South Central Colorado offers a variety of extremes in its deep canyons, high peaks, beautiful wildflowers, and lovely trees. From brown plains to silver lakes to snow-capped mountain ranges, this region combines unpredictability with beauty.
Kayakers and fishermen will find a wealth of enjoyment in such waters as the Arkansas River in the Royal Gorge.
The Arkansas River Valley of Colorado is home to the cities of Buena Vista, Canon City, Fairplay, Leadville, Monarch, Salida and Ski Cooper and Monarch Ski Areas. Region has hundreds of lodging options including World Class Resorts and Hotels, Condominium and Home rentals and intimate Bed and Breakfast accommodations. The Arkansas River Valley also has many full service Real Estate Agencies, multiple Summer and Winter Activities as well as countless dining and shopping establishments.
Salida grew quickly in the 1880s when the railroad made it a rail hub. A rip-roaring town, Salida had a famous madam, Laura Evans, who ran a bordello in town from 1896 to 1950! Today, it’s still a roaring town, roaring with rapids, that is. Salida boasts the headquarters for the Arkansas River Valley State Park. The town has one of the largest, indoor, hot springs. The Arkansas River is a launching point for some of the best whitewater rafting and is the most boated in the country with rapids ranging from easy to challenging. Accessible from Salida are the Rainbow and Colorado trails for mountain bikers and hikers can enjoy. In the winter try skiing at the much-praised, less-visited Monarch Ski Resort whose basin traps 300 inches annually fluffy powder. The impressive Collegiate Range, lies to the west has the most concentrated number of peaks above 14,000′ in Colorado, abounds with hiking trails, mountain bike trails and riddled with ghost towns.
In 2004, Outside Magazine named the “sweetly unpretentious town of Salida” as one of the 20 “Dream Towns + Adventure Hideouts (& Sweet Land Deals)”
The Sawatch Mountain Range to the Northwest, Sangre de Cristo Mt. Range to the South, and the Mosquito Mountain Range to the North provide a mild climate for Salida known as the Banana Belt, creating ideal conditions for year-round outdoor recreation.
Boasting 15 Peaks over 14,000 feet in elevation, Salida is known for its hiking, whitewater rafting, mountain biking, skiing, hot springs, fly fishing and much, much more!
Buena Vista Colorado
The small town of Buena Vista, nestled at the base of the Collegiate and Sawatch Mountain Ranges, is named for its “good view.” In the Upper Arkansas River Valley, Buena Vista and its surroundings were once home to the Ute Indians. Lt. Zebulon Pike, who passed through in 1806, found evidence of some 3,000 Utes. Like other Colorado towns, miners came when they learned of gold strikes in the area and ranchers eventually followed. The city has a rowdy past, once hosting 36 bars and a hanging judge. Now Buena Vista is the jumping off point for some of the best river rafting in Colorado. Brown’s Canyon, 8 miles south, is often called the whitewater capital. The impressive Collegiate Range, lies to the west has the most concentrated number of peaks above 14,000′ in Colorado, abounds with hiking trails, mountain bike trails and riddled with ghost towns. Another feature of the Buena Vista area are the natural hot springs where you can soothe your body while gazing up at majestic, snowcapped peaks.