Should I raft Browns Canyon or The Numbers?

Should you choose a Browns Canyon whitewater rafting adventure or The Numbers section for your Arkansas River rafting adventure. 

Whitewater rapids are measured on a scale of one (I) to six (VI) in relation to their difficulty. A Class I rapid is small and not very demanding for beginner paddlers. Class VI rapids are large, potentially dangerous and should only be attempted by experienced paddlers. The rapids on the Arkansas River range from Class II to V. These rapids are exciting (and sometimes adrenalin pumping) but not too intimidating and suitable for paddlers of all experience levels.

Browns Canyon Rafting

Browns Canyon Rafting or The NumbersThe Browns Canyon stretch begins three minutes from our boat house, located south of the town of Buena Vista in Nathrop. It is our most popular adventure with moderate rapids, irregular waves which may be difficult to avoid. Paddlers often need to use complex maneuvers and good boat control through tight passages; large waves or strainers may be present but are easily avoided. 

Compared to the Numbers, the rapids in Browns Canyon are predominantly Class II / III  with one class IV during certain water flows, you won’t get anything as large or as fast as those on The Numbers. During the run, there are plenty of swimming holes where you can take a breather. Other than that, it’s one rapid after the other, which is why the Browns Canyon is the most popular whitewater rafting stretch in the United States. Minimum age is 7 years of age but this age requirement may increase during higher water levels during spring run off. 

The Numbers

The Numbers begins upstream of  the town of Buena vista.  After a relatively “tame” first mile that gives you time to get comfortable (and become accustomed to your guide’s paddling commands), the action really begins with several Class IV rapids before a succession of Class IV rapids. You’ll navigate 7 rapids known as The Numbers from Number 1 to Number 7.

The Full Day Numbers Trip will have the opportunity to experience a Class V rapid which is the highest commercial run class rapid one can do and only suitable for those with prior rafting experience and athletically fit.  Guests do have the option to walk around the Class V rapids. 

Minimum age is 16.

So which is right for you? Our staff is always on hand to help you decide but we would always recommend that you pick a trip that suits the youngest or weakest member of your group. Take everyone’s experience, age, and ability to self rescue into account when deciding which trip to select.  Again our professional reservationist will be able to help you with this decision if need be.