A community of paddlers and engineers joined forces in 1983 to create the Durango Whitewater Park. It’s the first of its kind and size in the nation, with over 800 meters of whitewater for recreational activity.
The 126-mile Animas River is rich in history, recreation opportunity, scenery, and flanks the shores of downtown Durango. Whitewater Park begins where the river curves around Smelter Mountain, dropping down into Smelter Rapid. Here you’ll find an incredible stretch of whitewater for challenging drops and exciting rapids: a kayaker’s utopia. The park has a fishing area and grass area, restrooms, and is handicap accessible.
Kayaking and Rafting on Lower Animas River
Paddlers of all kinds and creeds have ventured out to Whitewater Park for events and training. The U.S. National team hosted trials for freestyle, slalom, and wild water events at Durango’s park, in addition to U.S. National Championships in open canoe slalom and slalom.
Since 1985, Durango Whitewater Park hosts the Animas River Days event. Each year in June, a fun-filled day of kayaking and surf competitions, retro rodeo, and a costumed river parade engulfs the park. There’s plenty of entertainment for kids, as well as food and retail vendors to keep you fueled and satisfied.
To find Whitewater Park, start out in downtown Durango and travel south on Main Avenue. Turn right onto College Drive. Turn left at the light onto Camino del Rio. In .85 miles, turn right into the park at the light at Santa Rita Drive. Follow the road to the end to start your whitewater adventure.
Address: 107 Camino del Rio, Durango, CO 81301
Hours: 5am to 12am each day except for Thursdays, offering 24 hour park access