Salida is known for its splendid art, excellent cooking, and endless adventure. There is a ton to see and do around this town, located about three hours southwest of Denver. Along with delicious restaurants, Salida is known for world-class recreation. A top-notch ziplining course calls Salida home, as do a lot of biking and nature trails that are recognized for their outstanding beauty.
The charm of Salida is that of a very quiet, peaceful mountain town where people can go to unwind. Low-stress activities, such as golf and hot springs, make it pretty easy to relax. If you are looking for an affordable place to go that offers all the luxuries of a decadent resort, try Salida.
Arkansas River – This river runs directly through downtown, coming from the north by Leadville, and then heading east at Salida to Pueblo. There is outstanding fishing, as well as whitewater rafting on the Arkansas River.
Numerous rafting outfits can be found close to town, featuring beginner trips for the whole family, as well as more advanced rapids. Browns Canyon National Monument lies just north of Salida and is one of the popular sections for rafting in the state.
Hot Springs – Located right in town, the Salida Hot Springs & Aquatic Center has the biggest indoor hot springs pool in the country. It’s a big hot spring-fed swimming pool, however, you can also rent a private tub filled with hotter mineral springs water, minus any chlorine.
There are several other great hot springs within a reasonable drive. South of town via Poncha Pass in the San Luis Valley is Joyful Journey and Valley View hot springs. To the north of Salida on Highway 285 are Mount Princeton and Cottonwood hot springs. All four resorts provide on-site lodging and are worth exploring.
Read about the best things to do near Salida.
- Arkansas Headwaters State Park has a number of sections with camping on the way to Cañon City. Take Highway 50 East. The first campground is about ten minutes outside town.
- San Isabel National Forest is all around town. Free dispersed car camping exists on parts of the Monarch Pass. Take Highway 50 west of town towards Poncha Springs and Gunnison. On the way up the pass, take a right for the Old Monarch Pass. It’s a scenic and enjoyable drive with dispersed campsites all along it. It exists on the east side of the divide and connects back up with Highway 50.
- Read about the camping near Salida, around the Arkansas River.
- Arkansas River runs through downtown. The river begins in Leadville, then runs south past Buena Vista and Salida, then it goes east to Canon City. Fishing is open along much of the river.
- Read about the hiking trails near Salida.
Hotels and lodging:
- Monarch Mountain Lodge – Stay close to the slopes of Monarch Ski Resort at this alpine hotel. It’s easy to reach just 20 minutes west of town on Highway 160.
- Read about the best hotels in Salida.
- Read about the top bed and breakfasts in Buena Vista and Salida.
Recently named as one of the best places to retire, Salida’s gentle pace will prove to be a welcome change. Downtown is lined with several blocks of nice shops and restaurants, along with plenty of history. Amica’s Brewery is the place to drink craft beer and eat pizza in town.
Jun – FIBArk – America’s oldest and wildest whitewater festival. Competitions include stand-up paddleboarding and kayaking. It’s held every year in mid-June, the perfect welcoming of summer.
Jul – Colorado Brewers Rendezvous – Enjoy a summer Saturday in the whitewater capital Salida, with beers from all over the state.
Activities near Salida
- Arkansas River
- Browns Canyon National Monument
- Mount Shavano (17mi)
- San Isabel National Forest
- Sangre de Cristo Wilderness
- Tabeguache Peak (18mi)
- Cottonwood Hot Springs (29mi)
- Joyful Journey Hot Springs (32mi)
- Mount Princeton Hot Springs (20mi)
- Salida Hot Springs & Aquatic Center
- Valley View Hot Springs (38mi)
- Monarch Crest Scenic Tramway (22mi)
- Collegiate Peaks Byway (<1mi)
- Cottonwood Pass (31mi)
- Marshall Pass (23mi)
- Monarch Pass (22mi)
- Poncha Pass (12mi)
- Monarch Mountain Resort (21mi)
- Buena Vista (24mi)
- Cañon City (58mi)
- Gunnison (64mi)
- Leadville (58mi)
- Monarch (17mi)
- Poncha Springs (3mi)
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