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Whitewater Festivals in Colorado

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By Trigg Skoe


The little towns of Colorado in the Arkansas River Valley seem to wake with the beginning of the first snowmelt. Many of those who reside here full-time never stop the search for adventure, but it is during those hot summer days that the streets began to burst with people, the river awakens and the festivals began.

Two that you won’t want to miss are CKS Paddlefest in Buena Vista and FIBArk in Salida. Enjoy the scenic Collegiate Peaks of the Rocky Mountains, hot springs, a great community, and much more at these two festivals, more information below.

CKS Paddlefest May 24th-27th 2019:

In Buena Vista, Colorado this small mountain town arises out of the cold and snow during the last weekend of May at the CKS Paddlefest event. Hundreds of whitewater enthusiasts come together in a valley to celebrate paddling and the beginning of runoff.

At Paddlefest there is something for everyone and it is a great family event. There are introductory classes, skill building classes, competitions in kayaking/running/biking and free music!

FIBArk June 13th-16th 2019:

Only a little ways south of Buena Vista you will find Salida, Colorado. Salida is a bit bigger and offers a few more amenities than the iconic mountain town of BV. FIBArk is held in June every year and brings in a great crowd of people and puts on a great festival highlighting the whitewater community and the community of Salida.

FIBArk is the oldest and one of the boldest whitewater festivals that takes places in the nation. At the festival there are activities to keep you occupied all day long from introductory classes to competitions in running, biking, skating, and of course whitewater sports.


Come enjoy this amazing area of the Arkansas River Valley, where you’ll meet some great people and experience some of the best beer, food, and scenery in Colorado.

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