About Salida, Colorado

Historic Downtown Salida and “S” Mountain

The mountain town of Salida, Colorado was founded as a railroad town in the mid to late 1800’s on the banks of the Arkansas River where the Collegiate Peaks and the Sangre de Cristo Mountains meet. It’s a mountain playground known as “The Heart of the Rockies” and our county has more peaks over 14,000 feet than any other county in the continental United States.

Salida sits at 7,200 feet and enjoys over 300 beautiful days of sunshine a year. It’s a real town full of working people, artists and families – not a resort town built by a corporation. Our downtown historic area is the largest in Colorado and turn of the (19th) century historic buildings perfectly frame the mountain views in every direction. Most Salida residents pursue several forms of outdoor adventure with a passion. Mountains and rivers are our life blood and we explore them on foot, bikes, skis and rafts, usually with friends, kids, and dogs, but sometimes in glorious solitude.

Head over heels in the Whitewater Park

World-class trails crisscross these mountains, creating innumerable options for mountain bikers and hikers. Salida is the crossroads of some of the most legendary and incredible singletrack trails in the United States. The Colorado Trail (Denver to Durango), the Rainbow Trail (Salida to New Mexico through the rugged Sangre de Cristo Range), the Continental Divide Trail (Canada to Mexico along the spine of the Rockies), and the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route (also Canada to Mexico), all pass through or near town. Salida is also home to the renowned Monarch Crest Trail, which has consistently been identified in mountain biking magazines as one of the ten best trails in the United States. If you rode your bike every day all summer long, it could take you years to ride all the trails in and around Salida.

Salida supports many local art galleries – Lovell Gallery.

On the days you’re not on the trail, Salida offers many other great activities. The same trails that we love to bike also make for fantastic hiking and backpacking. If climbing fourteeners (14,000 foot peaks) is your game, you’ve come to the right place. The Arkansas River has some of the best whitewater in America and kayakers love our whitewater park right in downtown Salida. The Arkansas River is also a favorite river of Colorado fly fishermen with healthy populations of brown and rainbow trout. Riverside Park in downtown is a great spot for a picnic and a new rock climbing wall in the park gives the kids something to do.

If you just want to relax and stroll around, check out the many local art galleries, shops and cafes. The galleries offer everything from pottery to photography to hand-crafted jewelry. We are fortunate in a small town to have a committed bunch of restaurateurs who can satisfy any palate. Be sure to enjoy a latte, a beer, or a tasty meal at the River’s Edge Bar and Restaurant, right next to Absolute Bikes. The River’s Edge has the best outdoor seating in Salida – their deck and patio tables are right on the river!

View from the downtown Arkansas River bridge

Starting in mid-June, Salida hosts an excellent farmers market every Saturday morning in Alpine Park, between 4th and 5th on F Street. Check it out to find organic local produce, foods, and great art.

To learn more about the activities and programs available in Salida, pick up a Summer Fun Guide or Colorado Visitor’s Guide, both available for free at Absolute Bikes.