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Downtown Salida.

Salida is a town in South Central Colorado. The nearby, smaller town of Poncha Springs is also treated in this article.

Get in[edit]

The Salida airport is for civil aviation and charter flights, and has no commercial service. The nearest airports with commercial service are in Pueblo and Colorado Springs some 100 miles to the east; Denver, slightly more distant, is a major air hub. Salida is on US 50, while Poncha Springs is on US 285. Both of these roads go over fairly high passes near town, to the west and south respectively; Poncha Pass on 285 is usually open through the winter except immediately after snowstorms, while higher Monarch Pass on 50 can take longer to re-open after it snows. Chains or 4WD are useful when driving in this area in the winter. Travel time from western metro Denver to Salida is approximately 2½ hours. To get the latest travel information visit the official website[dead link] for Salida.

Get around[edit]



The Sawatch Range.
  • River running: The nearby Arkansas River has famous whitewater, and the Brown's Canyon section is a classic. If you're not equipped for a float or paddle, try one of the several outfitters in the region. (Advance reservations are a very good idea.) Four Corners/Buffalo Joe's Rafting, +1 866-283-3563 is a well-regarded outfitter; try also Arkansas Valley Expeditions, +1-800-833-7238. Several others are along US 24 on the way to Buena Vista and are listed in the Buena Vista article.
  • Hot springs: There is a public bathhouse and hot-spring-fed pool on Rainbow Boulevard (main drag through town) that draws water from Poncha Spring near the town of the same name. The main pool is rather cool by hot-spring standards and is "family oriented," but there is also a smaller "therapeutic" pool with temperatures over 100 °F (38 °C), and private hot tubs are available for rental.
  • FibArk Whitewater Festival (Father's Day Weekend, June), The Arkansas River/Riverside Park (From Hwy 50, turn towards town on F street, and continue to traffic light. Go past light, find place to park, walk to river.). Thursday -Sunday. Main events are Saturday, and also biggest crowds (they're happy though). Annually, this four day festival welcomes all generations to a great time and positive vibe. National, International, and Olympic tryout competitions, mainly for river kayaks are the core of this festival; but a parade, a foot-race hill climb, a skate-bowl competition, a Hooligan race (locals goofy fun river race on anything Except a boat), a pancake breakfast, a carnival in Riverside Park, and more make FIBArk what it is today. free to watch.
  • Salida Art Walk (Showcase weekend for local artists (including those who have work in the Met, Smithsonian, and other museums and galleries worldwide).), F & 1st Streets, and about 2 blocks in each direction (from Hwy 50, take F street toward town. When you come to 3rd street start looking for a parking spot (try a left or right turn).). Friday night, Sa Su. Saturday about 10AM to 7PM is the really active time.. Salida Art Walk is an annual arts celebration in Colorado's largest historic district — downtown Salida, Colorado. Nationally known artists, sculptors, jewelers, and an ever-growing field of stimulating art and artists are available to the art enthusiast. Come and discover for yourself why Salida has been named one of the "100 Best Small Art Towns in America" by John Villani. Meet local world-class, and emerging artists during the festive artist receptions that will be taking place Saturday evening at many of the galleries. free to visit - about 18 galleries and 25 other venues..
  • July 4th Parade and Fireworks, Downtown Salida (from Hwy 50 turn towards town on F street; once you pass third street, find a place to park). Parade begins about 4PM, Fireworks about 9:30PM. A fun community day parade, culminating later in the evening with a community gathering along the Arkansas River in downtown Salida, to watch the fireworks show put on by the Fire Department atop 'S Mountain'. Casual and fun for any age group. free.
  • [formerly dead link] Salida Omnium Bicycle Race, Downtown Salida. daylight, F Sa Su 1st weekend of Sep. One of several bicycle races in the Salida area over each summer.
  • Chaffee County Fair & Rodeo (Chaffee Fairgrounds in Poncha Springs). A fun week of mutton bustin, cutting horse competition, ropin, riding and just a great time at the County Fair. Typically the last week of July during the perfect weather and just one block north of main street in Poncha Springs (US-50). Other community events often occur the same week to allow visitors to experience a wide variety of fun and with the free admission, come and go as you please. Free.
  • Monarch Crest Trail. This is one of the premier singletrack (with option of a shuttle) rides in Colorado. With over 30 miles of mostly singletrack trails and all of the best scenery Colorado has to offer, this trail is a must for mountain bikers. As a shuttle ride, you will start in Monarch Pass and you'll climb about 2,300 feet (much of it above 11,000 feet) and you'll descent about 6,000 feet total. The first part of the ride is above treeline where you'll top out at about 11,960 feet and then begin the first major descent. For the hearty rider, starting in Poncha Springs and climbing Monarch Pass yourself, then returning via the Monarch Crest Trail is very popular loop. The use of the shuttle service from the High Valley Center in Poncha Springs to get up Monarch Pass is also very popular. More trail and shuttle information can be found here.



  • Grimo's Italian Restaurant (Just south of jct. US 50 and US 285 in Poncha Springs), +1 719 539-2903. Tu-Sa 4-9PM. Despite its ill-chosen name, the conventional Italian fare is quite good.


  • Benson's Tavern, 128 N F St, +1 719 539-9391. Bar food and drinks draw a young crowd to this hang-out.
  • Elevation Beer Company, 115 Pahlone Parkway, Poncha Springs, +1 719-539-5258, . Elevation Beer Company is a Colorado microbrewery specializing in adventurous and seasonal barrel-aged beers for the craft beer fanatic. Summer Tasting Hours: M 3-8PM, We-F 3-8PM, Sa Su noon-8PM, closed Tuesdays - Brewery Tours: M-F 5PM, Sa Su 1, 3 & 5PM. Located at Pahlone Pkwy and CR-120 (one block north of US-50, also on the CR-120 bike path from Salida) in central Poncha Springs.


Go next[edit]

  • Monarch Mountain downhill ski area is a short distance west of town.
  • You can continue up-valley to Buena Vista for more outdoors activities. Many of the state's highest mountains are in the Sawatch Range west of US 24 between Salida and Buena Vista and are reachable by trails. (Pay attention to the possibility of altitude sickness before venturing into them, however, and have good maps and equipment; although most of the Sawatch are gentle, people still die there.)
Routes through Salida
Grand JunctionGunnison  W  E  Cañon CityPueblo

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