Johnson Village is a tiny truck stop town that’s essentially part of Buena Vista. It lies at the intersection of Highway 285 and 24, only a few miles south of BV. The 2020 census recorded 299 residents in this riverside community.
The main strip of Johnson Village sits at an elevation of 7,854 feet and features several retail shops and restaurants. Most of the economy is based around activities on the nearby Arkansas River (especially rafting expeditions) and visitors making their way past the Chaffee County town.
Browns Canyon National Monument – The Arkansas River flows by on the east side of town, which brings people to whitewater raft the nearby Browns Canyon. The canyon itself is a natural wonderland of glacial deposits, towering rock walls, and a plethora of fauna and flora.
Wilderness Aware Rafting – One of the many rafting outfitters around Buena Vista, Wilderness Aware is a highly rated tour company offering half and full day trips into Browns Canyon. They also have an option to take a dinner trip that includes a low-key float down to the Riverside Grill.
- Rafters Roost campground is a quirky little campground with 3 renovated Airstreams and 2 dry cabins to rent, as well as a handful of RV and tent camping sites. There is a common area for barbecuing and roasting some marshmallows and a large accessible bathhouse for guests to use.
- BV Overlook Camp and Lodging has both tent and RV camping sites, each with options for hookups. All campers have access to free WiFi, renovated bathhouses, and a fully stocked recreation room with a laundromat attached.
- Read about the camping near Buena Vista and Nathrop.
Fishing – The section of the Arkansas River that runs near Johnson Village is perfect for catching healthy-sized brown trout. It’s recommended that you float down the river for the best chance of catching something, but some classic shore fishing will also do the trick.
- Barbara Whipple trailhead leads to an interconnected trail system that has easy-to-moderate options for hikers. Some merely meander along the riverbank while others steadily climb to higher viewpoints of Buena Vista.
- Mt. Princeton is a popular 14er to summit, recommended for more experienced hikers because of the high winds and tricky rock scrambling sections throughout.
- South Cottonwood trailhead totals about 3.3 miles out and back as it winds along Cottonwood Creek. Visitors rave about the beautiful views at the top and the serene nature of the trail.
Hot Springs –
- Cottonwood Hot Springs is a short 15-minute drive to the west of town. There are warm soaking pools fed by natural spring water to relax and rejuvenate guests.
- Mount Princeton Hot Springs Resort is another option near the town, offering various developed mineral pools as well as natural soaking tubs on the riverbank.
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Slackwater Inn – This modest 10-room motel is a great option for adventure lovers. Situated right on the river, the pet-friendly inn was recently renovated so the rooms are charming and modern. Choose from a double queen or single king room or opt for the larger 3-bedroom apartment suite.
A Riverhouse Lodge – A beautiful 6-bedroom lodge right on the Arkansas River. There are single or suite-style rooms that come with complimentary local coffee, a TV, and a private bathroom. A continental-style breakfast is delivered to each room daily, and guests are welcome to use the full kitchen and hot tub.
BV Overlook Camp & Lodging – Choose from a yurt, log cabin, tiny house, a glamping-style canvas tent, or the bunkhouse during your stay at BV Overlook. The property is located on a hillside with spectacular views of the Collegiate Peaks and several amenities that cater to outdoor enthusiasts like a community firepit and an ATV trailer parking
Check out more lodging in Buena Vista.
Station 24 Cafe – The perfect spot to fuel up in the morning with quality brews and grab-n-go food items. There is an outdoor sitting area to relax in on a sunny day.
Wayno’s – Rustic food truck right off the highway serving up hearty burgers and fried sides. They also offer sandwiches, soup, and homemade green chile with cheese quesadillas for dipping. Yum.
Activities near Johnson Village
- Bassam Guard Station (16mi)
- Buena Vista (3mi)
- Breckenridge (57mi)
- Fairplay (34mi)
- Hartsel (26mi)
- Leadville (37mi)
- Nathrop (5mi)
- Poncha Springs (22mi)
- Salida (22mi)
- Twin Lakes (28mi)
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