AHRA Visitors Center
To get yourself better oriented with the AHRA, click one of the map links below. You can contact the AHRA headquarters and Visitor’s Center at:
Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area Visitor’s Center
307 W. Sackett Ave.
Salida, CO 81201
Phone: (719) 539-7289
Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area Map
View the ARHA Cooperative Management Area & Land Ownership Map.
Unlike most other Colorado State Parks, Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area does not have one set of driving directions to get to the park. This is because the AHRA park is actually a linear recreation area that follows the Arkansas River for 152 miles from the high mountains near Leadville, Colorado, to Lake Pueblo, on the edge of Colorado’s plains and there are a number of highways and roads entering the valley. Along the way, the AHRA has seven basic campgrounds, numerous picnic areas, fishing and boating access points and trail access.
To AHRA Visitor Center
The AHRA Visitor Center is located in downtown Salida at the corner of G St and Sackett Ave.
From the intersection of Highways 285/24:
- Left/south onto Highway 285 for 14 miles
- Left onto Hwy 291 for 8 miles
- Left onto G St for one block
- Left onto Sackett Ave
From the intersection of Highways 50/291:
- Right/north on Hwy 291 (Oak St/1st St) for 1.2 miles
- Right onto G St for one block
- Left onto Sackett Ave
Campgrounds, Upstream to Downstream
To Railroad Bridge Campground
From U.S. Highway 24, there are two ways to access Railroad Bridge. The first route is recommended if you have an RV or trailer. Take U.S. Highway 24 into the town of Buena Vista. Turn onto East Main, travel two blocks past the railroad tracks, and turn left onto N. Colorado Avenue. This will turn into Chaffee County Road 371. CR371 is a dirt road and narrow in places. Drive 6.2 miles from where you turned onto N. Colorado Avenue and you will be at Railroad Bridge Campground. The second route is located between mile markers 201 and 202 on Highway 24 north of Buena Vista. It is not recommended for RVs or vehicles with trailers. Turn east onto Chaffee County Road 371, cross the Arkansas River and turn right. Drive 3.1 miles on a very narrow dirt road with pullouts that allows oncoming traffic to pass (Caution: 25 mph speed limit) to the Railroad Bridge Campground. If you continue south from the campground on County Road 371, it will take you into Buena Vista.
To Ruby Mountain Campground
The turn for Ruby Mountain is located south of Buena Vista on U.S. Highway 285, between mile markers 144 and 145. Turn east (towards the river) on Chaffee County Road 301, which can be identified by the large, yellow River Runners signs. Go across the river to the end of the pavement and turn right onto County Road 300. Drive 2.4 miles to the Ruby Mountain Campground and Recreation Site. Caution should be used when entering the campground because the road is a narrow single lane, with limited visibility and a 15 mph speed limit.
To Hecla Junction Campground
The turn for Hecla Junction is located on Highway 285 about a mile north of the Highway 291 junction, between mile markers 135 and 136. Turn east onto County Road 194. Drive 2.4 miles to the end of the road and you're at Hecla Junction. Caution: this is a narrow, fairly steep (12 percent grade) dirt road with a quite a bit of traffic. Low gear is recommended for the descent.
To Salida East Campground
Salida East is located approximately 1.5 miles east of Salida, CO on US Highway 50 at mile marker 224. Signage is easily seen from Highway 50.
To Rincon Campground
Rincon is off of Highway 50 about eight miles east of Salida. It is located at mile marker 231 between the towns of Swissvale and Howard. The turn is located on the north side on a very curvy section of the highway.
To Vallie Bridge Campground
From U.S. Highway 50 at mile marker 239 between the towns of Howard and Coaldale, approximately 20 miles east of Salida. Turn north onto Fremont County Road 45, cross the river and park in the day use site. Please note this is a boat-in/walk-in only campground. You may drive in to unload your equipment but must park at the designated parking area. Vallie Bridge campground can be accessed from the beach for campers who boat in, and there is a walking trail that goes from the campground, across County Road 45 to the restroom.
To Five Points Campground
Five Points campground is located approximately 15 miles west of Cañon City off U.S. Highway 50 at mile marker 260 between the towns of Cañon City and Cotopaxi. The road has a major acceleration/deceleration lane and is well marked with signs on the highway.