Is The Animas River Days Festival All It’s Cracked Up To Be?

By Mild to Wild   •   May 2, 2017

Summertime in Southwest Colorado is a great time to explore all that Durango white water rafting has to offer. The Lower Animas river runs right through the heart of town. Locals and visitors alike take to the river to cool off on hot summer days. In celebration of all that the Lower Animas brings to the community, is the Animas River Days Festival. The festival is a weekend long celebration right here in Durango. The events celebrate and showcase the talent and excitement of Durango white water rafting. This year’s festival is on June 3rd and has an exhilarating line-up of events!


Durango White Water Rafting


Durango White Water Rafting: How did the Animas River Days Start?

The Animas River Days began in 1985 when Nancy Wiley hosted a “whitewater rodeo” in Durango. The first of its kind, it was a celebration of Durango white water rafting. Over time the festival has grown and draws in crowds from all over the world. Participants flock to Durango to compete and spectate in the lively events. The whitewater park in Durango has become the center of the festival in recent years. The Durango white water rafting park is well-known for three exciting rapids: Smelter, Corner Pocket, and Ponderosa. These rapids are rated as Class III, but in high water can be bumped up to Class IV. The whitewater park is a great location for spectators to watch the events. The Animas River Days is a local favorite to celebrate Durango white water rafting.



Durango White Water Rafting


What’s Going on During the Festival?

The day of the festival is jam-packed with competitive and fun events. The day  kicks off bright and early with a host of river sport competitions. In the afternoon things begin to calm down. Event finals will take place as the Durango white water rafting park begins to fill up. We recommend watching the events from the large boulders that line the riverside in the Durango Whitewater Park. Be sure to wander around the park to explore all the offerings from local vendors and booths. In the afternoon you can expect fun to watch events such as the Inflatable Rodeo hosted by Mild to Wild Rafting and Jeep Tours.  The can’t-miss culmination of the event is the raft parade. The parade starts at 32nd street and goes all the way down to Santa Rita park. Watch a variety of decorated vessels try to tackle the raging smelter rapids. Chances are good you’ll see a boat flip. The event ends with a Late Night Party at El Rancho Tavern. Starting at 8:30 AM and going late into the night, it is a full day of Durango white water rafting!


Durango White Water Rafting


Durango White Water Rafting – The Best Way to Experience the Festival

The Animas River Days is a great time to try Durango Whitewater rafting. Expereince the same whitewater challenges as the competitors. On Saturday take a raft trip down the Lower Animas river. Follow up a day of rafting with a brewery tour in the evening. Durango is a town that is well-known for its beer! Take a break from Durango white water rafting for a refreshment. Visit any of our many fine breweries such as Ska, Carver’s, Steamworks, Durango Brewing Company, and Animas Brewing Company. On Sunday get out and participate in and spectate the festival events.


Durango White Water Rafting


If you are planning a trip to Durango the weekend of June 3rd, get ready for a weekend of river fun! Lather on the sunscreen, grab your buddies, and head down to the Animas River. Watch some of Durango’s most spectacular whitewater racing. If you think the events look like fun, try your hand at Durango white water rafting! We’ll see you there!


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