By Lynne Winter
Nestled next to the Arkansas River and surrounded by 14,000-foot peaks, Salida offers visitors a wide variety of activities for every interest and season, including hot springs, rafting, skiing, mountain biking, Colorado’s first Creative District, shopping, dining and more.
RED asked Anita Kudasik, Metropolitan State University of Denver alumna and owner of Salida’s American Classic Inn, for her fave ways to enjoy her hometown.
Ride the Arkansas River’s legendary rapids with Independent Whitewater, a family-owned and -operated company that has been running the river for 40-plus years. This team of experienced guides offers exclusive private river access and some of the longest trips available on the Arkansas.
Whether you need to relax after a day of hiking in the summer sun or skiing down the slopes of nearby Monarch Mountain, Salida’s legendary hot springs are perfect for a soak in any season. Some 25 miles north of town, Mount Princeton Hot Springs Resort’s odorless hot springs bubble up from the earth at 140 degrees Fahrenheit for year-round relaxation. Don’t miss the Historic 1867 Bath House, established for the Soaking and Exercise Pools, or create a private, temperature-controlled oasis in Chalk Creek. Sand Dunes Recreation is a year-round, family-friendly swim spot, but the top draw is adults only: The Greenhouse, a spring set in a 10,000-square-foot greenhouse where you can order bites from a small-plates menu and drinks from the onsite Steel Box Bar.
The Salida Downtown Historic District is a string of top shops, boutiques and galleries. Pop in at mother-daughter-run Yolo Clothing for an eclectic array of modern clothing, gifts, accessories and jewelry. Opal Boutique offers a personalized shopping experience for women looking for new styles and fashion trends that are true to the mountain lifestyle. Certified clinical herbalist Lindsay Lund and tea mixologist Mac Rebant run Vital Living, selling high-quality, handcrafted skincare products, natural makeup, loose-leaf tea and more.
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Rafting, hiking and shopping build an appetite, and Salida has no shortage of delicious food and treats to fill an empty stomach at any time of day. Check out Boathouse Cantina for delish, locally sourced Mexican fare set on the banks of the Arkansas River. Amicas Pizza Microbrew & More is exactly that: a community tap house serving delish scratch-made pies. Don’t miss Brown Dog Coffee Co. for a cup of joe and a breakfast burrito before hitting the rapids or recharge at midday with a sandwich.
Salida Walking Tours will let you in on the town’s bloody history when you register for the Salida Ghost & Murder Tour or explore historical Salida during the Wild West History Tour. Private, customized tours are also available.
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