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Coming from Salt Lake City for 1st time trip to the Arkansas 3rd week of June with several Class 3 paddlers and wondering best place to basecamp from. Will be car camping, willing to pay and the ladies demand showers so...?? Would like campground next to river if possible. A family/private owned site would be nice. Someone mentioned the KOA at Cotopaxi...is this too far south for the sections we will probably want to run??? Thanks for your input.

Mark
 

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SarahofTheWaves
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Ark camping

There are showers in BV near the river park that take quarters. There are showers in Salida at the hot springs pool that take dollars. The best camping in the Arkansas river valley, IMHO, is BLM or unimproved camping. The forest service and state parks campgrounds in general DO NOT have showers, flush toilets, etc. I avoid KOA's but I'm sure they are around. Cotopaxi will put you on the lower runs (Texas Creek, Parkdale and Royal Gorge) Brown's Canyon is about a 1.5 hour drive away.

If you are not up for running the Numbers (IVish if water is high) and want to stick with the class III runs try staying in Salida. Not sure if RMOC allows camping on their property anymore, but they have "facilities" and will put you a little closer to Salida than Cotopaxi. (Howard)

Have fun and be safe,
sarah
 

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Ruby Mountain (near Fisherman's Bridge) is good and close, and the Nat Forest land above the Ark (east side of the river and east of BV) which is accessed from Hwy 24/285 has great drive-in camp spots. No showers or anything, but you can always go to Cottonwood or Mt Princeton Hot Springs after you paddle and they have facilities there, plus you can go soak! If you stay at either of these spots you can do the BV run above Johnson Village (Class III), the Milk Run below Johnson Village (Class II, some III depending on flow), or Fisherman's Bridge (II) and/or Brown's (III). Have fun!
 

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Piedra and Sara have good advice - I'll add that Cottonwood Hot Springs which has great atmosphere, stone lined pools, full spa, massage therapists, etc. and is clothing optional after dark. They also have rooms if you want to go a little more cushy than camping. Mt. Princeton has concrete lined pools, and used the same lighting contractor as the nearby prison for their after dark lighting setup.

KOA = Kamping On Asphalt

If you really want a nice hot spring experience & don't mind crystal-swinging new-agers, consider going over Poncha Pass to Joyful Journey.

Enjoy!

-Andy
 

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Try searching for the Salida Chamber of Commerce or perhaps Visitor’s Bureau for places to stay. You should be able to find this nice little RV park just downstream of Salida that looks like a nice place to stay/camp and they have all the stuff that a KOA would have but it looks nicer than any KOA that I have been to. Sorry, I don’t have the name of the place but it is right on the Ark river.

There is also a campground on Chalk Creek (close to the ARK) at Nathrop. It used to be called Brown’s Campground or something like that but they changed ownership and names so I can’t help much on that either. You could call CKS and ask them what the new name is. CKS was located right across the road from them before CKS moved to BV.

I know where they are but just don’t know the names of the places but with some homework, you can find them. If the ladies like showers, they will no doubt like these 2 places. :wink:

You will probably be running Fractions, Frog Rock, BV Town Run and Brown's Canyon most the time and those places would put you fairly close to that action - Nathrop would be closer than Salida. If you wanted to do Parkdale downstream, it's only about a 40 minute drive down from Salida. Take your pick.
 

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Andy H - ARE YOU CRAZY!? Never mention JJ Hot Springs on a public forum AGAIN! I like having that place all to myself when I go!
 

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Oh and at Mt Princeton Hot Springs, besides the concrete, you can soak in the pools right in the river. It is also half the price of Cottonwood and has more shower facilities. If you guys need better directions for the camp spots etc, send me a message with your email address. Have a good trip! :D
 
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