12 Best Hotels in Salida, United States - Jan 2019
Your Travel Guide to Salida
Salida is a city in central Colorado, on the Continental Divide, separating the river systems that flow towards the Atlantic and those that flow towards the Pacific Ocean. Salida was originally called “South Arkansas”, but the “Arkansas” title only stuck to the river running through the city. The name “Salida” is taken from the Spanish word for “Gateway”, a name that was chosen for the town because the town is located where the Arkansas Valley opens. The Arkansas River winds through the town, offering many river activities, such as whitewater rafting and fishing. There are also hot springs, both in Salida and in the surrounding areas, which are used as spas just as much as they are used to provide relaxation. And, in the tradition of Colorado resort towns, there are plenty of snow-related activities in the winter.
What are the Must-Do-s and See-s in Salida?
Monarch Mountain and the Monarch Crest Tram
As with most places in Colorado, Salida has its share of breathtaking views. The Monarch Crest Tram is one way of appreciating the view. It’s located at Monarch Pass, around 25 miles to the west of Salida. It lifts you to an elevation of 12,000 feet, offering a panoramic view of the area. There are also opportunities to hike or bike in the area, as well as skiing on Monarch Mountain. It offers 54 ski trails for skiing and snowboarding!
Activities on the Arkansas River
The Arkansas River is a popular destination for whitewater rafting. The Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area is located in Salida, offering a range of activities: bicycling, fishing, hiking, horseback riding, and rafting.There is a range of rafting classes along the river, indicating the rafting difficulty: Class A is the grade given to a still-water lake, while Class I is smooth water with gentle curves and obstructions that are easy to negotiate. The classes get increasingly difficult, until you reach Class VI, which is reserved only for expert paddlers. Even Class V is considered dangerous.
The Arkansas River that runs near Salida, in the Salida Whitewater Park, ranges from Class II to Class V, so you can find a level of difficulty that suits your ability. There are also combinations of climbing, biking, ATV, and even train rides together with rafting excursions. In late June, there is the FIBArk Whitewater Festival (= First in Boating the Arkansas Klub)--the oldest festival of its kind in America, being held yearly since 1949! It includes a number of events, both on the river and on dry land: kayaking, slalom, paddleboarding, parades, mountain bike racing, and more!
As for fishing, the stretch of the Arkansas River that runs through Salida has a particularly dense trout population: as much as 5000 trout per mile, for a span of 70 miles! However, there are restrictions as to how many fish you can take home with you: You are limited to no more than 4 brown trout, and any rainbow trout must be returned to the river.
Salida Museum Association
The Salida Museum has an interesting collection of artifacts from Native Americans that lived in the region, as well as art, photographs, and rock specimens. It has many curiosities that are unique to Salida--rare preserved train engines, lithographs and paintings, and historical documents. Hotels in the area include the Great Western Colorado Lodge, the Silver Ridge Lodge, and the Super 8 Salida.
Salida Art Walk
The Salida Art Walk is an annual art festival in late June, which combines art exhibitions, street performers, as well as restaurants and bars. There are displays of artwork by both professional and amateur artists, tasting of food prepared by various local chefs, band music and solo performers, and much more!
Salida Hot Springs Aquatic Center
Salida has the Salida Hot Springs Aquatic Center, which features two pools: 1) a leisure pool, for soaking, and 2) a 6-lane pool for swimming laps. It’s the only spa of its kind within 100 miles!
The heated water of the soaking pool is gathered from an underground spring, maintaining the pool at a temperature of 97-100 degrees Fahrenheit.
The depth of the swimming pool ranges from 4 feet to 12 feet, while the water temperature is kept at 84-86 degrees Fahrenheit. There is a wide range of activities that can be performed at the lap pool, such as yoga, Pilates, arthritis therapy, and even volleyball! There is also an inflow pool for children, ranging up to 4 feet in depth.
There are other hot springs in the area, such as Mt. Princeton in Napa, Joyful Journey and Valley View, in the town of Moffat, and Cottonwood Hot Springs in nearby Buena Vista.
Getting To and Around Salida
Flights to Denver and Colorado Springs
The airport in Colorado Springs is the closest to Salida. The airport receives traffic from several major airlines, such as American, Delta, and United Airlines, and offers connections to many major American cities: Denver, Houston, Dallas, Atlanta, Chicago, and Salt Lake City.
If you’re willing to make connections from Denver, there is also Pueblo Memorial Airport in Pueblo, Colorado, which is around a 2-hour drive away from Salida. They have two flights a day from Denver, from United Express Airlines--it’s approximately an hour-long flight.
There are Greyhound buses from Colorado Springs to Salida, and a Bustang bus from Pueblo to Salida--but it’s probably more convenient to rely on car rental services, so as not to be restricted by bus schedules and stops.