Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area RV & Campground Guide


The Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area (AHRA) covers several cities over a span of 152 miles of the Arkansas River in the Rockies in central Colorado. The attractions of the recreation area start in Buena Vista, run south through Poncha Springs, and then west to Cotopaxi. The headquarters and visitors center are in Salida, which is the halfway point from north to south. When camping in the AHRA, keep in mind that it can get hot, up to the mid-80s sometimes. However, the area is often cold with temperatures dropping to freezing or below freezing, even in the summer.

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Spring 27-60 F
Summer 45-82 F
Fall 28-63 F
Winter 11-43 F
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Nearby Cities
Buena Vista, CO
Poncha Springs, CO
Cotopaxi, CO
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RV Resorts & Campsites in Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area

Traveling to the AHRA in an RV is one of the best ways to take in the most that the park has to offer. Since there are plenty of places to camp and the park is so expansive, it makes sense to have a moving temporary home rather than staying in a fixed hotel. Visiting the area in an RV really is the best way to see as much as possible. With plenty of rental listings available on the site, RVshare makes it easy to reserve a camper or motorhome if you don't already have one. 

Arrowhead Point Campgrounds and Cabins

Arrowhead Point Campgrounds and Cabins is an impressive place that can accommodate RVs up to 60 feet in length. They have plenty of space and activities, and they honor the Good Sam Loyalty Program. Amenities that you may enjoy include:

• Camp store

• BBQ pavilion

• Kid's playground

• Free Wi-Fi

• Laundry facilities

• Restroom facilities

Chalk Creek Campground & RV Park

Chalk Creek Campground & RV Park is a homey campground that is beautiful, comfortable, and quiet. The creek is their main attraction, and they also offer a few activities as well as RV storage for $50 per month. Amenities that they offer include:

• Camp store

• Kid's playground

• Laundry facilities

• Restroom facilities

Monarch Spur RV Park and Campground

Located in the heart of the Rockies, Monarch Spur RV Park and Campground is 8,620 feet above sea level. They can accommodate RVs up to 60 feet long and offer up to 50 amps of power. Some of their amenities include:

• Souvenir shop

• Restroom facilities

• Laundry facilities

• Picnic and playground area

• Free Wi-Fi

• Riverfront tents

• Gold-panning sites

Bighorn Park

Located in Coaldale, Bighorn Park is an RV park as well as an outdoor resort with motel rooms, bunkhouses, and tents. They're RV rates range from $36 to $45 nightly or $216 to $270 weekly. They have great amenities such as:

• Free Wi-Fi

• Sewer hookups

• Cabins and motel rooms

• Gas grills

• Rafting

• Horseback riding

• Hot springs

RV Rentals Near Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area

Nearby RV Rentals


What to Do at
Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area

Inside Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area

You won't get bored when you visit the AHRA as there are 152 miles of activities for you to check out. Since it's situated along the Arkansas River, you can expect plenty of boating and fishing activities no matter where you decide to camp along the river. You can also find plenty of places to swim or enjoy wildlife. While the AHRA is situated in the Rocky Mountains, there are quite a few different types of terrain, such as sand dunes, forests, and lush valleys. You can also find trails and caves to explore or test your athleticism by climbing the mountains.

Outside Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area

Once you've had enough of the AHRA, you may want to visit somewhere outside of the area. The recreation area isn't far from Denver and Colorado Springs, and both cities have plenty to attract tourists. There are other quaint towns that have interesting activities as well. Here are some restaurants, shops, and more that you'll find surrounding the AHRA:


The Historic Alpine Lodge

Although you can rent cabins here, the food in the restaurant is amazing. It's a fine-dining restaurant that serves a good selection of steaks, seafood, pasta, sandwiches, and more. It's located in Westcliffe, just south of the AHRA.

Type: Fine Dining

Location: Westcliffe, CO

The White House Tavern

If you head through the mountains, east on Highway 82, there is a little town called Aspen. In Aspen, The White House Tavern is a cozy little place to enjoy fresh sandwiches, cocktails, beers, and wine. They are well known for their delicious hand-crafted pizzas.

Type: American

Location: Aspen, CO

The Java Moose

The Java Moose is in Fairplay. It's a friendly little coffee house that serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. They also have great coffee, espressos, and baked goods.

Type: Coffee House

Location: Fairplay, CO

Millonzi's Restaurant

Millonzi's, also located in Fairplay, is a local family-owned fine dining restaurant with a full bar. They serve original Italian and Mediterranean dishes. They are only open for dinner Wednesday through Sunday.

Type: Italian and Mediterranean

Location: Fairplay, CO

Tony's Mountain Pizza

Located in Silver Cliff, Tony's Mountain Pizza serves specialty pizza, pasta, salads, desserts, and more. They also have a great selection of beer as well as flat-screen televisions with sports programming. They have patio seating and a sunroom with a fireplace.

Type: Pizza

Location: Silver Cliff, CO


16th Street Mall

Denver's 16th Street Mall is a mile-long entertainment, food, and shopping district. You can find over 40 restaurants, 12 movie theaters, and hundreds of places to shop. Enjoy free shuttles, horse & carriage rides, and pedicabs to get around.

Backcountry Herbal Apothecary

High up in the mountains off I-70W is a little town called Frisco. It's here that you'll find Backcountry Herbal Apothecary. You can find natural herbs, body care products, essential oils, and more. You can also enjoy massages, reiki, aromatherapy, and other services.

Location: Frisco, CO

Big Hollow Guitars

Also located in Frisco, Big Hollow Guitars is a shop where you can experience the pleasures of vintage or vintage-like guitars. Bevan Frost, the owner, and a skilled luthier, also crafts custom-made guitars. Don't expect average prices here – you'll be paying for top-of-the-line products.

Location: Frisco, CO

Trader Joes

What's an RV trip without a visit to a Trader Joes? It's a national chain, so it's usually not hard to find one. The one in Denver will have just about everything you'll need to keep you and your family fed. 

Location: Denver, CO


Copper Mountain Snowmobiling

North of the AHRA on Highway 91 is Copper Mountain Snowmobiling. They offer snowmobile rentals and tours through the Continental Divide. Rentals start at $185 a day and tours start at $135.

Manitou Cliff Dwellings

Manitou Cliff Dwellings is a historic attraction of Anasazi ruins that date back to almost 1,000 years old. There is a museum to visit, and you can go into the dwellings and explore. There is also a gift shop on-site.

Cosmo's Magic Theater

Owned and ran by Cosmo Solano, Cosmo's Magic Theater features adult magic shows and kids' magic shows. The adult shows are not R-rated, but they are more sophisticated than the kids' shows. They also sometimes offer live jazz music in the lobby. 

Dakota Hot Springs

Here you can relax in a gigantic heated pool and enjoy a few drinks. The 70-foot-wide pool has a maximum depth of 5 feet and is kept from 95 to 108 degrees Fahrenheit depending on what part of the pool you're in. Their rates are extremely reasonable and average about $10 per visitor. Dakota Hot Springs is in Penrose, just west of the last part of the AHRA. 

Location: Penrose, CO

Mount Elbert

Mt. Elbert is the tallest "fourteener" (a 14,000-foot peak) in Colorado and the second tallest in the contiguous United States. If you're a climber, you'll enjoy the 4.5-mile trail that goes to the summit while rising over 4,500 feet. You can get to Mt. Elbert from the Leadville or Twin Lakes home bases. You can also clearly see the peak from the Leadville Colorado & Southern Railroad if you don't want to climb it. 

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How to Get to
Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area

Getting to AHRA is not like visiting other attractions because it covers such an expansive area. There are multiple ways to get to it. One great starting point is the AHRA Visitors Center, which will have all the information you need about the recreation area. It's located in downtown Salida. According to the AHRA website, the directions to get to the visitor's center are:

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

Going here will place you in the center of AHRA. You'll be able to obtain a map of the area and go to your desired locations from there.

Entering Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area

The AHRA is open year-round. Reservations can be made online or over the phone. 

Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area Per vehicle : $9.0

Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area Per individual (without a vehicle) : $4.0

The AHRA is a perfect trip for RVers. There is so much to do, so much to see, and so many places to camp. In fact, you may end up planning multiple trips to the area because it's hard to cover it all in one. Sharing is caring, and other readers would love for you to share your memories and experiences at the AHRA. If you don't mind sharing, tag RVshare on social media and send some of your trip photos to [email protected] Everyone is eager to see what you discovered in the Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area.