Originally Posted by Nessy
If you want to paddle class II on the Arkansas, the Milk Run (Johnson Village to either Fisherman's Bridge or Ruby Mt.) and the Salida Town run (Stone Bridge to Salida) offer fun whitewater without getting too big or technical. If you want to step it up to entry level class III the BV whitewater park has easy features and big eddies.
I wouldn't suggest someone uncomfortable with class III jump into the BV park. I have known good paddlers who have swam and lost gear and flushed into Beaver Falls. The Salida park has big eddies, the BV park has gradient and current. You have to be on your game with your roll to even consider the Lodo wave, 2 missed attempts and you'll be in Beaver Falls before the 3rd....
Milk Run and Stone Bridge to Salida are decent options, but both only have 1 easy class III- on them. If you want to get a better feel for II/III on the Ark I would suggest boating the Bighorn Sheep Canyon (which is closer anyway). Good options would be Salida to Rincon (class II with one solid III and three III-'s), Rincon to Vallie Bridge (class II with three class III's) or Cotopaxi to Pinnacle Rock (class II with three class III's). These runs will give you an opportunity to scout real class III and either step up or portage.
Here is the AHRA map showing access points in case you aren't familiar: