If you’re looking for an incredible Colorado getaway, you have to visit Buena Vista! We were only there for a few days, but already planning a trip back to explore all there is to do in this River Town on the Arkansas River! Downtown Buena Vista has adorable shops and restaurants, and incredible coffee, this coming from a non-coffee drinker, but just outside of Downtown there are a ton of wonderful outdoor activities for the entire family!
We spent hours just exploring the cute shops and restaurants! Don’t miss the stuffed French toast at the Evergreen Café and the fresh roasted coffee at the Buena Vista Roastery! Be sure to check out the cute things at Sundog Antiques, too! Here’s 12 more amazing things to do while in Buena Vista!
1. White Water River Rafting through Brown’s Canyon
We were there to go rafting through Brown’s Canyon on the Arkansas River, and it’s worth the drive! You’ll experience the beauty and power of the river, all in a 1/2 day trip! We love River Runners, which also offers family floats and rafting trips on the Gorge and the Numbers! Click HERE to read about our adventure!
2. Hot Springs
In addition to White Water on the Arkansas River, Buena Vista is also known for their Hot Springs! Visit Cottonwood Hot Springs and Spa for a tranquil day of relaxation in the springs! Click HERE for more information.
3. Mountain Biking
As we were driving in to Buena Vista we were driving along side the Arkansas River, and saw the train track on the other side of the river! I was hoping it was a passenger train, but told during our Rafting Trip with River Runners that it was actually an old mining train, and that trains no longer run on it. Bummer until I heard that it is now a bike trail! Even better, it goes through several train tunnels!
You can bring your bikes, or rent them from several shops in town. If you prefer road bikes, the 20 mile ride from Buena Vista to Salids is incredible! And while I can’t imagine fat tire riding in the snow, it’s a big thing here! Click HERE to read more!
4. Rock Climbing Trips
My kids are already planning to go rock climbing next year, whether I go or not. Noah’s Ark offers half-day guided rock climbing and repelling trips. Click HERE to read more about the rock climbing in Buena Vista!
Thankfully, the minimum age is 12, so I have 2 years to gather my courage for a zipline across the Arkansas River Valley, with a 60 ft. freefall! Click HERE to read more about the incredible mountaineering course with AVA.com
6. Feed the St. Elmo Ghost Town Chipmunks
My daughter did this, and talked about those chipmunks for days! I actually went through her room to make sure she didn’t sneak one home. In the Ghost Town of St. Elmo, which is pretty cool to visit even if you don’t like little rodents. Buy feed at the St. Elmo General Store and feed them by hand! Click HERE to watch a video.
7. Fly Fishing
We are novices at Fly Fishing, but still had a great time fishing in the river on our own, but next time we’ll set up a guided trip with ArkAnglers to show us the sweet spots on the river! They offer half-day fishing trip and have all the gear and can teach you how to fly fish on the river! Click HERE to visit their website.
8. Horseback Riding
We passed up a chance to go horseback riding in Buena Vista with Mt. Princeton Hot Springs Riding Stables because we were planning to go riding at Custer State Park in South Dakota, and were rained out when we got there. Mt. Princeton Stables offers from 1 hr to 3 day pack trips in the mountains!
9. Hiking and Mountain Climbing
From easy hikes along the river to climbing one of the nearby 14K ft. peaks around Buena Vista, there are lots of options to get outside! Click HERE to find a trail for you!
10. Buena Vista River Park
From Downtown Buena Vista you can walk or drive down to the Buena Vista River Park. The free park offers hike and bike trails along the river, as well as access to the river for kayaks, and to play in the river. There is also a BMX course.
We camped at River Runners in Buena Vista, right on the river, and it’s an incredible campsite! There is a huge selection of camping sites in Buena Vista, including those offered in the Arkansas River Headwaters Recreation Area. They have 7 different campsites, but Ruby Mountain is on our to-do list, if for no other reason than that the fishing is said to be great, and it’s named for the rubies they once found here. There are also several trails that lead into the backcountry here. Click HERE to read more.
If tent camping is not your thing, there are plenty of scenic cabins and resorts in the area!
12. See the Continental Divide
Take a selfie at the Continental Divide!
Buena Vista, Colorado
Click HERE to visit their website.
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