The Arkansas River flows right past Buena Vista, and thanks to the foresight and generosity of a few people, the town boasts one of the finest whitewater parks in Colorado. The riverside property where the park now flows was about to be developed and privatized when a brother and sister acquired the property and donated it to the city of Buena Vista as permanent public parkland. Grants from the state enabled the construction of five water features from 2005 to the present that have drawn recreational boaters and professional whitewater sportsmen alike. Changing rooms, ample parking, beaches for warm weather, mountain bike and hiking trails, and climbing rocks all add to the multi-use attraction of this facility. The park is also adjacent to the unique South Main neighborhood with its restaurants, nightlife and shopping.
With names like the Uptown Wave, the Downtown Feature, and the LoDo Wave, the artificial holes and waves cater to beginners, intermediates and experts. Kayaks and the occasional stand-up paddleboard are common, but the most popular boats are the tiny "play boats" that can ride a wave or cavort in a hole all day long. The water features were designed to work well in a wide range of river flows, so the park is popular for a long season.