The Narrows Rapid (Class IV-V) - Royal Gorge

The Narrows Rapid is a long section of river rated class IV or class V. Again, it’s usually a class IV when rafted commercially. The Narrows is one of the tightest sections on the upper Arkansas River, hence the name. It feels like 3 separate rapids, but they’re close enough together we just call it The Narrows and work our way through the 3 drops within it.

The first drop is pretty straight forward – head down the right side and square up to whatever lateral waves come your way. The second drop is a little scarier since it is so tight and there’s either a large hole or rock right of center. Get around that and you’ll find yourself entering the third and last drop – a more shallow section with lots of rocks and hits along the way. 

If you fall out of this rapid at any point, avoid the left shoreline! Years ago when the railroad grade was formed lots of railroad track sections were driven vertically into the river to stabilize the grade. They’re still there, and they’re still sharp! So stay in the boat!

illustration of bighorn sheep and arkansas river
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