Buena Vista Area

Why Buena Vista, You Ask?


What we are…

  • llodgejA small town (our population is less than half our elevation) in the middle of an arid, semi-agricultural valley surrounded by the biggest mountains on the lower 48.
  • You’ll see more Justin’s than Gucci’s.
  • More cattle than cars.
  • And Semi-Formal attire is defined as “Your Newest Jeans”.
  • Friendly people who wave with all their fingers, and appreciate visitors. Without you, our little hamlet would not exist.
  • We’re all about outdoor folks who like nature more than trendy shops, and would rather look at a beautiful mountain than a Frank Lloyd Wright building.

What we are not…

  • McDonalds
  • Sport coats (the last guy to wear a tie to dinner was hung with it)
  • The nearest Mercedes Benz dealer?…You can’t get there from here.
  • Factory Stores
  • Trendy Bars
  • Vail
  • Aspen (close by car, light-years by culture)

If you are looking for discos, Starbucks, movie stars, or a place to show off your diamonds and furs, this isn’t your place. Try www.imadork.com for an appropriate destination.

Summer, Fall and Late Spring, so much to do, so little time!

Rafting and Kayaking

Brown’s Canyon on the Arkansas River is the most popular rafting trip in the world and goes through one of the country’s newest National Monuments, of the same name. It has the perfect mix of thrills, scenery and just floating time. For a little different experience, try a “Duckie” an inflatable kayak. Best floating time is late May thru mid August with the maximum thrills in early June and it’s completely over by Labor Day.


Lodge-&-FishingThe Arkansas River has now been recognized as the longest stretch of Gold Medal water in the state. The Caddis hatch on the Arkansas is world-renowned and a top-water fly man’s dream. It starts in mid April and ends right here at the lodge in mid May (we have a third mile of virtually exclusive frontage). There’s even a Caddis Festival in early May put on by Trout Unlimited. The river is a little high and wild from mid May thru the 4th of July for fly fishing, but starts settling down then. By mid August the fishing is exceptional all the way thru mid October. Again, top-water is king on the Arkansas and the tributaries then. Guided trips are available thru the lodge all season.

Local Lakes open up in May and are well stocked all summer. They fish well clear into October. Bait is allowed but I prefer lures and flies.

Nearby Reservoirs (seven less than an hour away) open up in April or May. These seem to reach their peak when the rivers are too high for most of us, June and early July, but they fish well all season. Troll, toss lures or use your fly rod to catch Rainbows, Cutthroats, Browns, Kokanee Salmon, Pike or Monster Mackinaw. Guided trips are available thru the lodge all season.

High Mountain Lakes open up in July and are good through September and sometimes into October. Most involve hiking, but some are reachable by 4×4 or ATV. Here Cutthroats abound and flies and lures are best.


Hiking and 14’er Bagging

october_sunriseThe Valley is blessed with eleven mountains over 14,000 ft. tall. You can hike (no climbing skills necessary) up them all. For us lazy folks, you can drive to 12,000’ on Mt. Princeton and 13,700’ on Mt Antero where a short hike gets you to the top (H/C 4×4 or ATV required). Some 14’ers are in the abundant Wilderness Areas and require a long but scenic hike.

Well known hiking trails are the Continental Divide Trail, the Colorado Trail plus many others.

Art Galleries and Antiquing

Buena Vista and Salida have many very original Art Galleries and the Antique Dealers offer things you won’t find many other places.

ATV’s, 4×4’s & Dirt Bikes

fall_atvNever been on an ATV? Try it, you’ll be hooked for life. On the west side of the valley, ride to ghost towns, old mine sites, cross the Continental Divide in several places (over 12,000’) and a multitude of other passes. The high mountain 4×4 passes do not usually open up until early July, but remain open well into October. Off the showroom SUV’s can tackle most passes, ground clearance and low range being very important.

The east side of the valley is lower and a lot drier. You can ride almost all year here. The routes are a lot less rocky than the west side (they don’t call these the “Smooth Mountains” you know) and the views are amazing. Rentals and tours available, or bring your own (re-jetting of Off Highway Vehicles may be necessary).

Family Car Trips

You can take the family car to several ghost towns including St. Elmo, Tin Cup, Winfield and Vicksburg. Venture over Cottonwood Pass (closed in winter) to Taylor Park and Taylor Reservoir.

Day trips within two hours may include Royal Gorge, Black Canyon National Park, Great Sand Dunes National Park and Leadville.

Mountain Biking

Many trails await your bike and there is even a shuttle that will take you to the top of world where you can ride back to your vehicle. Try the Midland Bike Trail. Many trails are open all year.

Winter and Spring in the Valley

Skiing is a real treat here unless you just love crowds and traffic. Monarch to the southwest has some of the best snow in the state and Ski Cooper to the north is the neatest little area in the state (and the least expensive). We get season passes to both.

snowmobileWhy should I stay in Buena Vista and ski, you ask? Sure you could stay in Salida and be closer to Monarch but too far to go to any other area. Or the same goes for staying in Leadville. But in Buena Vista we are half way between these two areas and you can choose the one with the best snow & weather or better yet, ski both for a change of pace. We always have Ski & Stay Packages available with deeply discounted tickets. Monarch is 45 minutes away and Ski Cooper is 50 minutes away, both easy scenic drives with very little traffic. Remember we have off season rates in winter!

Snowmobiling here is absolutely awesome with over 200 miles of groomed trails and several passes over the Continental Divide. The scenery is spectacular and the powder…waist deep in places with miles of wide open riding above Timberline…and did I mention the scenery. Rentals and tours are available and our Sled & Sleep Specials are always on.

Snowshoeing is a very fast growing outdoor activity and we have the snow and trails to make it a treat. The learning curve is immediate and rentals are available in town.

Fishing goes on all year both in the river and on the ice covered lakes. The river up here at the lodge can be difficult in December and January (and after later cold snaps), but lower downstream is good practically all year. Ice fishing on Twin Lakes, Clear Creek Res., Cottonwood Lake and Taylor Res. is very often productive.

Art Galleries and Antiquing

Buena Vista and Salida have many very original Art Galleries and the Antique Dealers offer things you won’t find many other places.

Hot Springs

There are 2 hot springs in the Buena Vista area, neither with that sulfur smell that you get at so many other hot springs. They are open year round. We often have discounted passes to at least one of them.

Short Hikes

There are a couple short hikes near the lodge that are rarely snow covered. Try the Whipple Trail that originates at a footbridge at the end of town and continues up to the old Colorado Midland RR grade. There are interpretive kiosks along the way and the scenery is spectacular.

Make a Reservation

We have 5 rooms, and love to host groups and families. See what we have available!


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