One of the many benefits of living in Buena Vista is the system of excellent trails traversing the Mosquito Range to the east, used by mountain bikers, equestrians and pedestrians alike, beginning right at the two bridges that cross the Arkansas River.

This segment of the Colorado Trail—Raspberry Gulch to Angel of Shavano—starts midway between Salida and Buena Vista. It offers great views of the valley from a vantage point high up on the Sawatch Range. On the trail, riders pass under lush, green aspen stands and tunnels of pine boughs.

Although it’s rated as advanced, this is one of the best rides in the Buena Vista/Nathrop area. Fat tire enthusiasts will love the single-track that traverses the eastern slopes of Mount Princeton between Frontier Ranch and South Cottonwood Creek.

The Midland Trail is the area's first designated mountain bike trail in Chaffee County. Work on the trail started in 1990 under auspices of the U.S. Forest Service with help of the Bureau of Land Management, town of Buena Vista and volunteers.

Arkansas River: For a ride along the river, turn east on Arkansas Street from U.S. 24, then turn left onto CR 371 where Arkansas Street ends. Alternatively, ride 0.25 mile east from the stoplight at U.S. 24 and Main Street then turn left (north) onto N. Colorado Ave. (N. Colorado becomes CR …

The Bear Creek-Rainbow Trail-Methodist Mountain Ride is for those with the gumption to climb more than 2,000 feet of elevation on a tough ride.

Ranked as one of the premier rides in the state or the country for that matter, the Monarch Crest Trail atop the southern end of the Sawatch Range is an icon in Colorado’s Central Peaks Region.

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Salida-area Parks, Open-space & Trails (SPOT) is a volunteer, nonprofit organization that has collaborated with residents and the municipalities of Chaffee County for more than 20 years to improve recreational opportunities, including planning and developing the Salida Trail System.

The Colorado Trail segment from Kenosha Pass to Georgia Pass is one of the Highlights of the 486 mile long trail. With amazing views, a challenging trail that is always in great shape and many groves of Aspens make this a must-do. The high altitude makes it a tough ride, and also means that …

This lightly used singletrack travels through aspen groves with beautiful meadow crossings. It’s a great place to find solitude on an otherwise busy weekend. This trail is highly recommended in Autumn during the color change.

One of the best trails in the area, when ridden as a loop from Como, it features an extended, but mellow, climb on Boreas Pass Rd, followed by miles of great singletrack back down to town. Due to the high elevation, this ride is generally not open until mid-June or early-July. It is outstand…

The Mineral Belt Trail is an 11.6-mile, nonmotorized, paved, two-lane trail that winds around and through Leadville for walkers, bikers and cross-country skiers.

Explore this mellow single-track loop combining short segments of the Colorado and Mitchell Creek Trails from the summit of Tennessee Pass.

Here are two segments of the Colorado Trail which can be accessed from Twin Lakes.

Turquoise Lake offers cyclists several mountain bike options of varying difficulty.

Fishing

When the leaves start changing in fall, it doesn’t mean that fishing, camping and dirt biking seasons are over. In fact, fall might be the best time to enjoy some of those activities, especially in Bighorn Sheep Canyon.

Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area (cpw.state.co.us/placestogo/Parks/ArkansasHeadwatersRecreationArea), a Colorado state park, is responsible for camping along the river, both in designated campsites and nondesignated sites.

Water Sports

When the leaves start changing in fall, it doesn’t mean that fishing, camping and dirt biking seasons are over. In fact, fall might be the best time to enjoy some of those activities, especially in Bighorn Sheep Canyon.

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The gin-clear waters of the Arkansas River and the tall granite rock formations that line the river in Browns Canyon create an enticing venue for outdoor recreation in Chaffee County.

Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area (cpw.state.co.us/placestogo/Parks/ArkansasHeadwatersRecreationArea), a Colorado state park, is responsible for camping along the river, both in designated campsites and nondesignated sites.

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As one of the biggest weekends in Buena Vista, the Memorial Day holiday is host to the town’s ultimate river festival: Paddlefest.

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Buena Vista outfitter Wilderness Aware Rafting co-owner Joe Greiner’s email address says it all:

The Arkansas River is a mighty and magnificent watercourse — no question about it. The nation’s sixth-longest river at 1,469 miles, the Arkansas travels from Colorado through Kansas and Oklahoma before ending its journey in Arkansas, where it empties into the Mississippi. But I like it best …

Commercially guiding for 18 seasons now, I trained with Adventure Specialist Whitewater and Tim McDonald, who may be intense at times, but has impeccable river skills. He laid the foundation of my river guiding. Then I went to work for KODI and have been there ever since. As a prodigy of Cam…

In 1949, with the Arkansas River raging from above-average runoff, 23 whitewater boaters prepared to race 57 miles from Salida through Bighorn Sheep Canyon and the Royal Gorge to Cañon City. “An invitation to death” claimed the boaters as they looked over the course.

Hiking

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While it doesn’t cross 10,842-foot Marshall Pass, the American Discovery Trail does wind through parts of Chaffee and Lake counties.

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In the Upper Arkansas Valley one man has made it his life’s work to build trails where many Coloradans play each day.

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Located in the center of the Colorado Rockies along the route of both the Continental Divide Trail and the Colorado Trail and bordered by several mountain ranges, Chaffee County has a wealth of hiking options.

One of the many benefits of living in Buena Vista is the system of excellent trails traversing the Mosquito Range to the east, used by mountain bikers, equestrians and pedestrians alike, beginning right at the two bridges that cross the Arkansas River.