Published with permission from the guide book: The Local’s Adventure Guide to Singletrack & Tarmac – Mountain Bike Trails and Road Rides in the Upper Arkansas River Valley by Nathan Ward.
The road from Buena Vista to Salida rolls up and down from one historic downtown to another. The route follows the Arkansas River for part of the way, with beautiful views of the Sawatch Range, including Mt. Yale (14,194 ft.), Mt. Princeton (14,197 ft.), Mt. Antero (14,289 ft.) and Shavano Peak (14, 225 ft.). There are no major climbs or descents along the road, but a few small hills will get your attention. It’s a perfect Sunday ride – have brunch when you get to Salida or Buena Vista. Yum. Brunch is tasty.
Options: Ride in reverse, from Salida to BV or round-trip for a half-century.
Trailhead Access: This ride requires a shuttle. Drive one car to Salida and park it downtown. Drive another car back to BV. The shuttle takes about one hour round trip. Park in downtown Buena Vista. The ride starts at the corner of US 24 and CR 306/Main Street.
Location: Buena Vista
Distance: 24.6 Miles – One Way
Riding Time: 2 Hours or More
Riding Surface: Good Pavement
Traffic: Medium, but Heavy on Holiday Weekends
Aerobic Level: Intermediate
Elevation in Feet: Low 7,031; High 7,991; Climbs 380, Descends 1,299
Notes: Try this ride in the morning to avoid the afternoon winds. Facilities on either end of the ride, toilets and gas station food available along the way in the Centerville gas station.
0.0 Ride south on US 24 through Buena Vista. Stay on the highway all the way through town.
2.4 At this intersection with a stoplight, stay straight on US 285 going south. The other road (US 24) goes to Denver. The road goes in the same direction, but the name of the highway changes from 24 to 285.
12.3 Stay on the main highway through Centerville – wide spot with gas station.
16.6 Get in the left lane and turn left (east) on US 291 following the signs to Salida. Be careful in this intersection.
23.2 Cross a bridge over the Arkansas River – on the outskirts of Salida.
24.6 You are in downtown Salida! There are several nice restaurants, bike shops and coffee shops downtown.
We want you to have a safe and enjoyable trip into Colorado’s backcountry. Be prepared it could be a long walk out. Be sure to read this list of equipment you should bring on your ride along with tips to make your biking trip more enjoyable.
The Colorado backcountry is popular – bikers, hikers, motorcycle riders, hunters and equestrians use the trail system in the Arkansas Valley, and everyone wants a private piece of heaven. Even if you don’t agree with everyone’s motives or methods of travel, please treat them in a courteous manner.
If you require search and rescue services, it can be costly. Buy a Colorado Outdoor Recreation Search and Rescue (CORSAR) card to protect yourself. Funds from the CORSAR program go into the Colorado Search and Rescue (SAR) Fund. If a CORSAR card holder becomes lost or injured in the backcountry, the Colorado SAR Fund pays eligible search and rescue expenses.
Bicycle riding is a physically strenuous activity with many risks and dangers. Hazards, natural or man made, whether noted in this book or not, can be encountered at any time under any situation. As a cyclist, we assume you know your personal abilities and limitations. This book represents nothing more than a guide to the trails and roads and is not meant to replace your common sense, your ability to navigate in the wilderness or in traffic, or your ability to ride a bicycle safely.
In addition, the mileages and routes listed in this text are only suggestions. There may be variances and you may get lost. We recommend everyone uses a GPS and topographical map to navigate. Most routes in this text are located on public land, but some trails pass through or adjacent to private land. Respect the land owner’s rights and obey all signs regarding trail use. The same goes for wilderness areas which prohibit mountain bike riding. Neither the author, nor the publisher, nor anyone else mentioned in this book are responsible or liable in any way for any accident, injury or any action brought against anyone traveling any route listed in this book. All cyclists and their companions assume responsibility for themselves. Ride at your own risk.
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