About Salida, Colorado – Heart of the Rockies


Downtown Salida looking toward the Arkansas River and the Salida Mountain Trails singletrack.  Photo by www.NathanWard.com

In a land long inhabited by the Utes and other Native American tribes before them, the railroad established Salida on the banks of the Arkansas River in Central Colorado.  It’s a special place, a valley ringed by the high summits of the Collegiate Peaks and Sangre de Cristo Mountains meet. 

Salida is a mountain playground known as “The Heart of the Rockies” and Chaffee County has more peaks over 14,000 feet than any other county in the continental United States.

Salida sits at 7,200 feet and enjoys over 300 days of sunshine a year, so there is plenty of great weather for ideal mountain biking.  The community is also a relaxed town full of working people, artists and families.  Nearly everyone pursues adventure with a passion.  Mountains are our life and we explore them any way we can – on bikes, feet and skis.

Trails crisscross the mountains, creating many options for mountain bikers and hikers.  People know the big peaks, but fewer know that Salida is also the crossroad of some of the most incredible singletrack trails in the United States.  The Colorado Trail, the Continental Divide Trail and the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route all pass through or near town. If you rode every day all summer long, it would take you years to ride all the trails in the valley.

Old Painted Signs and Kayaks in Historic Downtown Salida. Photo by www.NathanWard.com

The Monarch Crest Trail remains one of the classics in Colorado and is the route AADA originally chose for the Crest Crank.

After the Crest Crank, if you’re interested in spending more time in Salida, the area offers many other great activities.  For adventure seekers, the Arkansas River has some of the best whitewater in America and kayakers love our whitewater kayak park right in downtown Salida.

The Arkansas River is also a favorite river of Colorado fly fishermen.  Riverside Park in downtown is a great spot for a picnic and a new rock climbing wall in the park gives the kids something to do.  The City of Salida has also recently opened a new bike pump track for kids and adults near the downtown baseball fields.  Entry to everything is free of course.

If you just want to relax, check out the many local art galleries and cafes.  The galleries offer everything from pottery to photography to wild monsters.

Starting in mid-June, Salida hosts an excellent farm market every Saturday morning in Alpine Park, between 4th and 5th on F Street.  Check it out to find organic local produce, food and great art.  www.ccfa.coop

To learn more about the activities and programs available in Salida, pick up a Summer Fun Guide or Colorado Visitor’s Guide, both available for free Salida Mountain Sports or from the Salida Chamber of Commerce, www.salidachamber.org.

Find details about more summer events and opportunities on the Salida Chamber website, www.SalidaChamber.org or 1-877-772-5432 or through the Chaffee Country Visitors Bureau, www.coloradoheadwaters.com.

Sunset over the Collegiate Peaks and Salida. Taken from an overlook while mountain biking the Salida Mountain Trails – the new ride in the Monarch Crest Crank. Photo by www.NathanWard.com