Salida, Colorado

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Written by bike posted on Friday, February 26th, 2010

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Salida, Colorado is the entrance to Colorado high country. Salida area attractions include fly-fishing, whitewater rafting, kayaking and hiking. Lodging in Salida comes mostly in the form of affordable chain hotels that are budget and family friendly.

Forested mountains outside of Salida, Colorado. (Colorado Tourism Office)

Surrounded by a dozen of the state’s more than 50 “fourteeners” (mountains over 14,000 feet), Salida was first settled during the gold rush, but farmers and ranchers are the ones that stayed. The Denver & Rio Grande Railroad also once made Salida an important rail town. Today, there are over 5,000 residents in this town with the slogan “Heart of the Rockies.”
The Sawatch mountain range runs north to south 30 miles west of town. Methodist Mountain is a prominent feature on Salida’s southern horizon and is part of the Sangre de Cristo (“Blood of Christ”) mountain range. To the north, you’ll find the Arkansas River Valley and the small town of Buena Vista, Colorado.
The mighty Arkansas River runs through town, providing excellent fishing and rafting opportunities. Salida is the site of the annual FibArk (First in Boating on the Arkansas) Festival, which includes one of the oldest whitewater kayak races in North America.
Summer also brings the Artwalk arts and crafts festival. If you’re in Salida during the winter, check out the giant lighted Christmas tree!
Visit downtown Salida for a sampling of great little restaurants as well.
The local hot springs are housed in a public pool. Mountain biking and hiking trails criss cross the region’s four national forests. Climbers head north of town to climb the Collegiate Peaks, all over 14,000 feet.
Monarch Mountain Ski Area is the closest ski resort in this part of south-central Colorado. It receives 350 inches of snow annually on its 63 trails. It’s a medium-sized resort, with all its lifts serving one base area. Its size actually works in its favor with families and groups. In fact, the slogan of the resort is “Lose the crowds, not your friends.”

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