Things to Do in Salida

History of Salida

Salida is located in central Colorado and is the county seat and most populous municipality of Chaffee County.  It was first called South Arkansas when the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad made the area a stopping point.  Due to the lovely view from the train upon leaving the Arkansas River canyon, it was renamed Salida, (exit in Spanish).

Salida became a big railroad town with the largest train repair facility between Denver and Salt Lake City.  It also boasted many smelters as gold and silver mining in the vicinity became more prevalent.  As these industries faded, farming took over.

Now Salida, Colorado’s largest historic district and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is a tourist town.  It is a gateway to the outdoors providing excellent fishing, rafting, hiking and more.  Below are a few things to do in Salida.

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Hikes Near Buena Vista

Buena Vista is located 2.5 hours outside of Denver near the Collegiate Peaks.  It is a mecca for the outdoors and popular among hikers trying to bag 14ers.  While Colorado’s famous 14ers are magnificent, there are plenty of wonderful trails in the area for those who want an easier feat.

Below are a few hikes near Buena Vista with lovely scenery. All directions to these hikes may be found on AllTrails.

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ranger lakes near walden

Five Hikes Near Walden

The town of Walden is located off Highway 14 in Jackson County.  The town of a little over 1,000 has two gas stations, a Family Dollar, a handful of restaurants, a beautiful courthouse, an interesting museum, and many motel type places to stay. 

It sits on a glacial plain called North Park, also known as the moose viewing capital of Colorado.  Nearly 80% of the surrounding land is public.  As a result, hiking, hunting, and fishing opportunities abound.

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Things to Do in Twin Lakes

History of Twin Lakes

Twin Lakes was settled in 1865 and was then called Dayton.  It became an important transportation town between Leadville and Aspen, where silver and gold were discovered, and a rough toll road was established over Independence Pass.

 Additionally, a hotel was constructed on the south shores of the natural Twin Lakes, now dammed to augment its water storage.  The hotel only lasted 25 years, but at the time Interlaken was known for its deluxe accommodations and Twin Lakes was described as the most charming summer mountain resort in Colorado.

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Top Things to Do in Crested Butte

History of Crested Butte

Crested Butte, once home to the Ute Indians, became a thriving coal mining town in the 1870s.  The coal mining survived many setbacks and lasted until 1952.  Thereafter, less industries relied on coal and the railroad removed its tracks.  Consequently, Crested Butte dwindled in size until 1958.

In such year, Texan Hubert Winston Smith established the Law Science Academy, an organization which provided educational programs for doctors, lawyers, and their families during the summer.  It resulted in the first large attraction of tourists.

Seven years later, in 1960, Dick Eflin and Fred Rice opened a ski area and added Colorado’s first gondola a few years later.  Today, Crested Butte continues to be a popular ski destination. 

Located at 8,885 feet near the Gunnison National Forest and Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness Area, Crested Butte also offers plenty of summer time activities.  Below are some things to in Crested Butte.

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wildflower hike in Crested Butte

Wildflower Hikes in Crested Butte

There are so many wildflower hikes in Crested Butte.  In fact, you don’t even need to hike in mid-July to see amazing wildflowers as they line Washington Gulch Road, Gothic Road, and FS 317.  It would be easy just to take a scenic drive to see the wildflowers in Crested Butte.  Personally, however, one of my favorite pastimes is hiking through wildflowers, and Crested Butte is one of the best places to do this.  There is a reason why Crested Butte calls itself the wildflower capital of Colorado.

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Happy Hiking: Green Lake Trail

After ten days of wildflower hikes in Crested Butte, I changed it up a bit and hiked to Green Lake.  I’m not exactly sure about how I’d rate the 8.5-mile Green Lake Trail.  If I were just walking the second half, I’d probably give it five stars.  If I were just walking the first half, I’d probably give it 1 star.  I suppose that averages out to three stars, but I wouldn’t want anyone to miss Green Lake.

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wildflowers on hasley basin loop near crested butte

Happy Hiking: Hasley Basin Loop

With as many hikes as I’ve been doing in Crested Butte, I would normally try to condense them into a few blogs.  But the wildflowers in Crested Butte during mid-July are simply remarkable.  It’s hard enough to condense my daily barrage of photos just down to ten.  As a result, each hike warrants its own post. Today, Hasley Basin Loop gets the honors.

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wildflowers on judd falls trail in crested butte

Happy Hiking: Judd Falls Trail

After a handful of challenging hikes in Crested Butte during the Wildflower Festival in mid-July, I picked an easy one Friday, Judd Falls Trail. This short, out-and-back 2.2-mile hike was perfect to get Annie a little exercise before I completed my “on the road” chores such as laundry, grocery shopping, cleaning VANgo and the like.

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John Frazer Cabin

Happy Hiking: John Frazer Cabin

Today I hiked to John Frazer Cabin via Blue Grouse and Mule Deer Trails in Golden Gate Canyon State Park.  The park is located 35 miles west of Denver, is very large, and has several entrances.  A day pass to a Colorado State Park costs $10 and may be purchased at a variety of kiosks with exact change.  An affixed annual pass to all Colorado State Parks costs $80 while a hang tag is $120.  It seems a little pricy, but the trails are well marked and well maintained.

Getting There

The parking area to Blue Grouse Trail is located off Golden Gate Canyon Road and does not include a kiosk for paying, so be sure to plan for this in another location.  The nearby Mountain Base Road to Reverend’s Ridge Campground where there is a pay station was closed for the winter.  As a result, it might be best to stop in at the Visitor Center before continuing to the trailhead. The AllTrails app provides perfect directions to the trailhead, and the Colorado State Park website provides good park maps.

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