Animas River Days in Durango

Animas River Days in Durango celebrate the local Animas River and reflect the important connection that it has to the heart of the city. The festival is a much loved event and it emphasizes the importance of keeping the river ecosystem clean and healthy – as well as the whole of Durango. Why not come out this June and celebrate this year’s Animas River Days in Durango?


History Of Animas River Days

Animas River Days began in the year 1985, when the first official whitewater rodeo in the town of Durango was put on by local paddling legend Nancy Wiley. This event has been drawing paddlers and spectators around the world to its events ever since. Over the years the festival has grown and now it draws hundreds of people. Durango has established a reputation as the best paddling community in the State of Colorado. There’s no other event quite like it, in the way that it captures the natural power and beauty of the Animas River and the energy of Durango.

Activities During The Events

This thrilling festival includes a number of events, including the Kayak & Canoe Slalom, the Smelter Smackdown Raft Race, Inflatable Rodeo, and all kinds of freestyle options for both the inexperienced and the advanced. Anyone can take part in the events, so sign up in advance if you want to join in with the fun. You can register for the events on Friday, June 2nd from 3:00 to 6:00 PM at Santa Rita Park. Competitor meetings are held 15 minutes before the start of each event.

There will be a few other special events accompanying the Saturday activities, starting Thursday, June 1st with Paddling Film Night at the Animas City Theater to kick off the weekend. After the day is over, El Rancho Tavern will be hosting the Late Night Dance Party at 10:00 PM, featuring Hello Dollface.

Whitewater Park in Durango

Durango is home to the Whitewater Park, which is where many of the events of the festival take place. The Whitewater Park has hosted the US National Teams for many years for slalom, free-style and wild water events. It has also been where the US National Championships took place in open canoe slalom and slalom. From 1989 to the year 1996 it was also where the Champion International Whitewater Slalom Series were held.

The new park opened up in 2014 with 12 rapid features, including Corner Pocket, Smelter Rapid and Ponderosa. The larger rapids at the park rate as Class IIIs at the lower water sections and Class IVs at the higher water sections. The park has been re-shaped and there are three new good features. The top wave is a fast one that greens out at the top and in the lower water there is a wavy hole where you can do lots of tricks.


Head down to Animas River Days so that you can enjoy the fun of this great whitewater festival – one of the most exciting events in the Durango calendar.