6 ways to be pampered while playing in Salida and Buena Vista

Woman backpack

It’s about time. Time for a break from taking care of everyone else… Time to bond with the girlfriends you never see enough… Time to breathe in fresh mountain air and sunshine as you explore the uncrowded trails and charming small towns of Colorado’s best-kept secret: Chaffee County.

 

 

Home to jaw-dropping mountain ranges—the Sawatch, the Sangre de Cristos, the Collegiate Peaks, and 15 massive peaks taller than14,000 feet—this unspoiled landscape (just a short drive southwest of Denver) will feed your soul with its expansive vistas. And there’s more:

Don’t wait any longer to celebrate the moment with your best girlfriends. Check out these six ways to recreate, rejuvenate and replenish in and around Salida and Buena Vista.

  1. Woman-hiking-map smallHIKE A MOUNTAIN. Get a great workout while soaking up Nature’s healing energy, taking in incredible views, and indulging in leisurely, uninterrupted conversations…. What could be more blissful? If your grrl crew relishes a real challenge, you might consider trying to bag a 14’er. Or enjoy a more moderate hike along a length of the Colorado Trail, which stretches 500 miles from Denver to Durango. Don’t want to get in the car? Simply walk to the west end of Salida’s downtown and hike up S Mountain for a great view.
  2. HANG OUT AT THE BEACH. Bring a towel, chair and a good book to the sandy banks of the Arkansas River, which runs right through downtown Salida and Buena Vista’s South Main. Take off your shoes and dip your toes in the clear, cool water of a pebble-lined eddy. You’ll see kayakers, rafters, and SUP-ers running the river. As the rapids mellow with summer’s heat, grab a tube or a float and dive in. Live music is a regular riverside event in the summer, with concerts at Buena Vista River Park.
  3. Restaurant smallENJOY FUN (AND FINE) DINING. A favorite spot in downtown Salida is Rivers Edge, which opens onto a great porch overlooking the river. With cool “upscale rustic” décor, it’s a lovely place to sip cool drinks and have dinner. For lunch, slurp a big bowl of authentic pho and other Thai specialties at Little Cambodia. Hit Shallots for craft cocktails and small plates, Laughing Ladies for a memorable gourmet meal, and Sweetie’s Bakery & Deli for awesome sandwiches and sweet treats.
  4. RIDE A BIKE. Chaffee County is a destination for both cyclists and mountain bikers. The classic loop ride goes from Salida to Buena Vista and back. Conveniently, mountain biking trails rise directly from the downtowns of Buena Vista (Dorothy Whipple, Colorado Midland trails) and Salida (Salida Mountain trails). Bring your own wheels, or rent a bike at Salida’s shops.
  5. Woman-SUP2 smallLEARN TO SUP. Standup paddleboarding is so popular in these parts, your crew will want to try it. Several area shops provide day rentals so you can give it a go on the Arkansas River or nearby lakes. Buena Vista’s McPhelemy Park is the perfect place to learn and perfect your skills.
  6. HIT THE SPA AT MOUNT PRINCETON HOT SPRINGS. After loosening up in the private hot pools at Mount Princeton Hot Springs Resort, indulge yourselves with something from the spa menu: Cucumber Mint Body Wrap? Sugar Glow? Arkansas River Hot Stone Massage? It’s all good.

 

When hiking 14’ers: Mt Elbert, Colorado’s highest peak, is actually one of the “easiest” to summit. Nearby Mt Princeton and Mt Antero are more challenging, but shorter hikes.
To make an attempt, you should be fit, acclimatized to the altitude, and well prepared. Start early, wear sunscreen, a hat and sunglasses, and bring plenty of water and fuel food. And make sure someone at home is expecting another call when you’re back down, by a certain time.