Most people in Colorado love the outdoors. In the Rockies, nature is boundless, offering something for everyone. So it makes sense that festivals around the state celebrate outdoor activities, some showcasing films about world-class athletes, others offering you the chance to zip down the slopes on cardboard, jump into a freezing-cold pond or take on rapids in a kayak. Here are eleven of the best outdoors festivals in Colorado:
No Man’s Land Flagship Film Festival
March 5 to 8
$18 per day
Now in its fifth year, the No Man’s Land Flagship Film Festival celebrates women pushing boundaries within outdoor recreation. The documentaries, shown over four days, explore an array of topics, from mountain biking and skiing to tightrope walking. Journey around the world with these women living on the edge of sports.
Steamboat Springalicious Festival
April 1 to 12
Steamboat Ski and Resort
April is the perfect month to enjoy ski season and head to the slopes for warm and slushy shredding. The Steamboat Springalicious Festival brings a host of activities for warm-weather skiers. Race in the Cardboard Classic, zipping down Stampede in a cardboard craft; take a dip in a chilly pond; and enjoy music by Colorado favorites like the Lil Smokies and the Motet.
Front Range Splitfest
April 2 to 5
Berthoud Pass, Winter Park
Three-day passes range from $30 (no rental gear) to $99 (includes rental gear)
This festival brings together Colorado splitboarders to learn new skills and build friendships for life. All levels of riders are welcome. After spending your days touring Berthoud Pass, sip free beer from Upslope Brewing at happy hours for ticket holders. At night, pay for a hotel or sleep in your van in the event parking lot or in the Summit Lot of Berthoud Pass.
Burning Can Festival
Lyons Outdoor Games in Bohn Park, Lyons
Tickets range from $10 to $64 and do not include camping or participation in events
This festival combines beer, music and adrenaline. The Burning Can Festival was born after the 2013 flood in Lyons almost destroyed the town. To help support recovery, Oskar Blues organized a local outdoor festival, an effort that brought in money for Lyons and created a fun yearly tradition. At Burning Can, try beer from more than seventy breweries, enjoy an impressive concert lineup, and compete on your bike, in relay races and in whitewater activities, then stretch it out during group yoga. Make a weekend of it by purchasing camping permits for Friday and Saturday night.
May 22 to 25
Passes range in price from $395 to $5,000
Mountainfilm brings some of the best films about the celebration, exploration and preservation of the natural world to the picturesque ski town of Telluride. Passes range in price, with the most expensive guaranteeing access to every film and event. E-tickets allow festival-goers to reserve a spot at specific films; otherwise tickets are first come, first served.
GoPro Mountain Games
June 2 to 7
The GoPro Mountain Games take place each summer in Vail. From Thursday through Sunday, this little mountain town hosts competitions in outdoor summer sports, including biking, rafting, climbing, fishing, running and slack lining, among many others. There’s even an entire area dedicated to competitions among our canine pals. With this much going on, each day at the GoPro Mountain Games brings exciting new adventures followed by free concerts after the sun goes down.
Crested Butte Bike Week
June 24 to 28
As the oldest bike festival in the world, Crested Butte Bike Week is a must-attend event for bikers nationwide. This five-day-long celebration of all things biking includes races and rides for every type and level of biker, clinics where bikers can improve their skills, and other events geared to make the festival fun for die-hards as well as their plus ones. Little about this year's Crested Butte Bike Week has been released yet, so keep checking the website for details.
June 18 to 21
Arkansas River, Salida
Dating back to 1949, FIBArk is one of the oldest outdoor festivals in the state. The strange name stands for “First in Boating on the Arkansas,” and that is exactly what happens during this four-day event. Everything at FIBArk revolves around whitewater and water sports, including goofy competitions like SUP Boxing and the Hooligan race to seriously difficult whitewater races.
Royal Gorge Whitewater Festival
July 10 to 11
Centennial Park, Cañon City
$5 for adults, free for children, prices vary for events
Cañon City hosts its own whitewater festival on the Arkansas River. The Royal Gorge Whitewater Festival includes competitions for both expert and beginner paddlers, as well as a 5K, a 10K, and a mountain bike ride for attendees who prefer dry land. The festival includes two stages for musical guests and tons of retail vendors and food trucks.
Boulder Environmental/Nature/Outdoors Film Festival (ENOFF)
July 16 to 19
Dairy Arts Center, Boulder
$185 for an all-access festival pass
Coming into its second year, Boulder ENOFF is a film festival about how humans interact with the natural world. International and homegrown films about the environment are included, all educating, inspiring or spurring you to action. There will be guest speakers, interactive educational displays and parties, including a “green carpet” opening-night reception.
Rapids and Grass
July 3 to 5
Ticket prices vary
This festival combines river floating and bluegrass. Located along the bank of the Arkansas in Buena Vista, enjoy some of the best pickin' out there while admiring the river's beauty. On the last day of the festival, head to the Freedom Float, a group trip along a portion of the Arkansas River called Milk Run, which contains both leisurely sections and Class III rapids. The float ends at the River Runners campground, where more music will be waiting.
What are your favorite outdoor festivals? Let us know at email@example.com.
Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.