The 2016 Mountain Festival Guide

It’s time! If you feel overwhelmed trying to plan a summer full of tunes, dancing, racing, beer tasting, yoga, paddling and just plain-old chilling out, we have you covered. The annual ultimate list of happenings in colorado and beyond is here.

This annual Festival Guide is the lifeblood of what we do here at Elevation Outdoors. The way we see it, festival season is far more than a time for hippies to argue over their two-square-feet of tarp space and ladies with far-away eyes to whirl in hula hoops. The following music events, outdoor sport extravaganzas, beer celebrations, races and other cultural happenings are a gathering of the tribes. Festival season is the perfect excuse to get outside and play with hundreds of your new best friends. It’s when the mountains truly feel like one massive, sweaty home.

Want to know what’s happening at each of these festivals? Check these icons in the listings for easy reference.


Red Rocks Amphitheater

75th anniversary

May-October  |  Morrison, CO

The iconic outdoor music venue will celebrate all summer long with concerts, films and fitness events.

Don’t Miss: The 1975 kick off the concert schedule on May 2, and Bob Dylan, The Lumineers, My Morning Jacket, Widespread Panic, Sufjan Stevens, The Avett Brothers, LCD Soundsystem, Ryan Adams, Lotus and many more swing through over the summer. And don’t miss The Global Dub Festival on May 14, Global Dance Festival July 8-10 and Reggae on the Rocks August 27.

Inside Info: Want to downward dog in a massive open-air yoga studio? Don’t miss Yoga on the Rocks.

Head for the Hills Pickin’ on the Poudre

MAY 14  |  Bellvue, CO

Festival season kicks off every spring with this big Mishawaka happening.

Don’t Miss: Pickin’ on Phish featuring Andy Thorn of Leftover Salmon and Blue Gamma.

Inside Info: The stoke should be even higher this year since it’s The Mish’s 100th birthday (see page 11).

La Sportiva Vail Mountain Trail Running Series


MAY 14  |  Vail, CO

This race in Eagle, Colorado, will start the motor on trail-running season.

Don’t Miss: This is just the first of a hot slate of events that also includes: La Sportiva Beaver Creek Summer Solstice (June 18), La Sportiva Hill Climb (July 10), La Sportiva Half Marathon (July 24), La Sportiva Berry Picker 5K (August 7), La Sportiva 5K & 10K @ 10,000 Feet (August 21) and the La Sportiva EverGold 5K & 11K (September 18).

Inside Info: Vail Rec just launched a new online registration system for the trail running series that makes registration easier than ever.

The Golden Games

MAY 20-22  |  Golden, CO

No sporting event has more soul—our readers voted it the best outdoor happening in the Rockies.

Don’t Miss: The SUP racing.

Inside Info: Head to the vendor village for live music.

Grand Junction Off-Road

May 20-22
Grand Junction, CO

Bringing bike racing from the town’s famed dirt trail right into downtown, this race and music event rocks.

Don’t Miss: Test your balance skills in the Pivot/Maxxis Slow Ride.

Inside Info: Funds raised help benefit GJ’s Community Food Bank.   

Colorado Whitewater’s 60th Annual Training Camp

MAY 20-22

Arkansas River, CO

Over 150 people head to this massive camp to improve their skill set.

Don’t Miss: Live music from Nathan and Jessie.

Inside Info: Non-campers are welcome to enjoy the music.

Upslope Get Down

MAY 21  |  Boulder, CO

Our friends at Upslope turn their parking lot into one hell of a party. There will be a kid friendly zone, food trucks galore and a couple hundred of your drinking buddies.

Don’t Miss: Thirteen bands playing on three stages.

Inside Info: Imperial Rye IPA!


MAY 27-29  |  La Foret, CO

It’s easy to relax at this laid-back festival on the lovely ground of the La Foret retreat center.

Don’t Miss: Leopard & The Vine.

Inside Info: You can volunteer to work at the festival for free passes.

CKS Paddlefest

MAY 27-30  |  Buena Vista, CO

The are few more authentic paddlesports events out there that can beat this all-ages bash. And, with a mountain bike and a running race it is more than splashing around.

Don’t Miss: The SUPhill-Downhill out and back paddleboard race.

Inside Info: Be ready to go home wth swag from the Gear Swap.   

Festival of the Brewpubs

MAY 29  |  Arapahoe Basin, CO

Few things go better together than craft beer and A-Basin’s Beach.

Don’t Miss: Music from Jakarta.Inside Info: It’s just $30 to sample from 15 different craft brewers.


Camp Out for the Cause

JUNE 2  |  Rancho Del Rio, CO

Good vibes rule at this mash-up of music, yoga and fun on the river.

Don’t Miss: Paper Bird, Trout Steak Revival, Head for the Hills.

Inside Info: The Kleen Kanteen that comes with your admission also gives you discounts on festival bevies.  

Animas River Days

JUNE 2-4  |  Durango, CO

Durango’s annual big river-fest blowout celebrates the town’s newly renovated whitewater park and the simple joys of the Animas River.

Don’t Miss: The Ska Beer Garden.

Inside Info: Bring that Kylo Ren costume for the river parade.

Mike the Headless CHicken JUNE 3-4  |  Fruita, CO

A festival dedicated to a bird’s will to  live. Well yes, and it’s awesome.

Don’t Miss: The Peep eating contest. Inside Info: Bring your favorite driver for the disc golf tour.

Lyons Outdoor Games

JUNE 3-4  | Lyons, CO

It may be best known as the home of Planet Bluegrass, but this funky little town can throw down with a kickass outdoor competition event, too.

Don’t Miss: The Outlaws of Dirt BMX and Dirt Jump competition.

Inside Info: The games run in conjunction with Oskar Blues Burning Can festival on June 4    

Pagosa Folk and Bluegrass

JUNE 3-5  |  Pagosa Springs, CO

This is one of our favorite festivals for its authentic music and vibe.

Don’t Miss: Eileen Ivers, Aoife O’Donovan, Tony Furtado.

Inside Info: You’ll need a three-day pass for camping.

40th Annual Run the Rockies 10k and Half Marathon

JUNE 4  |  Frisco, CO

Run from Copper Mountain through Ten Mile Canyon and end on Frisco’s Main Street.

Don’t Miss: The post-race party with beer from Backcountry Brewery.

Inside Info: Racers must take the shuttle to the Copper Mountain start.   


Eagle Outside Festival / CO XC & Enduro State Championship

JUNE 4-5  |  Eagle, CO

Colorado’s up-and-coming outdoor epicenter hosts these fun games as well as the Colorado state cross-country and enduro championships.

Don’t Miss: Six live bands at the Bonfire Block Party.

Inside Info: There are killer lodging deals available in town.

GoPro Mountain Games

JUNE 9-12  |  Vail, CO

The Mountain Games have grown to become the biggest outdoor sports and lifestyle happening in the West. The best thing about them? Anyone can compete or just watch top athletes do their thing.

Don’t Miss: The Mountain Mud Run. Costumes are welcome!

Inside Info: Stephen Marley will be playing a free concert.      


JUNE 9-12  |  Boulder, CO

Boulder’s core yoga festival draws gurus and curious students from around the globe.

Don’t Miss: Janet Stone, Richard Freeman, Amy Ippoliti.

Inside Info: Sign up for a hike with EO resident badass Gina Caputo.

Golden Music Festival

JUNE 10-12  |  Golden, CO

Looking for a fest without all the fuss of the big events? Head to Golden.

Don’t Miss: Lineup TBD.

Inside Info: Head up Clear Creek Canyon for climbing and biking.

Palisade Bluegrass
and Roots

JUNE 10-12  |  Palisade, CO

Pickin’ and strummin’ in peach tree  country—sounds dreamy.

Don’t Miss: David Grisman.

Inside Info: Bring your bike.


JUNE 10-12  |  State Bridge, CO

This music happening in the San Juans doubles as an excuse for an outdoor adventure road trip.

Don’t Miss: Space funk with the Magic Beans.

Inside Info: No pets allowed.


JUNE 11  |  Denver, CO

Downtown Denver’s music fest is one giant block party.

Don’t Miss: Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe, Analog Son.

Inside Info: Wear a costume.

City of Aspen- Aspen
Gran Fondo

JUNE 11  |  Aspen, CO

Join Lance Armstrong and friends for an epic 50-mile ride in Aspen.

Don’t Miss: 3,911 feet of climbing.

Inside Info: A Gran Fondo can be a race or a casual ride—it’s up to you.


JUNE 11  |  Meeker, CO

Music, art and beer in the mountains.

Don’t Miss: Chicago Farmer.

Inside Info: Enter the 10K race or metal art competition for a free pass.   

Telluride Bluegrass

JUNE 16-19  |  Telluride, CO

What’s there to say? It’s the original.

Don’t Miss: Emmylou Harris, Leftover Salmon, Ryan Adams.

Inside Info: The Punch Brothers play Nightgrass on Sunday.

Sonic Bloom

JUNE 16-19  |  Rye, CO

It’s everything a Millennial tripster yogi could ever wish for.

Don’t Miss: Bonobo’s DJ set.

Inside Info: Hit a yoga class with two of our favorite teachers: Rob Loud and Katrina Kopeck.


JUNE 16-19  |  Salida, CO

The oldest and boldest whitewater festival on the planet just keeps getting bigger and better.

Don’t Miss: The famous anything goes Hooligan Race, Robert Randolph and the Family Band and some amazing freestyle kayak action.

Inside Info: Eddyline Brewery serves up hard-to-find, limited-edition beers throughout the weekend.     

Rails and Ales

JUNE 18  |  Alamosa, CO

Riding a train across Colorado and drinking beer? Kerouac be praised!

Don’t Miss: Block party at San Luis Brewery the night before.

Inside Info: The event sells out months in advance.

Estes Park Marathon & Half

JUNE 18-19  |  Estes Park, CO

These super scenic races should be on the calendar for all runners.

Don’t Miss: Grab up to four of your running pals and sign up for the less-daunting marathon team relay.

Inside Info: It’s a family friendly event with a 5K, too.  

Crested Butte BIke Week

JUNE 23-26

Crested Butte, CO

It’s a cyclist-centric party in the home  of the mountain bike.

Don’t Miss: The film festival.

Inside Info: If you are going to enter one race, make it the Chainless World Championships. Wear a costume.

Salida Art walk

JUNE 24-26  |  Salida, CO

Local and regional artists exhibit their dynamic works, musicians play on the streets and at participating venues, and the infamous street performers of the Salida Circus and Salida’s very own Mud People romp.

Don’t Miss: Head out on the new Art Walk After Dark.

Inside Info: Relax with a cocktail at Woods Distillery at night.

Royal Gorge
Whitewater Festival

JUNE 24-25  |  Cañon City, CO

Held where the Arkansas River tumbles out of the world famous Royal Gorge, this premier whitewater and river event features 20 different events, seven bands, great food and fun for the whole family.

Don’t Miss: The Build Your Own Boat Race and headline bands.

Inside Info: You won’t want to miss the live auction on the 25th at 8 p.m.

Blues from the Top

JUNE 25-26  |  Winter Park, CO

Get it on at the second-oldest Blues Festival in Colorado.

Don’t Miss: The breaks: short sets from ultra-talented youngsters on the “Future of The Blues” Stage.

Inside Info: There will be pre-parties and after-parties at Smokin’ Moe’s.  

Keystone’s Blue Ribbon Bacon Tour

JUNE 25-26  |  Keystone, CO

Yep, bacon. And music and stuff.

Don’t Miss: Earn a “Bacon Diploma” at the Bacon Education Center.

Inside Info: Be sure to try a Bacon Bloody Mary.  

Clear Creek RapiDgrass

JUNE 24-26

Idaho Springs, CO

This is real bluegrass, folks.

Don’t Miss: Peter Rowan and Rapidgrass, The David Grisman Bluegrass Experience.

Inside Info: Volunteer as a street team member and earn a free pass.

Jazz Aspen Snowmass

JUNE 24 – july 2  |  Aspen, CO

Jazz? Yes. But there are also a lot of big-name acts mixed into this big-time musical showcase.

Don’t Miss: Diana Ross.

Inside Info: For true jazz, hit the Jas Cafe at the Little Nell during the festival and beyond.  


JUNE 30-july 3

Snowmass, CO

Far more than a yoga festival, this enlightened throwdown is a community gathering.

Don’t Miss: Eoin Finn’s Blissology—you’ll hug someone on your way to  all those athletic asanas.

Inside Info: Set your schedule as soon as you can. Classes fill up fast.


Ten Sleep Climbing Festival

JUly 2  |  Ten Sleep, WY

Hosted by the Ten Sleep Brewing Company, this all-ages climbing get-together with live music features onsite support from Petzl, Scarpa, prAna, the American Alpine Club and more.

Don’t Miss: Jalan Crossland Band.

Inside Info: This is the only brewery you’ll visit that began in a barn.

Pikes Peak Art and Music

July 2-4  
colorado springs, CO

Chill with art and tunes in the middle of downtown Colorado Springs.

Don’t Miss: The hands-on demonstrations at booths.

Inside Info: Bring your gear to climb at Garden of the Gods.  

Ridgway Concert Series

July 7-28  |  Ridgway, CO

This free concert series gets Ridgway hopping on Thursday nights in July.

Don’t Miss: Honey Island Swamp Band on opening night, July 7.

Inside Info: The late show starts at the Sherbino Theater starting at 9:30pm—it’s full of surprises.



High Mountain Hay Fever

JUly 7-10  |  Westcliffe, CO

No pop bands posing as “bluegrass” here—this mellow fest attracts roots aficionados who care more about the music than the party-crowd mentality.

Don’t Miss: The Claire Lynch Band.

Inside Info: Catch the workshops with headliner bands.

Copper Mountain Music Fest

JUly 8-10

Copper Mountain, CO

Copper turns into a big festival ground for this rollicking good time.

Don’t Miss: Check the website for the lineup. Beer is a given.

Inside Info: Stop by and say hello to the EO Road Show Crew!


JUly 9-10  |  Telluride, CO

The fifth incarnation of this hip happening is sure to get butts moving.

Don’t Miss: Pearl Jam!

Inside Info: Bring your bike to get back and forth from Town Park.

Pueblo Whitewater Festival

JUly 9-10  |  Pueblo, CO

This annual shindig features kayak and SUP competitions alongside other events meant to promote the outdoors and an active lifestyle.

Don’t Miss: Cash prizes to competition winners.

Inside Info: There’s camping and mountain biking nearby at Pueblo Lake State Park.

Winter Park Rendezvous Mountain Bike Capital USA™


July 9-10  |  Winter park, CO

This namesake weekend promotes Winter Park as mountain bike heaven.

Don’t Miss: Free cycle coaching from top Colorado pro riders.

Inside Info: There’s free yoga to soothe those aches on Sunday.

Upadowna: ROAR in the City

July 16

Colorado Springs, CO

Grab your team, roll up your sleeves and get ready to put your brawn and brain to the test with numerous physical and mental activities.

Don’t Miss: There will be free food and beer, prizes and the “MVJ” (Most Valuable Jedi) at the after-party.

Inside Info: Be sure to have fun!

Boulder Beer Company’s 37th Anniversary

JUly 16   |  Boulder, CO

Boulder plus beer equals party.

Don’t Miss: Live music from Half Raff, The Al Capones and The Goonies.

Inside Info: In addition to their core brands, there will be over a dozen rare experimental brews on tap.

Breck 100

JUly 16  |  Breckenridge, CO

Ready for the pain? The alpine singletrack course climbs 13,719 feet over 100 miles crossing over the Continental Divide three times.

Don’t Miss: Enjoy some downtime in Breckenridge post race.

Inside Info: Not quite ready for the 100 miles? Challenge your abilities and ride the 68 or 32 mile courses.

Keystone Wine and Jazz

JUly 16-17  |  Keystone, CO

Sip like a pro and chill in the village.

Don’t Miss: The grand tasting!

Inside Info: Bring your bike and ride the gondola or climb to the top.  

Festival in the Clouds

JUly 16-17  |  Alma, CO

This little festival in Colorado’s highest incorporated municipality serves up continuous live music as well as things like gems and minerals.

Don’t Miss: Check the website for the music lineup.

Inside Info: There are quite a few campgrounds in the area.

Targhee fest

JUly 17-26

Grand Targhee Resort, WY

It’s well worth making the drive from the Front Range to rage in the Tetons.

Don’t Miss: Drive-By Truckers, Grace Potter, Electric Hot Tuna.

Inside Info: Come back! Targhee will host a Bluegrass Festival in August with the Infamous Stringdusters.

The Divide Music Festival

JUlY 22-24  |  Winter Park, CO

Be sure to catch the latest happening on the Colorado festival circuit!

Don’t Miss: Blondie, Cake, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros.

Inside Info: Got an Airstream? There’s RV parking/camping here. 


JUly 29-31  |  Lyons, CO

If you love bluegrass and can only make one festival this summer make it this one held at the classic grounds of Planet Bluegrass in Lyons.

Don’t Miss: Punch Brothers, Bela Fleck and Abigail Washburn.

Inside Info: Register for the instrument contests.

Oyster Ridge Music Festival

July 29-31  |  Kemmerer, Wy

Head north for core bluegrass music from artists around the country.

Don’t Miss: Robin and Roberts, The Lowest Pair, Scratchdog Stringband.

Inside Info: Free camping is available with showers nearby.



AUGUST 5-7  |  Loveland, CO

Arise has risen to the top of our calendar. It’s more cultural happening than mere music festival. Be there.

Don’t Miss: Ziggy Marley, Jurassic 5, Hard Working Americans, Wildlight.

Inside Info: Chanting and flow with Boulder yogi Steph Schwartz is a magic experience.


AUGUST 5-7  |  Buena Vista, CO

This brand-new festival was the brainchild of former pro kayaker Jed Selby (see page 15 for the story).

Don’t Miss: Odesza, Alabama Shakes, Trey Anastasio Band.

Inside Info: Sign up for a rafting, SUP or kayak experience, too.  

Telluride Jazz Festival

AUGUST 5-7  |  Telluride, CO

Telluride Jazz brings in acts with as much credence as Telluride Bluegrass but with far less of the hoopla.

Don’t Miss: Galactic, Marcus Miller.

Inside Info: The Telluride Student All-Star Jazz Ensemble, made up of students from age 13 through 18, plays throughout town and opens the festival on the Town Park Main Stage.

Keystone Bluegrass and Beer Festival

august 6-7  |  Keystone, CO

You have to love a fest built around “frothy flavors and hillbilly luxuries.”

Don’t Miss: Haymarket Squares, Kanktankerous, Blue Moon.

Inside Info: Check out New Belgium’s bike-in cinema Thursday.  

Steamboat Movement Fest

AUGUST 11-14  |  Steamboat, CO

Movement is more than yoga or sport.

Don’t Miss: Classes with Rusty. Wells, Gina Caputo, Valerie D’Ambrosio, Lisa Fierer.

Inside Info: Check the website for pre-fest events in Steamboat.

18th Annual Crestone Music Festival

AUGUST 12-14  |  Crestone, CO

This three-day, multi-cultural, multi-genre event summons up vendors, global cuisine and Colorado libations.

Don’t Miss: The Fabulous Thunderbirds, T Sisters, BandaBordel.

Inside Info: Hike a Fourteener, too.  

City of Aspen- Aspen Backcountry Marathon

AUGUST 13  |  Aspen, CO

This beautiful, full marathon is run almost exclusively on singletrack.

Don’t Miss: The diversity and elevation gain will challenge even the well trained athlete.

Inside Info: There’s a new route, new date and new half marathon, too.


AUGUST 26-28  |  Nederland, CO

If it’s in Ned, it needs to be weird, or at least alternatively expressive. Ned Fest delivers with music, art, crafts, microbrews and assorted oddness.

Don’t Miss: Colorado Bluegrass Music Society’s Young Pickers.

Inside Info: Be sure to head over and visit our friends at Salto for libations.

Bristol Brewing Buses at the Brewery


Colorado Springs, CO

The Brewery celebrates the iconic and beloved Volkswagen bus, with about 40 unique buses of every variety, age, and level of renovation on display out front.

Don’t Miss: Rogue VWs that are not buses sneak in every year.

Inside Info: The day starts with a cruise ride through town of all the buses in the fest. Look for the Bristol family’s own 1967 bus with the family’s Laughing Lab hanging out of the window.  


AUGUST 19-21  |  Lyons, CO

The smallest of Planet Bluegrass’ big three festivals is our personal favorite thanks to its laid-back vibe and eclectic music lineup.

Don’t Miss: The Decemberists, Lucinda Williams, Passenger.

Inside Info: Bring your bike and take a break with a spin on Hall Ranch.  


Four Corners Folk Festival

sept. 2-4  |  Pagosa Springs, CO

Meet the sister festival to FolkWest’s Pagosa Folk ‘N Bluegrass Festival. Enjoy the same core vibe and listen to rootsy performers under a 1,200-plus-person tent or kick back in the surrounding meadow.

Don’t Miss: Del McCoy, Sara Watkins, The Milk Carton Kids.

Inside Info: Beyond its festivals, FolkWest runs bluegrass camps for adults and kids, June 2–4 in Pagosa.  

Jazz Aspen Snowmass Labor Day Experience

sept. 2-4  |  Aspen, CO

Yeah, well forget about the jazz, this festival pulls in big-gun talent.

Don’t Miss: Stevie Wonder, The Killers, Duran Duran, Train.

Inside Info: Bring your bike and hit the Government Trail between sets.  

Telluride Blues and Brews

sept. 16-18  |  Telluride, CO

Telluride’s other big festival tops our personal list for fall must-do events.

Don’t Miss: Stay tuned to the website for this year’s lineup.

Inside Info:  The Grand Tasting features top-notch craft brewers competing to be the crowd favorite.

Colorfest in Pagosa

sept. 16-18

Pagosa Springs, CO

Enjoy fall with wine from around the world, beer from local craft brewers, local food and, of course, music.

Don’t Miss: Mass balloon ascensions on Saturday, September 17 at 8 a.m.

Inside Info: Archuleta County Victims Assistance hosts the Annual 5K Colorfest Color Run on Saturday.

 16th Annual Mountain Harvest Festival

sept. 22-25  | PAONIA, CO

When the weather cools, this festival heats up the North Fork Valley.

Don’t Miss: The lineup will be posted on the website.

Inside Info: Mountain Harvest Creative, the nonprofit organization that manages the festival, supports local agriculture and the arts, provides educational opportunities and scholarships.

City of Aspen Salomon Golden Leaf Half Marathon

sept. 24  | Aspen, CO

If you only run one trail race this year, make it this scenic beauty.

Don’t Miss: Don’t fear. It’s more down than up. The course runs 13.1 miles with 980 feet of elevation gain and 1,712 feet of descent.

Inside Info: Book a room at the Little Nell for post-race relaxation.

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