Salida Area Info & Activities
Salida is the largest town in Chaffee County. To stay in or near this area, check out our Salida area vacation rentals. You can learn more about this great town at the Chamber of Commerce site. Salida is located right on the Arkansas River, and you can rent duckies (small kayaks) to play in the water. Just steps from the river is the historic downtown area, filled with art galleries, shops, bars and restaurant. The Riverside Park offers music and other events during most of the summer.
The Salida Hot Springs is an indoor, very family-friendly pool on Hwy 50. In addition to the large pool, there are private soaking pools available to rent.
South of Salida are two other hot springs pools. Less than an hour drive takes you to Joyful Journey. They are blessed with mineral hot springs that are don't have the sulpher smell that many others do. Truly a magical place! Those who are comfortable with a clothing-optional pool will love Valley View Hot Springs. Valley View is part of the Orient Land Trust and you can camp there overnight.
If you are staying near Salida, enjoy horseback riding with Granite Mountain Outfitters. They are a short drive up Poncha Pass, and run their trips into the Sangre De Cristo Mountains. Their rides also run from one hour to all day long, and will give you some fantastic scenic views of the mountains to the South of Salida and Maysville.
Salida offers world-class mountain biking - there are trails in every direction! Ride up Tenderfoot Mountain (also S Mountain, for the big S) just across the river from downtown, or jump on the Salida Trail and head west. You can get more info on all the trails in the area here. For serious bikers, the Monarch Crest Trail is one of the premier riding trails in the entire country. Starting at Monarch Pass, it follows the continental divide for eleven miles to Marshall Pass. From there you have several options to descend the twenty some miles down to Poncha, one following an old railroad grade making it a nice scenic ride, and several that take steeper routes that can get very technical. This is not a trail for beginners! In addition to the high elevation (and low oxygen), the trail is rocky, steep in some places, and some spots if you fall, you will just keep going down the mountain. The typical way to do this trip is to drive to the High Valley Center, which is a Sinclair gas station and deli in Poncha Springs. They generally run two shuttles a morning, and its best to give them a call at 800-871-5145 to make reservations. They will shuttle you up to Monarch Pass, and once you come off the divide, its all downhill back to the shuttle station. If you are serious about your mountain biking, this is a must do experience!
For off-roading adventures, check out forest road 240, which starts just on the other side of highway 50 in Maysville (about 11 miles west of Salida), and follows the North Fork of the South Arkansas River up to a stunning basin at 12,000 feet. The first four miles are paved, but once you pass the Angel of Shavano Campground it quickly becomes steeper and more interesting. Another favorite, forest road 221 (and offshoot 222), which starts as the Greens Creek Road two miles east of Maysville is alsoa great one to explore. After a few miles of flat easy travel, these roads (to use the term loosely) take you up the ridges and higher valleys to the south of Maysville into some very wild country that is very much worth checking out. If you like those routes, forest road 210 starts another mile east of 221, and takes you up into another complex of routes that is also great to explore. Further to the South is Marshall Pass, with another great complex of routes.
In the winter , Monarch Mountain provides everything you could want in a ski area. Its family friendly, and way less expensive than the mega resorts. Lift lines are all but nonexistent most of the time, and even during holidays, generally don’t exceed 10 minutes! The place gets over 300 inches of natural snow most winters, so they don’t need snow making, and there is much less ice than you find at the areas that do use snow machines. There is a good mix of beginner through expert terrain, and they even have bowl skiing via snow cat! Its just 20 minutes due west of Salida. Snowmobiling available - Monarch and All Seasons.