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Camping
Camping
Camping

​​​​​The Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area offers a choice of seven accessible campgrounds from north to southeast along the Arkansas River. 

Camping Reservations at the AHRA are Required

​Camping at the AHRA now requires a reservation.

  • If you wish to occupy a site at this park, you may reserve it 24/7 at 
    www.cpwshop.com or by calling 1-800-244-5613. 
  • Occupation of a site without a reservation will not be permitted. 
  • Self-service camping permits will no longer be valid. 
Online Reservations

For more information, see the camping reservations page.

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Campgrounds

Please note: You do not need to check-in at our visitor's center prior to your camping arrival. 

Our campgrounds are spread throughout our 152-mile long park along Highways 24, 285, and 50.  

See photos of each campground

  • All campgrounds are open 365 days a year, barring severe weather.
  • ​AHRA campgrounds do not have any hook-ups or potable water. 
  • All AHRA overnight campers outside of developed camping areas must use a portable toilet system and fire pan.

​Please see the CP​​​​​​​W Rules page for a full list of campground rules.​

Campground Directions

For directions to your selected campground, or to find nearby resources, please view our Maps and Directions page.

Campers must be prepared for the weather and self-contained

  • Pack the right camping equipment and clothing for moderate daytime temperatures (most of the year) and chilly nights.
  • Water needs to be carried into the campground.
  • All personal waste and trash must be packed out and disposed of properly.

Camping Prices and Fees

  • Basic campsites are $28 per night per site. Reservations required.
  • vehicle pass is required for any motor vehicle brought into the campground and is charged in addition to camping fees.​

View ​other ​AHRA Fees. ​


bear next to tree and car 

​​​​The AHRA is located in Black Bear Country

Black bears are often seen in the park and are talented at getting into coolers, trash bags, tents and unlocked cars in the campground.

  • Strict food storage regulations​ apply year-round and 24 hours a day. 
  • Please use your best "bear aware" precautions in securing your camp or picnic area to avoid unnecessary contact.
Learn more about living with bears in Colorado. 
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Railroad Bridge - Reservation Only

Railroad Bridge is located north of the town of Buena Vista. Traditionally, this site has been a popular river access point for boaters and gold-panners alike. It also is located fairly close to some of the better-known climbing in the region. 

View the Railroad Bridge Campground Map.

Facilities:

  • 14 basic campsites (each offers a tent pad, fire grill, and table)
  • Two vault toilets
  • Two changing areas

Ruby Mountain - Reservation Only

Ruby Mountain is one of the most popular campground sites, especially for private boaters. Along with the excellent river access, several trails in the area lead into the backcountry.​ The campground falls adjacent to the Browns Canyon National Monument trailhead. 

View Ruby Mountain Campground Map.

Facilities:

  • 22 basic campsites (each offers a tent pad, fire grill, and table)
  • Four vault toilets
  • Two changing areas

Hecla Junction - Reservation Only​

Yet another one of our most loved sites! Located at the traditional take-out for the Browns Canyon run, you can expect to see all sorts of rafting and kayaking activity here. But once the boats come off the water, life returns to normal, and your camping experience begins. Fishing has been known to be pretty good in this stretch of the river, and several hiking opportunities are available around the site.

View the new Hecla Junction Campground Map

Facilities:

  • 23 basic campsites (each offers a tent pad, fire grill, and table)
  • Four vault toilets
  • Two changing areas

Salida East - Reservation Only

This site offers the closest camping to downtown Salida, Colorado and is conveniently located just east of Salida on US Highway 50, near mile marker 224.


Facilities:

  • 25 basic sites (each offers a tent pad, fire grill, and table)
  • Two vault toilets​

Rincon - Reservation Only​

This site is conveniently located off of Hwy 50 and seems to attract more of an RV crowd. Some of the best fishing along the river is found here, up and down river from Rincon. It is also a takeout for boaters wanting a more mellow float on the Arkansas River.

View Rincon Campground Map.

Facilities:

  • 8 basic campsites (each offers a tent pad, fire grill, and table)
  • Four vault toilets
  • Two changing areas

Vallie Bridge - Reservation Only​

Vallie Bridge is located in Bighorn Sheep Canyon and is a peaceful respite for overnight river trips, as well as tent campers traveling through the valley. 

View Vallie Bridge Campground Map.

Facilities:

  • 16 basic, walk-in tent sites (each offers a tent pad, fire grill, and table)
  • One vault toilet

Five Points - Reservation Only​

Five Points is easily accessible from Hwy 50 and has a passageway under the bridge to the day-use site on the north side of the highway. At this site, you will find a "Watchable Wildlife" exhibit and an observation deck over the river. It's also one of the best picnic areas around! 

View Five Points Campground Map.

Facilities:

  • 20 basic campsites (each offers a tent pad, fire grill, and table)
  • Two vault toilets