Buena Vista is a valley town. Of course, it's a valley town at 7,965 feet, so for all that the mountains rise up higher around it than in it, that's still mountain air you're breathing. It's also desert air. Buena is situated in a patch of high mountain desert, a dry spot in the middle of alpine snow, a dry spot along the Arkansas River. This is, after all, perhaps the capital of whitewater rafting in the United States.
The Upper Arkansas River is wild and if the outdoors and the watery outdoors in particular excite you, the popular Brown Canyon run is practically a jump outside town. Several "14ers" (or mountains at and past 14,000 feet of elevation) are also a jump outside town, and mountain climbers, hikers, bikers, off-roaders and so forth will have a hard time finding better, or higher, peak-terrain to explore.
In the middle of this grand landscape as it is, you'd think that Buena Vista itself would get lost, like a mere bedroom community for the mountain explorer. Instead, if unassuming, it's as beautiful as its surroundings and as outdoors and pedestrian friendly . . . and historical. Ghost towns scatter close to Buena Vista, reflecting the effect that mining and the railroad have had on this area. Check out the Buena Vista Heritage Museum for a more compressed treatment. Or stop by the very nearby Mount Princetown Hot Springs Resort for a different kind of recreation altogether.
Buena Vista is in south central Colorado, 32 miles south of Salida and 93 miles west of Colorado Springs. To learn more about Buena Vista, select an area of interest from the buttons on the left.