About Chaffee County
Welcome to Chaffee County, also known as "The Heart of the Rockies," where your next dream home awaits. This county is home to 15 of Colorado's majestic "Fourteeners," offering breathtaking views and endless possibilities. With the spectacular drama of the Sawatch Range to the west and the tumbling, crystal-clear waters of the Arkansas River to the east, Chaffee County is a mecca for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts of all kinds. With 86% of the county comprised of public land, abundant sunshine gracing the region for over 300 days a year, fertile agricultural landscapes in the Arkansas River Valley, thriving wildlife, and a vibrant cultural scene in the charming towns of Salida and Buena Vista, it's hard to imagine a more ideal place to call home.
Salida, the County Seat, is a charming mix of century-old red brick buildings and colorful Victorian hotels, B&Bs, and homes. The center of the town is where the Arkansas River flows, offering outstanding rafting and fishing opportunities. It has been named "One of America's Best 100 Small Art Towns" and "One of the Top Ten Affordable Retirement Communities in the US." The riverfront is a great place to sit and watch kids swim, fishermen cast from the shore, stand-up paddle boarders, and kayakers practice and perform while rafters and tubers float by. Restaurants, brew pubs, and art galleries surround it.
Salida hosts a fine seasonal Farmers' Market, the wild and wonderful FIBArk kayak races, and the Salida Art Walk, a three-day art and entertainment festival, to name just a few town events. Abundant snow, easy access, and reasonable prices make nearby Monarch Ski Area the place to ski in Central Colorado. If you don't ski, they also offer dog sled tours. A lively nightlife, both casual and fine dining, extensive bike trails, the Hot Springs Aquatic Center, and the new Captain Zipline—the largest aerial adventure park in the western US—along with stunning natural beauty in every direction, make Salida an enchanting place to be any time of the year. You do not have to live in the snow, but you can drive five miles and play in it.
Buena Vista, north of Salida at the base of the Continental Divide, sits at 8000 feet in the shadow of the Collegiate Peaks. The Arkansas River runs along the eastern edge of town. Nearby attractions include hiking, biking, camping, rock climbing, hunting, fishing, exploring ghost towns and 19th-century train tunnels, snowmobiling, and motorcycling. Elk, deer, antelope, Rocky Mountain Big Horn Sheep, and Rocky Mountain Goats live in the hills and mountains nearby. The area has several geothermal hot springs for soaking and swimming all year round, including Mt. Princeton Hot Springs, a favorite resort for locals and destination travelers. Buena Vista is very family-friendly. McPhelemy Park with Town Lake is a great place to learn water sports or to fish, while BV also boasts an outdoor climbing wall, a skateboarding park, a nine-hole golf course, a historic train depot, and the Marquard Nature Center with wildlife and walking and biking trails.
Does Chaffee County sound like the perfect place for you? The real estate agents at First Colorado Land Office can help you find the ideal land in Chaffee County that will fit your needs.
Charming, friendly, artistic and historic — there's plenty to keep visitors busy throughout the year in this mountain community. See for yourself with a live view from one of the many webcams in Salida.
Situated in Colorado’s “Banana Belt” and surrounded by three mountain ranges, Salida gets only a fraction of the snow that blankets the surrounding high country―and milder temperatures too.
Colorado is internationally renowned for its picturesque towns, but it’s the state’s mountain towns that are really picture-perfect in winter.
AMERICA PICKED UP AND MOVED to the big city generations ago, and we’ve been second-guessing ourselves ever since.
Colorful murals such as this one by artist Curtis Killorn adorn buildings in downtown Salida. The community recently forged a five-year plan to develop the creative district.
THIS LIST COULD EASILY HAVE 100 PLACES. The US simply has so many canyons and rivers and slopes, so much coastline, all of it with rad little towns along the way.