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Camping

Camping Reservations at the AHRA are Required

​In order to provide better customer service and access to quality camping, starting January 1, 2019, all sites at this park will be available by reservation ONLY. 

  • Occupation of a site without a reservation will not be permitted. 
  • 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. 
  • The 3-day reservation window does not apply at this park; sites are available for reservation 24/7. 
  • Self-service camping permits will no longer be valid. 
For questions, please contact the CPW call center at 303-297-1192.​

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AHRA campgrounds offer campers the experience of "backcountry" camping while being accessible and in the heart of outdoor recreation. ​​​

Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area offers a choice of seven campgrounds from north to southeast along the Arkansas River: Railroad Bridge, Ruby Mountain, Hecla Junction, Salida East, Rincon, Vallie Bridge, and Five Points Campgrounds. 

Visit the AHRA Maps and Directions page for more information.To view photos of each campground, view AHRA Campground Photos

Please Note: AHRA campgrounds do not have any hook-ups or potable water.  Campers must be self-contained; water needs to be carried into the campground and trash must be packed out.

All of our campgrounds are open 365 days a year, barring severe weather. With the right camping equipment and clothing for our chilly nights, you'll find daytime temperatures moderate along the river most of the year and perfect for an "off-season" getaway.

Reserve a campsite at Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area now! With the exception of the 14 primitive sites at Salida East which remain walk-up sites/first come first served, all campsites within the AHRA must be reserved in advance of being occupied. Reservations can be made online or by calling (800) 244-5613.

The AHRA camping fee is $28 per night per site. Primitive $18 per night sites are available only at Salida East. View other AHRA Fees. All AHRA overnight campers outside of developed camping areas must use a portable toilet system and fire pan. All waste must be carried out and disposed of properly.

A vehicle pass is required for any motor vehicle brought into the campground and is charged in addition to camping fees.  A daily parks pass (vehicle pass) may be purchased at the self-serve station (cash or check only) at the campground entrance. Alternate park pass options may be found on CPW's Park Pass Information page.

Remember, bears are talented at getting into coolers and trash bags in the campground. Be mindful of where you are keeping your food if camping and do not leave your trash out at night. Please use your best "bear aware" precautions in securing your camp or picnic area to avoid unnecessary contact. Find more information about living with bears in Colorado. 

Railroad Bridge

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

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

Yet another one of our well-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

This site offers the closest camping to downtown Salida, Colorado. Conveniently located just east of Salida on US Highway 50, Salida East offers both basic ($28/night, reservation only) and primitive campsites ($18/night, walk-in only).


Facilities:

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

Rincon

This site is conveniently located 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

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 Val lie Bridge Campground Map.

Facilities:

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

Five Points

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