Home » Colorado Rockies Activities » Buena Vista Attractions
This small Colorado town is west of the Continental Divide, nestled at the foot of ten 14,000-foot mountains. Buena Vista attractions are all outdoorsy. From soaking in hot springs to screaming down whitewater rapids, Buena Vista is a fun place to vacation.Lodging in Buena Vista is affordable and comfortable. Come and stay in the “Banana Belt” in the winter as well; it has milder temperatures than most cities in Colorado along I-70.
Read below for a few ideas of things to do in Buena Vista, Colorado.
Whitewater Rafting and Kayaking
Rafting is king in Buena Vista, with the Arkansas River to the east of town. This popular river has over 60 miles of rapids stretches ranging from wild to mild. Buena Vista is home to the South Main River Park, a huge whitewater park which is still expanding!
The Collegiate Peaks
There are ten summits above 14,000 feet in the Buena Vista area. Of the ten, four are named for ivy-league institutions on the East Coast: Mount Princeton, Mount Colombia, Mount Yale, and Mount Harvard. A good way to explore the towering mountains is to take a drive on the Collegiate Peaks Colorado Scenic Byway. The byway runs along Highway 24, which runs through town. Otherwise, go horseback riding or hiking to admire the snow-capped peaks above.
The Arkansas is ripe with big trout and lots of bait shops. Start tying now for all those rainbows and browns just waiting for you! Anglers fish year-round in Buena Vista.
Cottonwood Hot Springs offers hot and warm pools. The cooler pools are great if you’ve brought kids or get light headed in very hot water. Sign up for a massage while you’re there and you’ll be the picture of relaxation. Rustic cabins and campsites are also available on-site.
Mount Princeton Hot Springs offers an authentic geothermal water pool. Sit in the natural river pools surrounded by rocks. In addition to the creek pools of different sizes and temperatures, there is also a waterslide that the kids will love. A one-of-a-kind experience! Cabins rentals are available on-site. Highly recommended!
St. Elmo Ghost Town
This Colorado ghost town is 10-15 minutes past Mt. Princeton Hot Springs. This miniature town has 24 original buildings that include a mercantile, saloon, courthouse/jail, and private homes. All are labeled with date built. There are also great 4-wheel drive trails and rock hunting (quartz, aquamarine) in the area. Check out Agnes Vaille Falls on your way to St. Elmo. It’s a half-hour hike to the foot of Mount Princeton with a great view as a reward.
Buena Vista River Park
This is the country’s longest whitewater rafting park built by kayakers, for kayakers. The park also features a boulder garden, two state-of-the-art climbing boulders sculpted to perfection, and a sizeable grassy area for picnics and family fun. The park is adjacent to the South Main neighborhood of Buena Vista, a great place to grab a Colorado microbrew or wood-fired pizza.
Ice fishing, cross-country skiing and snowmobiling are all popular in Buena Vista. In fact, there are over 100 miles of snowmobile trails to buzz down! The winter is also a good time to see wildlife in the area. Take an early morning drive and you might come across giant herds of elk, bighorn sheep and deer.