There is a lot to do in Buena Vista.
Below are some of our favorite activities, restaurants, and businesses.
Buena Vista has several great Parks
McPhelemy Park is also known as “Town Pond”. It is the park at the intersection of Main Street and Hwy 24, on the West side of the highway. The pond is great for fishing, kayaking, SUPing, and picnics. The East side of the park has a beautiful lawn. There is parking on both sides of the lake, and a bridge connects the park. A new playground was installed during the summer of 2015 on the West side.
- K’s park (Columbine Park) is located off the Hwy next to the Shell gas station. Go to the light, take a left and you’ll see K’s ice cream shop on the left. It is directly behind there. Its location is on Cottonwood Creek and has shade and picnic tables, plus the park.
- The BV Boulder Garden is in South Main and features two incredible man-made climbing structures that look and feel like real rocks. They were built for climbing! Both rocks have natural routes as well as artificial holds. Right next to the boulders is a Kid Rock & Ropes course that is a lot of fun. There is a third climbing boulder in front of the Eddyline restaurant as well as a beautiful lawn for playing and relaxing. Enjoy free music concerts during the summer weekends at this location, which is one of our favorite town events.
- The BV Disc Golf course is located near the town softball and soccer fields. Look for a sign to your left as you head toward the river park.
- There are too many trails to mention at the river park area; worth checking out for sure! Enjoy a mellow stroll along the river or cross the bridge to gain some elevation on the Barbara Whipple trails - the view is fantastic! .
Chaffee County has three public hot springs. All three are great. If you have kids we recommend Mount Princeton Hot Springs Resort during the summer and Salida Aquatic Center during the winter.
Our favorite area hot springs is Mount Princeton Hot Springs Resort. They have two large pools and an awesome creek side area with pools built out of river rocks right in the creek. The spa area has a second large pool and several smaller ones. During the summer Mount Princeton Hot Springs Resort opens their upper slide pool which has a beautiful lawn for sunbathing and a fun slide.
Cottonwood Hot Springs is just up Cottonwood Pass; they have several pools with natural rock seating. Not as kid friendly as Mount Princeton and will be a more quiet setting.
Salida Aquatic Center is the only indoor hot springs pool in the state. They have a hot pool with entry ramp that is great for toddlers. The larger lap pool has a diving board, small slide, and new climbing wall.
Rafting, Kayaking, & SUP
The Arkansas River is the most popular and most rafted river in Colorado, and for good reason.
The Arkansas Valley is known as the Headwaters of the Arkansas River and is home to an awesome variety of river sections.
The Numbers is the quintessential Class IV section in the state, and it's just North of town. The Fractions are just below the Numbers and this section ends in town. The Fractions is a local favorite for experienced boaters because you can get a ride to the put in and boat back to town.
The Buena Vista Whitewater Park starts at the Whipple Bridge and ends at South Main. There are several man-made waves and rapids that were designed for kayaks and SUPs. This is the largest white water play park in the state!
the Milk Run is the section from Johnson Village to Fisherman's Bridge, where Browns Canyon National Monument begins. Great mellow section.
Browns Canyon is the super classic section of river that defines this area! The river drops and meanders through the recently designated Browns Canyon National Monument; Class III and IV rapids.
There is a ton of fantastic mountain biking that is easily accessible from the Buena Vida front door. Ride East across the Arkansas River to access the Whipple Trails, the historic Midland Trail, and the Four Mile Recreation Area. The Colorado Trail and Continental Divide Trail are both easily accessed with a short drive and offer many scenic sections. Road bikers can find a loop or out-and-back ride of any length with guaranteed stellar views.
The trails across the Arkansas River on the Whipple Trail are the locals' favorite for a quick hike. As you climb to the historic Midland Trail the views of town and the Collegiate Peaks get better with every step. Keep going and see if you can make it to the top of the Sleeping Indian. That not enough of a challenge? Chaffee County has more 14,000+ ft peaks than any other county in the lower 48.
Stop in the Trailhead for maps and/or trail advice.
The Four Mile Recreation area has a wealth of rock climbing and bouldering. Bob's Rock one of the largest and most convenient crags in BV, with Elephant Rock, Turtle Rock, Transmitter Tower, and Davis Face being other worth destinations. Pick up a copy of the new climbing guide book "40 Minutes from Leadville" and go explore!
Stop in the Trailhead to grab the guidebook or for gear & advice.
JalaBlu is the place to do yoga! Located just off the corner of E Main and Railroad, they offer a variety of classes with a few outside by the river in the summer. Visit the JalaBlu website for the weekly schedule and workshop info.
The Adventure Park at Noah’s Ark is awesome! It is an aerial challenge course great for anyone 7 years or older. Be prepared to test your balance and comfort with heights in a safe and fun environment. You get 2 hours to do as many elements as you like and you can go at your own speed.
The Arkansas River is home to the longest stretch of Gold Medal waters in the state of Colorado; over 100 miles. The fishing along the Arkansas River and in the alpine lakes above Buena Vista is world class.
Skiing, Snowboarding, and Snowshoeing
Monarch Mountain and Ski Cooper are the closest commercial ski resorts to the town of Buena Vista. Each mountain is about 45 minutes away, and both are a lot of fun. Monarch has more steep terrain for advanced riders and is very family friendly. Ski Cooper is the best place to learn to ski or ride in Colorado and is very family friendly as well. There are endless roads and trails to explore up Cottonwood Pass, Independence Pass, or in the Raspberry Park area on xc skis and snowshoes.
House Rock Kitchen is the closest restaurant to Buena Vida. Fast, casual healthy, delicious food with an awesome outside seating area complete with boccie court, horseshoe pit, fire pit, stage, and kid magnetic creation wall. Music on various summer nights.
If you feel a need for a treat afterwards, just head across the street to Louie’s ice cream parlor for some Denver made ice cream. They have a beautiful courtyard with fun family activities and a kid playhouse. They connect with TheJailhouse Craft Beer bar, a unique place for a unique beer.
The Asian Palate is Buena Vista's finest dining establishment. The sushi is amazing (yes we have awesome sushi in Colorado!) as is everything on their menu which is Thai food.
The Evergreen Cafe is our go-to breakfast diner, with a wonderful, diverse menu complete with all the classic staples, healthy options, and a few hometown specials. They serve a great lunch as well, including salads, fish tacos and creative sandwiches.
The Buena Vista Roastery is two blocks away, and it's where half the town starts their day. Fresh roasted java, all the specialty drinks you could ever want, and home baked goodies will keep you coming back.
the eddyline brewery has two locations. The restaurant is in South Main; they feature wood fired pizzas, burgers, and a great selection of entrees. The Eddyline brewery is on Linderman Ave, just off the highway; they have a similar menu, except great burritos and no burgers. Both locations have take and bake pizzas that are delicious and easy.
Spoon It Up is a great quick and healthy restaurant as well. They are located on E Main, across from the BV Roastery and inside the Trailhead building. They offer wonderful baked breads, soups, salads, and sandwiches. Plus the bonus of frozen yogurt machines with all the fixings you can stack on top.
There is several food trucks located around town in the summer as well, mostly along East Main Street. They range from lemonade stands to gyros.
Every bar in BV is within a 10 minute walk of Buena Vida
The Lariat (or Rope as the locals call it) was completely renovated this year. This is the place to go to see live music, sports, and play pool!
Deerhammer is our hometown whiskey distillery and whiskey bar. They feature unique drinks that will make a whiskey lover out of you. Deerhammer often hosts free music during the summer.
Both Eddyline brewery locations have a bar featuring their own tasty brews. large tables and ample outdoor seating make this a great social gathering place. The Brewery on the Highway has live music on occasion.
The Jailhouse Craft Beer Bar is next to the Village (near Louie’s Ice Cream) on East Main Street. The Jailhouse features great craft beer from all over. This is a great place to experience new brews in one of BV’s most historic buildings (our old Jail).