and full day guided rides as well as overnight trips and classes for those looking to improve on their skills. For more information, visit rmoc.com.

Get $100 off your RMOC Adventure Pass 

Use code: OTC18

CLICK HERE

3. Stand-Up Paddleboarding

Stand up paddleboarding - Buena Vista - courtesy of Rocky Mountain Outdoor Center
Stand-Up paddleboarding is one of the most exciting ways to explore the Arkansas River. Photo courtesy of Rocky Mountain Outdoor Center

The coolest thing about paddleboards is that you can enjoy them all types of water. From high alpine lakes to Class II whitewater, you can opt for a relaxing way to cool off in the heat of the summer or you can choose to get that adrenaline pumping on the section of the Arkansas River that passes the town of Salida. SUP trips are truly the perfect family activity. Expect to learn some new paddleboard skills, play games, enjoy stunning views of the surrounding peaks, and have a lakeside lunch that’ll refuel and refresh you and your family. For more information, visit rmoc.com.

4. Rock Climbing

Rock climbing - Buena Vista Colorado - courtesy of Rocky Mountain Outdoor Center
Rocky Mountain Outdoor Center offers guided climbing trips for climbers of all experience and ability. Photo courtesy of Rocky Mountain Outdoor Center

Rocky Mountain Outdoor Center has five crags at which they provide guided rock climbing opportunities for all ages and experience levels. Families will enjoy the beginner routes that, in addition to approachable climbs, offer incredible views of the surrounding landscape. Their professional guides are all certified by the American Mountain Guides Association (AMGA) and can provide lead climbing on sport routes in addition to beginner instruction. For more information, visit rmoc.com.

Get $100 off your RMOC Adventure Pass 

Use code: OTC18

CLICK HERE

5. Inflatable Kayaking

Inflatable kayaking - Arkansas River - Buena Vista - Rocky Mountain Outdoor Center
Inflatable kayaking is a great way to enjoy and explore the Arkansas River. Photo courtesy of Rocky Mountain Outdoor Center

Inflatable kayaking is an awesome, heart-pumping way to enjoy a day on the water. Double kayaks are available for the mellow trips, and all trips are led by professional ACA certified kayak instructors. You can expect to find Class II-III (or even Class III+ on advanced trips through Upper Brown’s Canyon!) whitewater, beautiful scenery, and an unforgettable experience. For more information, visit rmoc.com.

6. Classes & Professional Instruction

Kayak School - Rocky Mountain Outdoor Center - Buena Vista
Students take a lesson from Rocky Mountain Outdoor Center’s Kayak School. Photo courtesy of Rocky Mountain Outdoor Center

If you’re ready to take your outdoor adventure skills to the next level, Rocky Mountain Outdoor Center offers seven different curricula that cover everything you’ll need to know to make the most out of your outdoor adventures (and stay safe!). You can choose to attend classes led by professional instructors that cover kayaking, SUP, rock climbing, mountain biking, whitewater rafting oar training, backcountry skiing safety, and backcountry rescue basics. For more information, visit rmoc.com.

7. Rocky Mountain Adventure Pass

6 activities. Over 30 courses. And 4 epic seasons of adventure. The Rocky Mountain Adventure Pass is Rocky Mountain Outdoor Center’s newest product that offers access to year-round outdoor adventure courses. For an annual $650 rate, you can sign up for unlimited courses and unlock other perks, such as discounts at local gear shops and friends & family rates on on all guided trips.

For more information about the Rocky Mountain Adventure Pass, visit rmoc.com.

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