Looking for an exciting activity to do this month? How about some rafting in some of the best rivers in Colorado? The Gunnison River Festival will be happening June 23rd to the 26th so make some time and come on up for some amazing summer fun. With water levels the highest they’ve been in 14 years you’re assured a good time. See below for more information.
Corey Dwan
Benson Sotheby’s International Realty
970-596-3219 Cell
Offering rafting & kayaking bliss in the Colorado Rockies
Getting up close and personal with the rivers is what Gunnison County is all about.  Not only is there great rafting and kayaking, ranging from Class I to IV for guided trips on the Gunnison and Taylor Rivers, you’ll see amazing tricks at the Gunnison Whitewater Park.  The annual Gunnison River Festival on June 23 – 26 and some of the toughest kayaking in the United States on the Crystal River in Marble, ranging from Class II to V+, also are highlights from the county’s H2O-rich culture.
Local outfitters are expecting one of the best rafting seasons ever due to snow pack in the Taylor River Drainage that is approximately 150 percent of normal levels.
“We’re really excited about the water levels and should have great levels all year long. It also opens up some routes for the Upper Upper Taylor in an area we call Lottis Creek, with Class III and IV water that hasn’t been doable for the last couple of seasons,” says Matt Brown, co-owner of Scenic River Tours with offices in Gunnison and seven miles up the Taylor Canyon, http://www.scenicrivertours.com/.
“We are now offering raft trips every day.  The Taylor River is running higher right now than all of last year and summer flows may be at the highest level we’ve seen in 14 years.  Some think this is scary, but it actually makes the river less technical and smoother to navigate since the rocks are under water and it’s more fun because of the bigger waves,” adds Mark Schumacher, owner of Three Rivers Resort & Outfitting in Almont, http://www.3riversresort.com.
Gunnison River Festival, June 23 – 26
For a unique blend of hardcore and lighthearted outdoor recreation for all ages, don’t miss the ninth annual Gunnison River Festival.  Where else can you find a mix of USA Freestyle kayaking, a costume river parade, downriver raft race, hooligan race, kayak enduro, raft rodeo, foam boat and Strider Cup bike races for kids?
Gunnison Whitewater Park, redesigned in 2007 and 2008 and with a new feature and footbridge added in 2010, serves as home base for the festival at the corner of Highway 50 West and County Road 38.  Add in Taylor River near Almont and Oh-Be-Joyful Creek near Crested Butte and there is serious fun to be had on area waters.
The USA Freestyle Kayak (USAFK) tour returns to the festival in 2011 with a national point series. Classes include cadet (youth), open men/women and pro classes.  Also, National Whitewater Rafting paddlers will join the North Bridge Paddle Race.  “This brings a new element of great kayaking and rafting to our event as we are now part of the pro tour.  Freestyle kayaking is making an effort to become an Olympic sport by 2020,” says event organizer Angie Mauldin.
For costs, information, and registration forms, visit http://www.gunnisonriverfestival.com/ or call (970) 596-7094.  The following schedule is subject to change.
Thursday, June 23

  • Go With The Flow Yoga on the River, 6:45 p.m. – Whitewater Park

• Event registration and live music by “Red Lady String Quartet,” 5 – 7 p.m. – IOOF Park
Friday, June 24

  • Vendor’s Arena/Demo Expo, 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. – Whitewater Park
  • Sunset Concert with live music by “Better Late Than Never,” 6 – 8 p.m. – Whitewater Park

• Go With The Flow Yoga on the River, 6:45 p.m. – Whitewater Park
Saturday, June 25

  • Registration Booth, Opens at 8 a.m. – Whitewater Park
  • Community River Parade, 9 a.m. – Northbridge to Whitewater Park
  • Downriver Raft Race, 9:30 a.m. – Northbridge to Whitewater Park
  • Opening Ceremony, 10 a.m. – Whitewater Park
  • SUP Downriver Race, 11 a.m. – Whitewater Park
  • USA Freestyle Kayak Races, all day – Whitewater Park
  • River City Fun Zone for kids featuring interactive and educational activities to understand watersheds and underwater life, foam boat races and a Strider Cup bike race. Opens at 11 a.m. – Whitewater Park
  • SUP Surf Comp, 2 p.m. – Whitewater Park
  • Raft Rodeo, 2 p.m. – Whitewater Park
  • Hooligan Race (competitors race in boats made from non-boat materials such as inner tubes, kegs, barrels, etc.), 3:30 p.m. – Whitewater Park
  • Live Music by “Simpler Times,” 4 – 6 p.m. – Whitewater Park

• Raft Sprint Race, 5 p.m. – Whitewater Park
Sunday, June 26

  • Registration, Opens at 8 a.m. – Almont
  • Taylor Canyon Endure, 10 a.m. – Whitewater Put-In to Confluence
  • Upper Taylor Downriver Race, 10:30 a.m. – Whitewater Put-In to South Bank
  • Lower Taylor Family Float, Noon – 5-Mile Put-in

• Barbeque and live music, 4 p.m. – Almont Resort, Almont
Adventure Packages
Dinner Float Trip
Enjoy the area’s only dinner cruise, Rocky Mountain style!  Start out at Three Rivers Resort in Almont by 4 p.m. and enjoy a 10-mile scenic float trip on the Gunnison River to Garlic Mike’s Restaurant for a delicious Italian dinner. You will receive the float trip, vehicle shuttle and a voucher for Garlic Mike’s (tip is extra). The total time required is approximately three hours.  The trip is available seven nights a week with at least 24 hours notice and a minimum of four people.  For prices and reservations, call Three Rivers Resort at (888) 761-3474.
Lodging & Rafting Deal
Save on lodging and rafting when staying two nights or more at Three Rivers Resort in Almont from May 1 – June 10 and Aug. 15 – Sept. 30.  For only $100 per person, receive two night’s lodging in a lodge room or small, one-room cabin and one Upper Taylor whitewater raft trip each.  Price is based on two-person occupancy and does not include lodging taxes.  This offer is not valid with any other offers or existing reservations and can be booked by calling (888) 761-3474.  Other lodging options and custom packages can be arranged.  Visit http://www.3riversresort.com/.
Rock & Raft Package
Scenic River Tours is offering a new Rock & Raft Package, featuring a full day of adventure that includes lunch by the river.  Participants will whitewater raft the Taylor River until noon, stop for lunch, and raft some more before stopping to rock climbing in a new area being developed by Scenic River Tours.  Wrap up the day with more time on the water.  For more information and the cost, call (970) 641-3131 or visit http://www.scenicrivertours.com.