It’s a happy day when an entire town can partake in an event. The Royal Gorge Whitewater Festival is a party for every human living far and wide in the radius of Cañon City. Just as the festival boasts, there was no lack of boats, bands, or beer. While this festival is only a day and a half long, it packs as much as it can into a Friday and Saturday.

We arrived in Cañon City to open arms. A friend we met at FiBark Whitewater Festival offered her backyard, shower, and cooking skills, and we were happy to take her up on all three. With washed hair and full bellies, we took on the crowds at Royal Gorge Whitewater Festival.

This festival has a serious community feel. Everyone knows everyone, knows who owns what, and where they went to elementary school. It was relieving to know that kind of town still exists. With a small town vibe, it was easy for everyone to relax, enjoy the river festivities, and boogie down to some tunes.

There were plenty of vendors to make walking the streets of the Centennial Park interesting. We were right next to our same neighbors from CKS Paddlefest, Colorado Whitewater Association. We were also right next to the beer tent, we may have had the perfect spot.

The festival started with a cold and rainy day, and one brave soul getting into the river for the River Board Freestyle event. Luckily, the next day was sunny, 70 degrees, and full of river activities and weenie dog races. The river teemed with everything from SUP cross to the Raft Masters Rodeo. The park was full of adventure races, a live auction, music, and the Hot Diggity Weenie Dog Race. Music went late into the night supporting a full-on dance party.

Cañon City was full of surprises, and we’re excited to come back and discover more. From the majestic river, the close community, and the unique races, the Royal Gorge Whitewater Festival is not one to miss.

Our next festival is Copper Mountain Music Festival. This free festival from July 7 to July 9 features bluegrass and Americana musicians in between events like the Pedal for Pints Free Community Ride and Cocktails for a Cause. Combining brews, tunes, and mountains is never a bad idea. Come by the Elevation Outdoors booth, try out a Crazy Creek chair, partake in the scavenger hunt, and find your National Geographic Map match—the weekend is going to be a guaranteed adventure.


If you like the gear we’re reppin’, or what we’re wearing, check out some of the sponsors that make this tour possible: La SportivaCrazy CreekNational GeographicRovR ProductsSea to SummitMountain HouseLifeStraw, and Lowe Alpine.