Explore the most popular trails in Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

The AHRA and its avid patrons follow the beautiful but unpredictable, wild-to-mild river for 150 miles from the historic town of Leadville, through the Sawatch mountain range and Colorados tallest mountains, all the way down to Pueblo on the edge of Colorados plains. Boaters can find anything from roaring Class IV and V rapids to milder Class II and III sections, which are ideal for beginner and family trips. The upper Arkansas River is the most popular whitewater boating river in the United States. On any spring or summer day, hundreds of private and commercial rafters and kayakers will challenge the churning rapids or glide through the calmer sections of the Arkansas. AHRA visitors also enjoy fishing, hiking, camping, picnicking, wildlife watching, mountain biking, rock climbing, and even gold panning along the rivers shores, deep canyons, broad valleys and towering mountain peaks found within the upper Arkansas River valley.

Over the last few days we have hiked practically all of these trails. They are well maintained and offer great views. They range from little or no elevation gain to very steep slopes. There is a good bit of bike traffic, but all riders were very considerate

mountain biking
7 months ago

This is one of my favorite riding areas in the country. My favorite is Beasway to Rumba Ridge to Cottonwood to a small hike up uncle nasty with a shredding downhill on prospector. That is by far one of the best most technical rides that I have done.

I hike these trails quite often, and they’re great. Some days there can be quite a few people on the trails, so you have to pay attention. My favorite is the North Backbone trail; the views are gorgeous.

hiking
Sunday, April 08, 2018

What a great trail system, and so accessible from downtown! We connected the Sand Dunes, Backbone, Lil Rattler, and Frontside trails and ended up hiking somewhere around 4 1/2 miles. Lots of mountain bikers out, but they were unfailingly courteous, and our counterclockwise loop must not be the most common route as most of them were heading in the opposite direction. Wish the trails were a bit wider, as they were busy, but the chance to gawk at the views made up for the inconvenience of constantly stepping off trail to let others pass. If you like this one, you'll probably also love the Whipple trail system in Buena Vista.

walking
Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Walked the CR loop to the top. Easy and relatively flat. Would make for a good run. The little shack at the top feels post-apocalyptic, but it’s a fun little trip up.

trail running
Sunday, June 04, 2017

Did a nice and easy 7 mile run while checking out Salida. Ran Sweet Dreams-Backbone-to the S on Salida Mtn and Lil Rattler. Awesome windy single track. Very active town and a lot of people using the trails!

hiking
Sunday, May 28, 2017

We took the Lil Rattler trail with two 6 year olds over Memorial Day weekend. The trail was fine, great views and pretty easy BUT we ended up cutting the bike short because there were SO many bikers we had to stop nearly every 3-5 minutes to let people pass. It was just way too crowded. Frankly, this trail should be designated for just one use. It's single track to there's no shoulder and it's cumbersome to pass. It's just too popular and not big enough for bikers AND hikers AND horses.

hiking
Sunday, August 28, 2016

Mild terrain. Very cool scenery.

hiking
Sunday, August 28, 2016

Great trail for all types. A kinda choose your own hike thanks to the many trails in this system. Pathways are visible and easy to hike. I would suggest for beginners to start at the Rivers Edge parking lot and take the frontside trail from here, so you do not have to ascend the mountain to get back to your vehicle. We made a loop and started on the frontside trail to lil rattler and then the lower sand dunes trail back to rivers edge parking lot. Total of about 4 miles.

hiking
Saturday, August 25, 2012

The Arkansas Hills trails are fabulous for bikers, hikers, and dogs. Living in the area, I've been on them many times and I always see others enjoying them as well. The trails are well-maintained and you have many options depending on how much time and energy you have. Some trails stay low between the hills, some run along the edges, and some are up top on the ridges. The trail head (by Tenderfoot Hill/S-Mountain) has a good sign with tons of trail info.

hiking
12 days ago

hiking
3 months ago

trail running
7 months ago

hiking
Sunday, March 25, 2018

Friday, March 23, 2018

hiking
Monday, October 02, 2017

hiking
Sunday, August 06, 2017

hiking
Sunday, March 26, 2017

Saturday, November 26, 2016

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