Now that the season has changed, it’s time to do something outdoors that doesn’t involve your long underwear. Luckily, Salida, Buena Vista, and neighboring Leadville have a plethora of spring and summertime activities for you to enjoy. From running to whitewater rafting to dog events, these outdoor activities will keep you loving Colorado.

FIBArk, or First In Boating the Arkansas, is Colorado’s whitewater festival from June 15-18. Salida started the race in 1949 when six boats raced through the Royal Gorge. Four years later, the little city hosted North America’s first whitewater slalom event with the start of the three-day festival. After a snowy winter, FIBArk capitalizes on the water from spring runoff, which helped it earn and keep the title of America’s longest whitewater race. During the competition, rafters and kayakers must clear 25 to 30 gates over a half-mile course, and points are deducted when they hit, miss, or go through a gate the wrong direction. In addition to water events like the Crazy River Dog competition and the Hooligan Race, you’ll find live music, children’s activities, and a parade.

Ride mountain bikes, but running out of options to try new and fun places? Check out the Salida Bike Park, packed full of singletrack. For the advanced rider, try Monarch Crest Trail to Silver Creek. This 40-mile long ride starts at 11,400 feet, and you’ll enjoy stunning views of the Rocky Mountains on the way down. For a less challenging, shorter ride, try a local favorite: Bear Creek to Rainbow Trail. This singletrack, still largely unknown in the West, offers stunning views of the Sawatch Mountain Range in the distance.

The Salida Art Walk, June 22-25, is hosted in one of Colorado’s largest historic towns. Expect events featuring both indoor and outdoor displays of art, including street performers and demos. You’ll visit galleries, boutiques, and restaurants during this annual event. Salida also hosts the Riverside Fine Arts Festival, July 15-16, on the banks of the Arkansas to display paintings from 100 fine artists from 15 different states. Can’t make the art walk? The Downtown Salida Art District hosts show openings and artist receptions on the second Saturday of each month.

Love craft beer? So do we. The 20th Annual Brewers Rendezvous is a brew fest on July 8; visitors sample unique beers from specialty craft brewers around the state  while relishing food from local vendors ranging from hot dogs to Thai noodles. The Salida Chamber of Commerce hosts this event in Riverside Park.

Buena Vista and Salida hold a Community Dog Walk every Saturday at 9:00 a.m. This is a great time to meet other dog lovers and have fun with your canine. Does your dog pull when you walk him? The training staff at Gone to the Dogs offers tips on how to stop pulling and other behavioral challenges. Puppies are trained for walks while being socialized with other dogs.

Starting in June, Buena Vista presents farmers markets every other Friday. Want fresh eggs from chickens raised in the region? You can find them here, as well as pasta, cheese, and fresh fruits and veggies. Locally grown food supports your community economy, helping your neighbors rather than a nationwide chain, and the farmers market is a chance to socialize, hear live music, and stroll—all while selecting fresh and delicious food.

Buena Vista’s 95-year-old Collegiate Peaks Stampede Rodeo is a fun event for the entire family; this year, experience a piece of Colorado’s history June 10-11. Kids can even compete in the mutton busting competition, and there’s calf roping and bronco bustin’ for adults, too.

Leadville hosts the Trail Marathon and the Heavy Half—qualifying events for the Leadville 100—which run through the historic mining district on the east side of town. Qualifying spots are allocated based on top age-group finishers, and the rest will be drawn among runners who have finished in the allotted time. Check out for information on all of Leadville’s competitive events!
Salida, Buena Vista, and Leadville offer a variety of family-friendly activities all summer; check out their websites or to get your family outside and into the mountains!