Arkansas River - Numbers



The Numbers is a classic stretch of class IV whitewater on the Arkansas River upstream of Buena Vista.  When the water is high and the sun is out, this is about as good as class IV boating gets in Colorado.  At low and medium flows expect to see a lot of kayakers and rafters playing their way down the river.  At higher flows, you may have the run all to yourself, even on a weekend.  

Sandwiched between the more challenging Granite section above it and the easier Frog Rock section below it, there are numerous opportunities to extend the run or shorten it depending on time and water levels.  The normal stretch is punctuated by 6 rapids, uncreatively named: Number 1, Number 2, Number 3, Number 4, Number 5, and Number 6.  At flows below 1000 cfs, the run is more class III in nature with numerous eddies and little push.  At flows above 2500 cfs, the run starts to graduate to a big water IV+ character, with pushy waves, holes, sharp eddylines, and fast moving water, such that swims can become protracted.  At moderate flows, Number 5 tends to be the crux of the run for most people.  It has a comparatively steep entrance ramp, but the line is clean and generally goes smoothly.  At higher flows Number 5 waves out and Number 4 becomes the crux, with a large wavehole forming in the middle of the rapid that can be difficult to avoid, but it usually flushes. 

Most people either takeout somewhere along the dirt road after Number 5, or at the parking area by the bridge downstream of Number 6.


Class III+ to IV+
Current Flow 676.0 CFS
07-17-2024 22:00
Recommended Flow Minimum: 200.0
Average: 700.0
Maximum: 5000.0
Typical Season Begins: March
Ends: October
Recommended Use Kayaking: Yes
Rafting: Yes
Canoeing: No
Packrafting: No
Fishing: No
Length 4.9 Mile(s)
Gradient 70.0 FPM