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Overview

Although just 2,200 people live in Buena Vista today, it was once the home of 3,000 Utes, explorers believed, and during the gold-mining boom, it had 36 bars. The scenery hasn't changed much — the Collegiate Range, with its eight 14,000-foot mountains, is to the west, and Brown's Canyon, which surrounds a surging stretch of the Arkansas River, is to the south. The town is big with hikers and bikers, and some call it the "capital for white-water rafting in the U.S." White-water rafting is the thing to do in Buena Vista, and the best place for it is on the Arkansas River, home of the sharply dropping Brown's Canyon. The rapids are so intense ...

Although just 2,200 people live in Buena Vista today, it was once the home of 3,000 Utes, explorers believed, and during the gold-mining boom, it had 36 bars. The scenery hasn't changed much — the Collegiate Range, with its eight 14,000-foot mountains, is to the west, and Brown's Canyon, which surrounds a surging stretch of the Arkansas River, is to the south. The town is big with hikers and bikers, and some call it the "capital for white-water rafting in the U.S." White-water rafting is the thing to do in Buena Vista, and the best place for it is on the Arkansas River, home of the sharply dropping Brown's Canyon. The rapids are so intense here that local adventure-sports companies have named them: Zoomflume, Staircase, Devil's Punchbowl, and Seidel's Suckhole. But other than rafting, some amazing 14,000-foot peaks clearly visible from town, and the occasional nice bed-and-breakfast, there isn't a lot to do in Buena Vista. It's clearly a stop-off for adventurers who aren't much interested in arty nearby Salida.

Steve Knopper
About the Expert

Steve Knopper is the Denver-based author of Moon Handbooks Colorado as well as a contributor to numerous Fodor's city guides.

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Steve Knopper for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

  • Location: A town in Chaffee County, in central Colorado.
  • Research: Wikitravel |
  • Weather: Rainfall
  • Current Time:

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    Summer