- The fourteeners in the southern Sawatch Range and the Sangre de Cristo mountains draw many summit seekers to this region. The summit of Pikes Peak, the front range's southernmost fourteener, is reachable by car, cog railway or by foot and is a major tourist attraction.
This is a vast area of geologic contrast. The Great Sand Dunes National Monument and Florrisant Fossil Beds National Monument may be found in this region. The Rio Grand River, Arkansas River and their tributaries contribute to the diversity and the recreation opportunities of the region.
Buena Vista, Salida, Mineral Hot Springs, Alamosa and Antonito are communities on the western side of this region. Colorado Springs, Cripple Creek, Canon City and Walsenburg are found on the eastern border of this region.
Recreation - The South Central Travel region offers a wide variety of recreation activities. Hiking, camping, mountain climbing, horseback riding, rafting, fishing, scenic driving and hunting are popular. Educational programming about human and natural history is available at the National Monuments in the region.
Climate - This region encompasses varied geological terrain. Elevation changes range from 14,000 foot peaks to one 1,000 foot deep gorge. In the mountains expect pleasant summer days with precipitation in July and August afternoons. Summer nights can be cool so pants and long sleeves (sometimes warm hats and gloves) are appropriate. Winter is cold, but the sun shines on most days and often warms temperatures into the 40s. When the sun goes down, often very early in a town nestled between high peaks, bring out the warm layers, hats, scarves and gloves.
The river valleys lying at lower elevations are generally warmer throughout the year. Summer days can be hot, but often the nights cool to 40 degrees. Winter weather is warmer in the valleys than the mountains, but nights require warm layers and hats, gloves and scarves.
This area begins in the Sawatch Range and the upper Arkansas River Valley. Highways 24 and 285 are the major thoroughfares in this area. Highway 285 leads south and forms the western boundary. Highway 24 leads east and intersects with Interstate 25, which cuts across the very eastern portion of the region.