5 summer sports festivals you should check out

5 summer sports festivals
5 summer sports festivals: Group yoga at High Camp. Photo by Jay Erker/Wanderlust

Sometimes you just want to be with your people and spend the weekend dorking out on the things you like to do best, whether that’s mountain biking, running, or participating in an ad hoc highlining camp at a secret spot. Given this, here are five festivalsfrom a zen-ed out yoga fest in North Lake Tahoe, California, to 10 days of bike shenanigans in Whistler, British Columbia—that will get you fully submersed in your sport of choice.

Cool. Now you can be busy every weekend from today until the fall. Bring your sleeping bag.

Wanderlust

North Lake Tahoe, California; July 17-20

Yoga, music, trail runs, paddleboarding, something called a “mindful triathalon.” Wanderlust is based around yoga, but it extends way beyond that to encompass DJs, other sports, food, speakers, and more. The four-day festival at Squaw Valley takes advantage of the mountains and the lake. There’s no way you’ll be bored.

summer sports festivals
5 summer sports festivals: The hecklers are out at Crankworx. Photo by Sean St. Denis/Crankworx

Crankworx

Whistler, British Columbia; August 8-18

A 10-day party in the mountain biking mecca that is Whistler, Crankworkx is probably the most fun bike event in the world. It’s a mash-up of downhill races, dirt jumps, the Whip-off World Championships, and events like the Deep Summer Photo contest, which draws some of the best bike photographers in the world. You can watch, and heckle, riders like Brian Lopes and Kyle Strait. Not keen to enter the enduro or the DH race? Don’t worry, you can always participate in the Canadian Cheese Rolling on August 16.

5 summer sports festivals
5 summer sports festivals: US Pro Challenge. Photo by US Pro Challenge

US Pro Challenge

Colorado; August 18-24

It’s not exactly a festival, but the four-year-old US Pro Challenge is a rolling fest of bike fans and velo drama. The seven-stage race is one of the most spectator-friendly bike races in the world, and it doesn’t hurt that it takes place across some of the most beautiful mountains in Colorado. This year, the course starts in Aspen, and comes through Crested Butte, Colorado Springs, Breckenridge, and Vail, before ending in Denver. Try to catch the riders at one of the crit stages, like the one in Aspen, or on one of the climbs, like Lookout Mountain on the last day. Fans line the roads to cheer and heckle. Bring a costume.

5 summer sports festivals
5 summer sports festivals: watching the Animal Race at the Gauley Festival. Photo by American Whitewater

Gauley Fest

Summersville, West Virginia; September 19-20

On the third weekend in September, every dirtbaggy river rat and pro boater heads to the West By God for the biggest paddling festival in the world. Gauley Fest, which is loosely organized by the nonprofit American Whitewater, includes the rowdy animal race down the class V Upper Gauley. If you go, make sure to stop by Cathedral Café in nearby Fayetteville for sweet potato pancakes. 

5 summer sports festivals
5 summer sports festivals: This route is called “Straight from the Ghetto” at the Idaho Mountain Festival. Photo by Jonathan Siegrist

Idaho Mountain Festival

Castle Rocks State Park, Idaho; September 25-28 (OK, so this festival is technically at the start of fall).

A relative newbie, the three-year-old Idaho Mountain Festival takes place on some of the most fun rock in the northwest: Castle Rocks, and City of Rocks. There will be bands, camping, slideshows from epic trips, climbing clinics, and bouldering comps. It’s laid-back; there is a trail race, but other than that nothing is particularly competitive. It’s a nice way to round out the summer.

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