The Ark valley is awesome...! You will love it. there are very clear maps of the sections at all the put-ins, and there used to be stickers of the rapids names for browns and Royal gorge at CKS.
Best Class III = Brown's canyon to Hecla junction (to Stonebridge takeout adds one Class IV,Seidel's Suckhole.)
III-III+ = Fractions into town from RR bridge= (put-in right from camp!)
Fractions is very continous for the first section (miracle mile, then mellows out, down further watch for Frog Rock sieve and House Rock Rapid...) total is about seven miles.
to make a long run, you could keep going all the way to River Runners (shuttle..!)
For Class I-II floats there is the
Milk Run (Portage at silver bullet boat chute (NR):[
& Lots of miles of moderate stuff class I-III below salida all the way to parkdale. Stone bridge to Salida is also a good float, with one bad diversion dam to avoid (see other post on that)
Class III-IV = Royal Gorge and Numbers.
Class V= Pine creek.
In Buena Vista you got to check out the Evergreen for Breakfast, and Deerhammer Distillery, ( best Gin Bloodymary evah) and the Asian Palate for dinner. and CKS of course, right next door to deerhammer, and across the street from AP.....
wish i lived up there. for serious.
boat size is all relative, but at lower water i would rather be in a 10-12' raft cause the ark is pretty technical...
10' better suited for fractions/numbers with a strong crew.
16' better for Browns and Royal Gorge, and honestly everything at higher water...