FIBArk 2023: America’s Oldest Whitewater Festival Known as ‘America’s Oldest and Boldest Whitewater Festival’, FIBArk (short for First in Boating on the Arkansas) is a free event that has marked the spring snow melting and the beginning of the Whitewater season since 1949. In its 50+ years, outdoor and adventure enthusiasts can enjoy a ‘raft’ […]FIBArk 2023 Salida Colorado USA
Known as ‘America’s Oldest and Boldest Whitewater Festival’, FIBArk (short for First in Boating on the Arkansas) is a free event that has marked the spring snow melting and the beginning of the Whitewater season since 1949. In its 50+ years, outdoor and adventure enthusiasts can enjoy a ‘raft’ of water sports, such as freestyle kayaking, Stand Up Paddling and slalom; mixed with land-based events, including mountain biking, 5 and 10k running races, trail running and music throughout the three days. The signature event of the weekend is the Downriver Race – the longest, oldest and most respected Whitewater race in North America.
“FIBArk aims to promote, preserve, protect, and enhance whitewater paddle sports in the greater Salida area through education, competition, and commemoration”
Salida is located in the heart of the Rockies, a three-hour drive from Colorado’s Gateway City, Denver, which is best reached by car.
The area has more than a dozen mountains that top 14,000 feet, and as such is a paradise for those seeking challenging hiking and biking trails, Via Ferrata courses, as well as on-water adventures. There’s also an Aerial Adventure Park which features over 120 obstacles, including swinging bridges, ladders and cable swings.
A number of lodging options are available in Salida for visitors attending FIBArk. Less than three miles from the event and on the river, visitors can camp at Salida East during FIBArk.
There are also several accommodation options in the region, ranging from Mt. Princeton Hot Springs Resort with cliffside rooms and rustic log cabins; to boutique downtown properties, such as the Tudor Rose, Mountain Goat Lodge and the Salida Inn and Hostel, as well as motel and hostel options.
As Salida is located in the Upper Arkansas River Valley, adventures on the river are abundant. The best months for this are June to September, with an abundance of options for Whitewater rafting, fly-fishing or paddling.
Mountain biking the extensive trail system that follows the winding Arkansas River. There are trails suitable for all experience levels, those seeking an epic ride should try the Monarch Crest.
Explore the ghost towns in the region, which are a short drive from the town of Salida. St. Elmo is one of Colorado’s best-preserved ghost towns with many buildings on its main street still intact. The town dates back to 1878 and was once populated by gold and silver prospectors and their families.
Salida is located on Colorado’s Historic Hot Springs Loop; with a selection of mineral-rich hot springs pools in and around the mountain town to take a soak in after a day of adventure. 30 miles north of Salida is Mt. Princeton Hot Springs Resort with day passes available and a variety of pools, all formed of rock and set into the ground, to relax in. Roughly 40 minutes’ drive from Salida is Valley View Hot Springs; set into the rocks with sweeping views across the valley. Note that clothing is optional at Valley View Hot Springs and booking ahead is recommended.
This year’s edition of FIBArk will take place from June 15-18, 2023.
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