Colorado is home to some of the best paddling towns in the country. So it should be no surprise that these towns hold some of the most exciting, fun and renowned whitewater events in the country, which bring professional athletes and river enthusiasts from around the world. Here’s a list of upcoming whitewater events that you don’t want to miss. Colorado snowpack is above average so far, which means 2019 is likely to be another epic year for whitewater. So mark your calendars and join in the fun.
Table of Contents
The Golden GamesHave Been Canceled
The three day weekend hosts a variety of sporting events, live music, demos, clinics, gear swaps and more. Sports to be highlighted are Kayaking, Stand Up Paddle, Slack Lining, River Surfing and many more.
Golden is one of our favorite places to visit.
Dates: May 17 – 19, 2019 – Canceled
Location: Golden, CO
Camping: $$ Clear Creek RV Park
CKS Paddlefest is a weekend festival for all ages, abilities and activities. It includes running races, bike races, SUP clinics, SUP yoga, kayak rodeo, flatwater demos, bouldering competitions, raft race, slalom race, kayak instruction, family dinner, disc golf and more.
Dates: May 24 – 27, 2019 (Memorial Day Weekend)
Location: Buena Vista, CO
Camping: Free camping in the adjacent parking lot.
Professional athletes travel from around the globe to particpiate in Lyons Outdoor Games competitions in slalom whitewater kayaking, BMX/dirt-jumping, and slackline.
Lyons has always been one of our favorite small towns. Get in on this fun event and help support the Town of Lyons as they rebuild from the 2013 flood.
Dates: June 1, 2019
Location: Lyons, CO
Camping: $ Bohn Park (Festival Grounds) and Meadow Park (across town from festival grounds)
Durango was the first community in the nation to construct a whitewater park back in the late 1980s. New construction was started in 2013 to renovate and improve the the rapids on the Lower Animas in Durango. The Santa Rita Park is scheduled to be completed this year.
Dates: June 1, 2019
Location: Durango, CO
Camping: $$ There are several campgrounds in the Durango area.
Professional and amateur athletes from around the world converge upon the mountains and rivers of Vail to compete in 9 sports for more than $110,000 in prize money.
The GoPro Mountain Games may be quickly becoming one of the nation’s premier sporting events (similar to the Winter X-Games in Aspen), but is it also one of the most commercialized. Many events take place in the heart of the Vail marketplace, and parking is limited and far away from the venue. And there is absolutely no camping or overnight parking allowed anywhere within the Town of Vail.
Dates: June 6 – 9, 2019
Location: Vail, CO
Camping: NO camping allowed!! Vail Police are vigilant.
2017 marks the 69th anniversary of FIBArk, the nation’s oldest whitewater festival and Salida’s signature event. Since 1949, every June during the Spring snow runoff, Salida has hosted FIBArk, “First in Boating on the Arkansas.”
Dates: June 13 – 16, 2019
Location: Salida, CO
Camping: Free camping at nearby BLM campgrounds.
The Gunnison River Festival is an annual river event that embraces river and stream activities, education and the celebration of the Gunnison River Basin.
The Gunnison Whitewater Park has multiple whitewater features from beginner to expert and the festival has events and activities for all ages.
Dates: June 20 – 22, 2018
Location: Gunnison, CO
Camping: $$ Gunnison KOA
The 10th Annual Royal Gorge Whitewater Festival features kayak, stand up paddle board, raft, and river board competitions along with other events to promote the outdoors and an active lifestyle.
Not only will you enjoy the festival event but there is plenty of food, beer, vendors, and entertainment for the entire family. All of the money raised goes towards continued expansion of the Whitewater Park, river restoration, and charitable causes.
Dates: June 21 – 22, 2019
Location: Cañon City, CO
Water sports enthusiasts, competitors, and the fun-loving Montrose community are invited to enjoy the Fun on the Uncompahgre “FUNC Fest” at the Montrose Water Sports Park. The annual event is hosted by the City of Montrose Office of Business and Tourism and features a full lineup of events on water and land.
Dates: Aug 9-10, 2019
Location: Montrose, CO
Royal Gorge Festival, Royal Gorge CO – 24-25 Jun 16
Gore Canyon Race, Gore Canyon CO – 26-27 Aug 16
Thanks so much for the camping info at each event. It is very helpful for me because this summer will be my first time traveling with a 5th wheel trailer. But I am curious to know where you park at GoPro? And where you spend the night?
Honestly, Vail is tough! There is National Forest and I’ve heard of a campground up there, but I never really looked for it … seriously, most people stay in hotels. 🙁
Looking for a kayak event the last week in July?
OMG! I never dreams there were so many events going on. I love going to Colarado, but I’m not adventureous enough to white water raft. But I would love to go and watch!! How interesting!
Yes!! Come watch, it’s really so much fun!! 🙂