5 of the best bucket list festivals in Colorado
Colorado is a destination filled with vast natural spaces, outdoor recreation and breathtaking landscapes but it’s also a destination for unique experiences that can’t be found anywhere else in the world.
As we head into the New Year, it’s time to start thinking about bucket list trips and for inspiration, below are some of Colorado’s most unique festivals.
SkiJoring & Crystal Carnival, Leadville (3-5 March)
Why not try something different this new year? Experience a fearless skier navigating through an obstacle course connected by a tow rope to a horse and rider galloping at top speed. The once in a lifetime viewing takes place in the middle of snowy Leadville with heaps of winter activities going on in conjunction, including a seasonal carnival, paintballing, a winter race extravaganza with mountain biking and skiing, dancing and much more.
2023 Manitou Springs Colorado Wine Festival (3 June)
Experience the authentic, local flavours of Colorado with Manitou Springs Colorado Wine Festival next summer. Highlighting the versatility of the state’s wine-making industry, the flavoursome festival sees the very best of over 30 local wineries. Sip wine in the sun, sample food and indulge in the mountain scenery surrounding Manitou’s idyllic downtown.
75th anniversary of Whitewater festival, FIBArk (15-18 June)
For adrenaline-seekers and outdoor enthusiasts, FIBArk (First in Boating on the Arkansas) is a must. Marking its 75th anniversary in 2023, FIBArk is the nation’s oldest Whitewater festival and Salida’s signature event. A tradition since 1949, the exciting event draws kayakers, stand-up paddlers and rafters to compete and play in the mighty Arkansas River. While Whitewater is the draw, the city of Salida also showcases a variety of local colours with live music and costumed bike competitors, as well as a parade and races on foot.
Hot Air Balloon Festival (5-7 August)
With so much natural beauty, Colorado is a destination that should be seen from the skies, and everyone who takes part in Craig’s Hot Air Balloon Festival gets that luxury. With a colourful ascension scheduled each morning, hot air balloons dip and soar over lakes with magical mountainous views as the backdrop. Saturday boasts a full day of entertainment and activities in Loudy-Simpson Park, including a classic car show, a cardboard boat regatta and bouncy castles. Music can be found playing all day long.
Telluride Jazz Festival (12 – 14 August)
Nestled at the base of a majestic canyon, and surrounded by waterfalls, the San Juan Mountains of southwestern Colorado host the Telluride Jazz Festival, a three-day and night music event centred around jazz. The annual event combines the finest pristine natural landscape aesthetics with boundless creativity, accompanied by a once-in-a lifetime soundtrack, provided by acclaimed artists. The towering mountain peaks and glowing aspen trees that dot the hillsides provide the perfect amphitheatre for music to resonate through the mountain canyon. Providing a sample of Colorado’s renowned craftsmanship, amenities include food vendors, craft brews and cocktails.