Buena Vista is located at an altitude of 7,965′ and has approximately 2,700 residents. Located on the Arkansas River and the the Continental Divide. With both a wild-west past and an outdoor soul, stores offer everything for mountain living and exploring. The historic downtown offers several art galleries with unique handmade finds. You will find gear, gifts, books, specialty and consignment items, too.
The kayak-centric South Main neighborhood boasts imaginative boutique shops, hotels and art galleries with handcrafted creations. This area is located right on the Arkansas River with a world class whitewater park.
Salida is located on the banks of the Arkansas River at an elevation of 7,083 feet above sea level. Founded in 1880, the population has grown to 5,963 residents. Salida still has more than 100 turn-of-the-century historic buildings downtown. Together they are largely regarded as the best collection of historically significant buildings in Colorado. While many cities have traded their history for modern buildings, it’s just the opposite in Salida. History is not only embraced and celebrated but also proudly visible. The Salida Downtown Historic District is the largest National Historic District in Colorado.
This lively downtown was also designated Colorado’s first Certified Creative District due to it’s dozens of artist-owned studios and galleries, entrepreneurs, restaurants, unique shops, breweries and distilleries.
The City of Salida owns and operates the largest indoor hot springs in the country. This natural hot spring water has been pumped eight miles away to these pools since 1937. 100’s of rooms are available to rent and they are walking distance from these hot springs.
Monarch Mountain, “Unspoiled since 1939,” sits near the top of Monarch Pass at an elevation of 11,952 on the continental divide. The ski area is just 20 miles from Salida and 40 miles from Buena Vista. Monarch is one of Colorado’s longest operating ski areas, and the best part is, in all 81 years, Monarch Mountain has never made snow. Because of this, this area stands out from the others as snow making has become common in the ski world. Because the snow is all natural at this unique resort, many say the snow is some of the best in Colorado.
Don’t Ski No Problem
Recently, Monarch installed a new Tubing Park. This is an easy and relaxed way to enjoy the snow and sure to be amusing for all ages in your group. Have a magic carpet to tow you to the hilltop and enjoy the ride down. Snowmobiling tours and dog sledding tours are available on Monarch Pass. This is an incredible back-country skiing destination as well as Nordic skiing and snow shoeing.
During the summer, take main street west over Cottonwood Pass for an incredible scenic drive. Cottonwood Pass is newly paved on both sides and tops out at an elevation of 12,119’. This mountain pass is the highest paved route over the Continental Divide, the fourth highest paved road in the United States and the second highest paved pass in (the United States, second only to Trail Ridge Road (elev. 12,183).”
In the winter the pass is closed to automobiles and is groomed for winter sport enthusiasts such as snowmobilers, fat bikers, nordic skiers and snowshoers. The pass connects hundreds of miles of groomed trails.
There are three public hot springs in Buena Vista & Salida. Mount Princeton Hot Springs Resort & Cottonwood Hot Springs and the Salida Hot Springs Aquatic Center. The hot springs are open year round. Early morning or after dark is the best time to visit the hot springs, because this is when there are less people soaking.
Rent a room at one of the hot springs resorts and your hot springs entry is included with your overnight stay. You may even rent a private soak after hours at the hot springs or check out a vacation rental that has a private hot springs on property.
St. Elmo is one of the best preserved ‘ghost towns’ in Colorado. Miners and prospectors looking for mineral deposits in the Chalk Creek area southwest of Buena Vista eventually worked more than 50 mines in the area. To support the mining district, St. Elmo was established in the 1870s. Several commercial buildings and residential buildings remain today, many on private property.
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