Whitewater Racing in Salida

The Upper Arkansas River is known as some of the best whitewater in the country, home to too many epic runs to mention and the ever-popular Brown’s Canyon, a nationally renowned stretch of whitewater that accommodates peaceful floats and monster rapids all in a single trip. When it comes to whitewater racing in Salida, look no further than the FIBArk festival to wet your appetite!

FIBArk for Beginners

The FIBArk festival (which stands for First In Boating on the Arkansas) started in 1949, is the oldest whitewater festival in the United States, and is held annually in mid-June in Salida. It is THE place to be if you’re a whitewater enthusiast, and entails 4 packed days of river rat heaven. Here’s the short list of whitewater racing events you’ll find at FIBArk if you’re looking for competitions to enter:

  • Numbers Boater Races
  • Freestyle Kayak
  • Raft Sprint
  • SUP Surf Competitions
  • SUP Surf Cross (Demo Derby SUP Style)
  • Slalom Races
  • Downriver Raft, SUP, Kayak, and Canoe Races
  • Hooligan Race (A Make-Your-Own Whitewater Raft Race)

And if those whitewater options don’t peak your interest in the FIBark festival, there’s plenty of foam around the taps at free concerts and other fun events running throughout this 4 day whitewater racing extravaganza!

Salida Races

There are all kinds of racing meccas in the world. Formula One Racing has Monaco. Marathoners have the Boston Marathon. Horse Racing has Churchill Downs. Cyclists have the Tour de France. Daytona, the Iditarod, the Admiral’s Cup, the Terre Haute Action Track. The list goes on and on. For outdoor enthusiasts who embrace everything from mountain biking and trail running to cross country skiing and dog sledding, you can add Salida, CO to that list.

Count yours truly among the faithful. I first discovered Salida in my early twenties, when I visited over spring break with a college buddy whose parents had a cabin just outside of town. To make a long story short, I fell in love. Located in the upper Arkansas Valley in west-central Colorado, Salida is within a stone’s throw of the Sangre De Cristo mountain range, the San Luis Valley, 12 fourteeners and countless other peaks, and sits on the headwaters of the Arkansas River. As such, it’s a veritable playground for those who love the outdoors, including mountain bikers, cyclists, road runners, trail runners, kayakers, rafters, skiers, and snowshoe enthusiasts, myself included. And if you like to ramp it up a notch and add some competition to the mix, even better. In fact, that’s what we’re all about.

Here at Salida races, we’re in-the-know about the best and baddest races in town, from the FiBark Festival to the High Lonesome 100. Think of us like that river rat at the bar who knows every turn in the river, the gear head who has mapped every single track, drop, and rock garden, or the asphalt eater who won’t shut up about that last set of fartleks and their most recent PR. In short, if you like to get your heart racing, the sweat flowing, and the andrenaline pumping, you’re in the right place. Read on.