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Colorado > Colorado Community Areas > Buena Vista Area
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Buena Vista Area

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Arkansas Headwaters State Park- This park offers some of the highest quality white water opportunities in the country.
Arkansas River- The Arkansas River is a true Western, "big water" experience. Although relatively under fished, it is very popular among rafters.
Eleven Mile State Park- Elevenmile State Park offers excellent fishing in a 3,400 acre reservoir west of Colorado Springs. In addition to fishing, the park offers opportunities for camping, boating, windsurfing and picnicking.
Leadville Ranger District- The Leadville Ranger District includes some of the most rugged terrain in the state of Colorado. Recreation opportunities abound in this region with access to everything from historic sites to rock climbing.
Salida Ranger District- The Salida Ranger District includes the southern Sawatch Mountains, the northern Sangre de Cristo Mountains and the Arkansas River Valley.
Spinney Mountain State Park- Spinney Mountain State Park is a day-use facility at the south end of South Park. A 2,520 surface-acre lake is the focal point of recreation at this site.

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General Information

Looking west toward Buena Vista from overlook in San Isabel National Forest
Copyright: Amy Pyle - Interactive Outdoors, Inc.
Looking west toward Buena Vista from overlook in San Isabel National Forest
Description - Founded in 1879 this silver-mining boom town is one of few communities in the region to survive and grow in the 20th century. Today Buena Vista attracts recreationists during every season of the year.

Attractions - The biggest attraction in the Buena Vista area are the mountains and terrain that surround the town. Buena Vista lies in the Upper Arkansas River Valley and lays claim to some of the best white water in Colorado. The town was established by silver miners in 1879 who made it the seat of Chaffee County. The Buena Vista Heritage Museum provides visitors with an opportunity to see relics from the mining era of the community.

Recreation - The self-proclaimed title of Buena Vista is "Whitewater capitol of Colorado." The upper Arkansas Valley has more whitewater than any other region in the state. Rafting opportunities abound with various companies that line the banks of the Arkansas south of Buena Vista proper.

The Collegiate Peak Wilderness area lies west of town and encompasses part of the Sawatch Mountain Range, that looms high above the valley. The Buffalo Peaks Wilderness area lies northeast of Buena Vista and provides great opportunities for solitude and pack trips.

Backcountry skiing, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and snowmobiling are some of the winter outdoor activities visitors may choose from in Buena Vista. Summer provides opportunity for mountaineering, hiking, horseback riding, mountain biking, motorcycling, fishing and camping.

Climate - Buena Vistas elevation is 7,954 feet. It is warm in the summer and relatively cold during the winter months. Due to the elevation sunless summer days can be very cool. Those don't happen often, usually the sun shines brightly. Bring your sunscreen, because thin air filters fewer harmful rays. (Tourists often sport severe burn lines when they play in the powerful rays of the sun all day.)

Summer days, especially in August, usually see some sort of precipitation. Bring your rain gear. Fleece hats and light gloves can literally be a lifesaver on a blustery mountain top in July. Prepare for the worst when your traveling in extreme terrain and you'll have a great experience.

For winter layers are important. The sun reflecting from a snow-covered field can be scorching. When the sun leaves the sky the temperature can drop severely. Sunscreen is also important during the winter months.

Location - Buena Vista is located where Cottonwood Creek intersects with the Arkansas River. The town lies in a wide valley in the heart of Colorado's Central Rocky Mountains. Highway 24 is the main highway that divides the town into east and west. It leads north to Leadville and south to Salida. Denver and Colorado Springs lie within two and a half hours of this mountain hamlet.

Current Conditions & Trip Reports

Trip Reports:
Add your own trip Report! Newly re-released feature. One of the most popular features on Wildernet, trip reports allow you to share your experiences with others. This is an invaluable resource for determining what to expect on your outdoor adventure, so please participate! To prevent spamming, you must be a registered user of Wildernet in order to submit a trip report

Filed By: Michael P. Tonn (columbus , oh)
Number of People Encountered: 50+ ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: From the trials that lead from St elmo we found plenty of miles to explore with our dirt bikes. The terrain is as stated(Rocky)so inexperienced riders may want to limit themselves to Quadrunners or even A jeep which we saw plenty of. The scenery is second to none and we logged over 140 miles each day and then returned to the hot springs to recap the day. I've been riding all my life and waited that long to see Mt. Anterto. It was worth every second I waited too. Just for the record all of you tree hugging hikers don't own the trails! We have to share them!If your so against motorized vehicles then why do you drive your jeeps half way up the mountain then hike from there? Theres plenty of room for all in the San Isabelle national forest so it would be nice if you would leave your attitudes at home!

Number of People Encountered: 0-10 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: Great whitewater. Dont be intimidated by the number of rafters. There are plenty of places to find solitude and excellent fishing. You probaly won't catch any trophys but that won't stop me from giving it repeated attempts

More Information

Contact Information:
Buena Vista Chamber of Commerce, P.O. Box P, South US 24 , Buena Vista, CO, 81211, Phone: 719-395-6612

Additional Information:
Colorado Community Areas - Colorado's diverse communities include metropolitan areas, posh ski resorts and rustic mountain towns.
South Central Region - This region lies just east of the Continental Divide, from the middle of the state to the southern border of Colorado. It includes the upper Arkansas River Valley, the San Luis Valley and the Colorado Springs area.

ATV Historical Color Tour - A non-profit event that benifits two charity's in the Buena Vista area
Buena Vista Area Chamber of Commerce - This site provide a variety of information about Buena Vista that is useful to visitors and locals alike.
Centralcolorado.com - A site dedicated to central Colorado with links and visitor information.
Fourteenernet - This site provides visitor information for communities in the Arkansas River Valley.
Now This is Colorado - This site provides visitor information, regional newspaper headlines and classified ads.


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