Hello Aurora, Welcome to Chaffee County
Chaffee County in “The Heart of the Rockies” is home to fifteen of Colorado’s “Fourteeners” – peaks towering over fourteen thousand feet from sea level. 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. Eighty six percent of the county is public land, the sun shines more than three hundred days each year, the Arkansas River Valley is agriculturally rich and verdant, wildlife abounds, and there is culture to spare in the small, vibrant towns of Salida and Buena Vista.Salida, the County Seat, is a charming mix of century-old red brick buildings and colorful Victorian hotels, B&Bs, and homes. It has been designated “One of America’s Best 100 Small Art Towns” as well as “One of The Top Ten Affordable Retirement Communities in the US.”
The Arkansas River runs through the center of town. Lined with restaurants, brew-pubs and art venues, the riverside is a wonderful place to sit and watch children swim; fisherman cast from the shore; stand-up paddle boarders and kayakers practice and perform; while rafters and tubers float by. Salida hosts a fine seasonal Farmers’ Market, the wild and wonderful FIBArk kayak races, and the Salida Art Walk – a three-day festival of art and entertainment – to name just a few of the town events.
Abundant snow, easy access and reasonable prices make nearby Monarch Ski Area the place to ski in Central Colorado and, 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; an historic train depot; and the Marquard Nature Center with wildlife, walking and biking trails.
- America’s 20 Greatest Towns for Outdoor Adventure
- Colorado Recognizes Salida Creative Art Community
- Outside Magazine – Salida, Colorado: Where the Rockies Get Real
- Denver Post – Salida’s Renaissance
- USA Today – 10 Great Small Towns
- Sunset – Warm Salida mountain weekend
- 20 Colorado Mountain Towns That Are Paradise In The Winter
- Colorado.com – Salida