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area_mountains_2Fishing ~ Biking ~ Skiing ~ Snowboarding ~ Climbing ~ Kayaking ~ Hiking
The plethora of recreation in this valley boggles the mind. Nowhere else will you find so many recreational opportunities so easily accessed, and so frequently enjoyed by many locals and tourists. The Arkansas River is one of the most commercially rafted rivers in the country. It is a mecca for fishing and kayaking, with five (and growing) man-made surf holes, which also provide stellar fish habitat. The Buena Vista and Salida whitewater parks attract some of the best kayakers in the world, and the number of fly-fishing shops and outfitters are a testament to the quality of angling on the Arkansas River. Off the river are hundreds of miles of single-track trail for hiking and biking, both attracting large numbers of tourists to the area. The area, touting such classic rides as the Monarch Crest, Midland and Colorado Trails, has become a destination resort for bikers, and the vast number of 14,000 foot peaks (fifteen) attracts “peak-baggers” from all over the world. The Continental Divide Trail, or “the King of Trails” extends from Canada to Mexico through our backyard, as does the Colorado Trail. Millions of acres of public lands surround the valley including the Buffalo Peaks and Collegiate Peaks Wilderness Areas. After countless hours of research, interviews and surveys, The Chaffee County Visitor’s Bureau determined that a majority of locals and visitors participated in non-motorized sports, leading to the creation of the Valley’s marketing and branding effort: “The Headwaters of Adventure”. Last but not least, our local ski and snowboard area, Monarch Mountain, one of the oldest continuously operating ski areas in the state, is a mere 15 minutes from Salida and boasts some of the best powder skiing and smallest crowds in the state. Monarch was purchased in 2005 by several local investors, leading to extensive renovations and expansions, with more planned for the future. By nature of Monarch’s location at 11,000 feet on Monarch Pass, hillside development is not currenlty feasible, ensuring that Monarch will remain a classic Colorado ski destination. Visit Monarch’s web site for more information on season passes, mountain statistics, etc. With so much recreation offered to enthusiasts of every ability, there is sure to be an expert around every corner. Salida and Buena Vista are home to extremely talented, motivated, low-key athletes and outfitters ready to help you begin a new sport or excel at one you already love. For more information on recreational opportunities in the Valley, contact the Salida Chamber of Commerce, 719-539-2068; Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area, 719-539-7289; Poncha Springs Visitor’s Center (operated seasonally), 719-539-7055.


Heart of the Rockies Regional Medical Center has shown over past decades to be a positive example for rural hospitals, maintaining financial responsibility and providing exceptional care in many areas not offered by most rural hospitals. The new, forty room facility opened its doors for business in 2008. The new addition was completed in 2013. In addition, 24 hour ambulance service is available valley wide, and numerous specialists and clinics are located in both Salida and Buena Vista. There are assisted living facilities in both communities and an outpatient clinic in Buena Vista to reduce commutes to Salida. For additional information about medical care in the valley, contact either the Chamber of Commerce or Heart of the Rockies Regional Medical Center directly.


Both Salida and Buena Vista have traditional public elementary, middle and high schools. Private schools, including Montessori and Christian, are found in each town as well. There is also a public pre-school in each town as well as a variety of private options for the pre-school years. Colorado Mountain College recently built a new building in Buena Vista, offering tradition and non-traditional continuing education credits. Buena Vista approved a mill-levy a few years back, allowing them to allocate more funds to local schools, and they enjoy an extremely positive reputation in the Valley due to successful management practices. Salida built a new high school which opened in 2012 and have begun construction of a new elementary school to be completed for the 2014 school year. The district knocked the socks of the test soaring above the state average in all but two of the twenty seven areas. Both School Boards show great dedication and action to improve both districts.


The Ark-Valley Humane Society is the local animal shelter, located in Buena Vista. In 2006 the Humane Society received a community minded boon when voters county-wide showed their loved of animals by approving a small tax levy to help with funding. Though in need of expansion, the additional expenditure allows the shelter to operate as a “no-kill” shelter except in the most serious of cases. Located close to the Buena Vista airport, the Ark-Valley Humane Society is where most of the pets in the valley were rescued. For more information contact the Ark-Valley Humane Society at 719-395-2737.


Salida and Buena Vista both have regional airports, neither providing commercial flights at this time. Both airports are well-organized facilities where planes can be contracted for private fights throughout the west, and both are working towards providing commercial flights in the future. To contact Harriet Alexander Field (Salida), call 719-539-3720; for Central Colorado Regional Airport (Buena Vista), call 719-395-2496.


Cellular phone service is available throughout the Valley, but expect pockets where reception is spotty due to the surrounding terrain. Internet connections are also available most everywhere (except the most remote locations), and high speed and super high speed (T1lines, etc.) are available but cost significantly more. Summer storms can occasionally knock down power, but there are many telecommuters in the valley who get by just fine.


monarchThrough highways intersperse the county leading in all directions. In order to exit or enter the Valley a mountain pass must be traveled for every route except one. Most roads are well maintained throughout the winter, others are closed completely when the snow falls (Cottonwood Pass, Independence Pass). Avalanche control will frequently close Monarch pass briefly and rarely, and snow in the Valley melts quickly, leaving dry roads. Denver is 2-3 hours drive time, and offers all the benefits of a big city- a modern art museum, major league sports, lively downtown, aquarium, children’s museum, and much more. Colorado Springs is 2-2½ hours away, and while traffic is always a problem there, the airport is smaller and more comfortable than Denver International, and tourist attractions abound, including Garden of the Gods, Cave of the Winds, the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, and the Air Force Academy. Summit County to the northeast offers outlet stores, a Super Target, big screen theaters and good dining. To the west is Gunnison, a small college town that acts as the gateway to Crested Butte. East is Canon City and Pueblo, and South takes you past the Great Sand Dunes National Park, through Taos, New Mexico and on to Santa Fe, about four hours from Salida.


Click here to download a pdf list of all of the local churches and places of worship.


Click here to see a list of local organizations and clubs in Chaffee County and Salida.


Colorado Workforce Center

“Career Counseling and Labor Market Information”
141 E. 3rd Street
Salida, CO 81201

The Mountain Mail Newspaper

125 E. 2nd Street
Salida, CO 81201


Neighborhood Natural Goods

320 W. 7th Street


311 H Street


232 G Street

Simple Foods Market

1548 G Street #4

Sunshine Market Natural Foods

211 F Street

Walmart Supercenter

7865 W. Hwy. 50


The Chaffee County Builder’s Association has been taking a pro-active role in respect to energy efficient/alternative practices and green building.


There is currently one public golf course in the valley. Salida Golf Club: 719.539.1060. It’s a nice friendly 9-hole regulation course with a great log club house very near downtown Salida. If you move here and are a regular, you’ll certainly know a few people at this great litttle


Though artists are scattered throughout the valley, the art scene is primarily centered around Salida’s downtown which has an active group that promotes Art Walk, an annual art festival in mid July as well as first Wednesdays and other activities. The scene is not yet bustling, the level of artists is seeing a significant increse.


There are vets in both Buena Vista as well as Salida, and even down the canyon in Howard. This is a fairly close group. Check the yellow pages for a veternarian nearest your home. Additionally there is a boarding kennel in Poncha Springs: Wag-N-Tails 719.539.9246