The Royal Gorge Whitewater Festival

Not to be outdone by other nearby river towns that host popular river festivals, Cañon City began its own whitewater event in 2009. Appropriately called the Royal Gorge Whitewater Festival, this two-day river celebration includes water and land events, music, and vendors showcasing the latest in outdoor gear, unique crafts, and locally brewed beer. What began with the idea to hold a Build Your Own Boat Race, the festival has since grown into a multi-day celebration with over 20 events to choose from.

Much of the festival takes place in Centennial Park and Cañon City’s whitewater park, which boasts a pair of man-made waves dubbed Flytrap and Nessman, sandstone bleachers that overlook the features, and a wading pool for children.

The festival’s whitewater events include river board freestyle, downriver kayak, raft races, SUP cross, raft rodeo, inner tube races, and more. There’s also a lot to do on land with adventure races—think mud pits, ice baths, and pipe crawls—pixie bike races, and yoga.

The party doesn’t stop there. With dozens of food, beer, craft, and outdoor gear vendors, there’s still more to experience. And with live music set to play throughout the evening, this festival offers a great time for all.

The purpose of the Royal Gorge Whitewater Festival is to promote the outdoors and an active lifestyle and to raise money for the whitewater park’s expansion, river restoration, and charitable causes.

This awesome whitewater celebration is a “must-do” in the Royal Gorge Region. It’s a great opportunity to learn a new river sport, watch professionals in action, and hang with some laid-back, super fun locals.

For more information on the Royal Gorge Whitewater Festival, visit For dates, check out Royal Gorge Region’s calendar.