PICT Camping Trailer - CPW

New Campsites Planned for Arkansas Headwaters

Outdoors - Colorado Parks Wildlife Mountains Baca National Wildlife Refuge - USFWS
Bill Vogrin

The Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area (AHRA) will designate 25 primitive campsites at the Salida East Recreation Site, acquired recently under a lease with the Bureau of Land Management.

The 19-acre Salida East site, which features a boat ramp and a vault toilet/change facility, sits on the south banks of the Arkansas River about three miles east of Salida along U.S. Highway 50. It will be added to 16 existing recreation sites AHRA already manages under a lease with BLM’s Royal Gorge Field Office in Cañon City.

As part of the lease agreement, AHRA will begin collecting fees for camping and day use of the recreation site effective November 1. Those fees will include a standard $7 per day vehicle park pass (or $70 annual park pass), as well as a $10 per night primitive campsite permit. 

Already, AHRA is planning improvements to the recreation site. Next summer, AHRA will upgrade 11 of the primitive campsites to become “basic” campsites, meaning each of the basic campsites will have additional amenities such as enhanced RV parking, a picnic table, tent pad, grill and fire ring. The fee for a basic campsite is $18 per night.

“We are excited to expand the recreational opportunities available at the Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area,” said Rob White, AHRA park manager. “We look forward to making improvements to Salida East, in conjunction with our partners at the Bureau of Land Management.”

Future improvements will include installation of additional restroom facilities, group picnic/camping areas, interpretive signs, regular maintenance and cleaning as well as enhanced monitoring and park ranger presence.

All fees collected at the Salida East Recreation Site, as well as all other fee sites within the AHRA, are returned to the area for its operation, maintenance and improvement.

For more information about AHRA, contact the recreation area at 719-539-7289, or visit the Visitor Center at the corner of G and Sackett Streets in Salida. AHRA visitors enjoy rafting, kayaking, fishing, camping, hiking, picnicking, wildlife watching, mountain biking, rock climbing and even gold panning along the river’s 152 miles of shoreline and surrounding canyons, valleys and towering mountain peaks found within the upper Arkansas River valley. ​​​​​​​​

Photo courtesy Colorado Parks and Wildlife