Mount Princeton Hot Springs Loop - Buena Vista & Salida, Colorado Visitor Guide

Mount Princeton Hot Springs Loop

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.

  • Featuring 36 Mountain Bike Trails and 18 Road Rides in and around Buena Vista & Salida, Colorado – beginner to expert, town to summit, smooth tarmac to extreme singletrack.
  • Maps and Elevation Profiles for each ride, including altitude gain and loss.
  • Local Advice on riding areas and seasons, where to sleep, where to soak, where to find the best pizza, the best coffee and the best bars in Buena Vista & Salida, Colorado.

Mount Princeton Hot Springs Loop starts in downtown Buena Vista and heads south along Highway 285 to Nathrop before turning west toward Mount Princeton. From the hot springs, it climbs a steep ridge before drifting back to Buena Vista on an undulating but primarily downhill run. It’s a great training ride from BV with nice views of the big peaks and valley grasslands. There is just enough climbing near the base of Mt. Princeton to make it a challenging workout. If you don’t like steep climbing, ride this loop in reverse and the climb is much more casual. This is the best quick loop from Buena Vista.

Options: Start this ride at the hot springs and soak afterwards.

Trailhead Access/Facilities: Park in downtown Buena Vista. The ride starts at the corner of US 24 and CR 306/Main Street

Location: Buena Vista
Distance: 21.2 Miles – Loop
Riding Time: 2 Hours or More
Riding Surface: Good Pavement
Shoulder: Narrow but little traffic
Traffic: Light – except for section on US 285
Aerobic Level: Intermediate
Elevation in Feet: Low 7,699; High 8,623; Climbs/Descends 1,020

Notes: Ride early in the day to avoid the afternoon winds. Toilets and food found at the hot springs resort.

Mount Princeton Hot Springs Loop Mileage Log

0.0            Ride south US 24 through Buena Vista. Stay on the highway.

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.

8.0            Just past Nathrop, turn right (west) on CR 162.

11.7            Stay straight on CR 162.

12.0            Turn right on CR 321 just across from the Mt. Princeton Hot Springs Resort. Get ready to climb – it gets steep fast! It’s a 1.1 mile stiff climb. Stay on CR 321 all the way to Buena Vista.

20.5            T-intersection with CR 306/W. Main St. Turn right.

21.2            End of the ride!


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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Buena Vista, CO 81211

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Salida, CO 81201

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