Skip to main content

6 Colorado River Festivals Coming Soon

It’s spring, and river festival season is upon us!  While you probably associate summer in Colorado with whitewater rafting and kayaking, you may not realize how strong Colorado’s river culture is. Many locals look forward to the warming weather because it means that the snow begins to melt and the rivers rise. High water makes for great whitewater kayaking and river rafting, so many towns close to Colorado’s rivers celebrate with a festival for all things whitewater. Here are six festivals and events coming up:

CKS Paddlefest

Whitewater Kayaking in ColoradoBuena Vista, CO
May 23 - 26

Watch world class kayakers go for the gold in the Pro Kayak Comp, learn how to Stand Up Paddleboard (“SUP”), pick up a new boat, or bring the kids for a family paddle. Visit the Website

Dolores River Festival

Dolores, CO
June 7

Take part in the River Parade, watch the River Dog contest, enjoy the live music, and take the kids to the Kid’s Area for tons of fun activities. Visit the Website

Battle of the Bighorn

Canon City, CO
June 8

An obstacle-course style race down the Arkansas River. Teams complete a series of challenges, including physical tasks like retrieving a watermelon from the river and mental tasks like a memory puzzle as they head through the rapids. Visit the Website


Buena Vista, CO
June 12-15

On-river events range from the serious – Freestyle Kayak Rodeo, the Pine Creek Race, and the classic Downriver Race – to the hilarious, like the Raft Rodeo and the Hooligan Race. Other events take place on dry ground, from a disc golf competition and karaoke to several mountain bike and road races. Visit the Website

Royal Gorge Whitewater Festival

Canon City, CO
June 20-21

Colorado RaftingEvents range from rafting, kayaking, and stand up paddling to cruiser bikes and WAR, the Whitewater Adventure Race, which involves completing an obstacle course complete with anything from scaling walls to crossing a wire. Visit the Website

Gunnison River Festival

Gunnison, CO
Jun 20-22

Various on-river races, an Inflatable Whitewater Rodeo, and a dog “big air” competition combine in a festive and family-friendly environment. Live music and fly fishing tourney round out the fun. Visit the Website

More articles like this:
Our 8 Favorite Quirky Local Festivals
11 Outdoor Summer Concert Series in Colorado
Colorado's 13 Best Summer Food Festivals