Gore Canyon Festival, Colorado August 23-25th, 2019

Register here [https://store.americanwhitewater.org/collections/gore-fest-race-registration ] All racers must come by Rancho del Rio to pick up bibs, sign waivers, and catch shuttles.

The Gore Canyon Festival is the premiere whitewater event in Colorado. Focused around the Class V downriver race through its namesake Gore Canyon on the Upper Colorado River, Gore Fest has brought the world’s elite whitewater athletes, families, anglers and river enthusiasts together for an awesome end of season event that celebrates the Upper Colorado River.

In addition to the famous Class V downriver race through Gore Canyon, the event also includes a family fun float through class II/III Hartman Canyon (aka Little Gore Canyon), a freestyle rodeo at the Gore Canyon Whitewater Park, and SUP downriver and cross races.

It is $10 for the weekend for entry into the festival grounds, that includes your camping. Festival amenities, including camping, food, and entertainment, are located at Rancho del Rio, 10 miles downstream of the BLM's Pumphouse Recreation Site. Limited camping is available at the BLM's Pumphouse Recreation Site on a first-come, first-serve basis. We encourage competitors and attendees to join the festival at Rancho del Rio, where we will be coordinating event logistics and registration, shuttles, and hosting movies, live music, food and drinks, and all things fun!

American Whitewater is heavily invested in the protection of the Colorado River and actively participates in long-term streamflow protection through the BLM and Forest Service management planning, and played a critical role in securing the Gore Canyon whitewater park or Recreational In-Channel Diversion (RICD), which gives boating flows on the Colorado River legal protection under State water law. AW is also the leading representative of the recreational community on the Upper Colorado River Wild and Scenic Stakeholders group where flows for the Colorado River are negotiated by AW and our stakeholders. American Whitewater is presenting the Gore Festival to celebrate this beautiful place we work hard to protect, and as an opportunity for paddlers, industry, and partners to enjoy and support our cooperative stewardship efforts.

The Gore Canyon Whitewater Park was built in 2015 as an effort by Grand County and its stakeholders (including AW) to protect up to 2500 cfs in the Colorado River for boating. This project was a huge success, especially for all of us who love to play on the Upper Colorado. The park is located between launch 1 and 2 at the BLM's Pumphouse Recreation Area. It creates a perfect transition from the Class V canyon to the family float to Radium or Rancho del Rio. Since the park was built in 2015, Gore Fest has hosted freestyle and paddle boarding events at the feature.

Race Registration

Gore Canyon Festival has an event for everyone. With the Gore Race as our main event, we now offer freestyle rodeo events, a SUP cross and downriver race, and a family float (no pre-regestration required for the family float). Your registration includes a one-year American Whitewater membership and entrance into a great raffle, race t-shirt, and live music on Saturday night after the Gore Race! Your first event costs $45 online and $50 on site. Sign up for an additional event and get it for just $10. To register in advance, and get a discount on your competitor fees, please visit [https://store.americanwhitewater.org/collections/gore-fest-race-registration ]

The following competitions will be offered at the Festival:

Gore Race:

The starting line is standard, at the gear up rock at the top of Fisherman’s Nightmare. The finish line is at the bottom of Kirschbaum. Mandatory pre-race meeting at 8:00am at Rancho del Rio (4199 Trough Road Bond, CO 80423), shuttles to the put-in leave at 8:30am sharp. Please load your gear onto the shuttle prior to the race meeting.

Safety and Rules

The 5 mile stretch of the Colorado River that makes up the race course consists of class IV/V rapids.

There will be safety set at all major rapids for this course. Racers should be proficient class IV/V paddlers. All racers must check in with race officials at the finish line regardless of completing the course.

Participants will be required to wear a PFD, helmet, and protective footwear.

Athletes should arrive at Rancho del Rio by 7 AM to go through gear check, sign the American Canoe Association Insurance and Liability Waiver, and attend the pre-race meeting.

The race will begin at noon, long boats first. Kayakers will start with 1 minute intervals. Rafts will start at 2 minute intervals after all hard boats. If you are planning on racing both long and short boat, you need to provide your own shuttle in between laps.

Categories Long Boat K-1 (longer than 9’)

Short Boat K-1 (shorter or equal 9’)

Rafts (Raft categories dependent on participation of a minimum of 3 rafts per division -R2, R4, R5, R6.)

Stand Up Paddle Cross at Pumphouse (11’ board maximum): This is a Stand Up Paddle Battle Royal on the Colorado River From Launch 1-2. Multiple heats through the new whitewater feature with multiple obstacles to navigate. SUP cross will start at 1pm on Saturday at Pumphouse. Shuttles will bring competitors from Rancho del Rio to Pumphouse and back. Shuttles will begin to run around 12pm on Saturday to get racers up to Pumphouse for practice runs.

Downriver Stand Up Paddle Sprint (11’ board maximum) from Pumphouse: Back with a new white water focused race format is the Gore Fest downriver SUP race. Racers will battle it out over the 1.4 mile course of class II rapids. The race will start in the flatwater immediately above the canyon entrance of the Pumphouse section. Racers will zip through the Eye of the Needle rapid all while trying to stay ahead of their peers. With a climatic finish at the river right beach above the hot springs.

Times Sunday August 26 at Noon (Race Start) Pre-race meeting at 11:00 AM at Pumphouse Boat Ramp

Safety and Rules The 1.4 mile stretch of the Colorado River that makes up the race course consists of class II rapids, with one class II+ rapid being the Eye of the Needle Rapid.

There will not be set safety for this course and racers should be proficient class II/III paddlers. All racers must check in with race officials at the finish line regardless of completing the course.

Participants will be required to wear a PFD, helmet, and protective footwear. Ankle leashes for SUP participants are not allowed, and all leashes must be releasable.

Athletes should arrive at the Pumphouse Boat Ramp by 10:45 AM to go through gear check, sign the American Canoe Association Insurance and Liability Waiver, and attend the pre-race meeting.

The races are run in a mass start from a starting line 50 feet upstream of the beginning of the rapids above the Eye of the Needle Rapid. All racers will start at the same time.

Categories: Men’s SUP; Women’s SUP

Racer’s are responsible for their own ride to Pumphouse. We will provide a shuttle from Radium to Pumphouse after the race.


While the race will start at noon at the flatwater 50 feet upstream of the beginning of the rapids. Racers and race officials will float down to the starting line, starting at approximately 11:15 am. There are normally sand bars and beaches directly upstream of the starting line for participants to congregate prior to the noon start time.

The first racer to finish by crossing the plane between the rock upstream of the Radium Hot Springs and the northern shore will be crowned the winner. Participants will line up in the order of their finish on the north shore 50 feet downstream and across from the hot springs until race officials have marked them safe and recorded their finishing positions

Freestyle Rodeo - Kayak at Pumphouse: will take place at 11 am Sunday.


Volunteers are needed to assist with the event. Gore Fest relies on the help of its dedicated volunteers to run a fun and safe event for everyone. We are currently recruiting volunteers to help with parking & event setup, race registration, entrance gate personnel, and the Green Team (aka waste management). Volunteers will receive free entrance to the event grounds, a free Gore Fest 2018 T-Shirt, and a TON of river karma. Volunteers that commit at least 6 hours of time will be entered into an AWESOME volunteer raffle. If you are interested in volunteering, please fill out the form below and we will follow up with you shortly. Your survey responses do not commit you to anything, and we will confirm your availability closer to the date of the event. Volunteer information is available at https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLScWANysh6VfDH7qma23ylB_hZz6zSf4mKnnuQQPACOh3wRpoA/viewform.

Vendors: We are seeking vendors for Gore Fest 2018. There is a booth fee of $150 per 10×10 tent location. Vendors can show up Friday (noon-7pm) or Saturday (11am-3pm). If arriving Saturday do not plan on setting up before 11am or after 3 pm. If you are interested in a booth at this years event please follow the link below to fill out the vendor registration form.

Vendor Registration
Additional Information and FAQ for Vendors

Camping: Camping is included in your $10 entrance fee to Rancho del Rio. Trailer/RV camping is available, but there are no hook ups. Dogs are allowed at Rancho, but please pick up after them. If you are racing or paddling the river all day please find someone to look after your dog. There is little shade and no dog sitters at Rancho. There will be food trucks on Saturday night for dinner. There is no running water on site. Campfires are only allowable in designated fire pit and if local fire restrictions allow. Please pack out your trash or place in a receptacle on site. Cabins are available for rent from Rancho del Rio, but entry into the Event is not included.

Spectating: There will be shuttles available for boaters wishing to spectate the Gore Race from the canyon. The shuttle is free. Please make sure all safety team members and racers have space on the shuttle before spectators load boats. There is access into the canyon on the Gore Canyon trail located at the BLM’s Pumphouse Recreation Area. The trail is difficult. It is an approximately 2 mile hike over same rocky terrain to get to the finish line of the race. Hike in spectators can hike as far as Toilet Bowl rapid before a cliff makes it impossible to move upstream. There will be no rafts available to shuttle hikers across the river.

Multiple events, such as the SUP Cross (1pm Saturday August 25th) and the freestyle kayak (11am Sunday August 26th) are located at the Gore Canyon Whitewater Park at Pumphouse. There is an accessible overlook and steps and a boulder terrace for onlookers. No shuttles will be provided to Pumphouse for spectators. It is approximately a 15 minute drive from Rancho del Rio to Pumphouse.


Friday August 24, 2018 6 pm - 8 pm Late Event Registration (All Events) at Rancho del Rio

8 pm River Film Screenings

Saturday August 25, 2018 8 am Competitor Safety Meeting - MANDATORY for all racers.

8:30am – 12pm Shuttles to Blue River confluence put-in for racers and spectators.

12 pm Downriver Gore Race Starts.

1 pm SUP Cross starts at Pumphouse.

6:30 pm Live Music - Ponder the Albatross

8 pm Awards Ceremony

9 pm more music!

Sunday August 26, 2018 10:30 Coffee and donuts at Pumphouse

11 am Kayak freestyle at Pumphouse wave

12 pm Downriver SUP race starts.

We can't wait to have you join us for a fun weekend of camping & playing on the water!

All or part of this operation is conducted on Public Lands under special permit from the U.S. Bureau of Land Management.