Buena Vista, Colorado offers an abundance of options for both outdoor adventurers and travelers alike. Situated in the Rocky Mountains, Buena Vista provides a wide range of activities to suit all tastes and abilities.

In this blog post, we will uncover the many outdoor activities available in Buena Vista, Colorado. From thrilling whitewater rafting adventures at the renowned Arkansas River Park to exploring picturesque trails on foot or horseback through stunning landscapes – there’s something for everyone here.

As you read on, you’ll also discover exciting mountain biking terrain and off-roading options during warmer months. Pack your bags and prepare for a remarkable excursion in the gorgeous Buena Vista area!

Table of Contents:

things to do in buena vista colorado

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Whitewater Rafting and River Park Adventures

Looking for an adrenaline rush? Head to Buena Vista, Colorado, where you can experience some of the best whitewater rafting in Central Colorado. The Arkansas River offers thrilling rapids, and Buena Vista Whitewater Park has added artificial obstacles to make it even more exciting. But that’s not all – the park also offers hiking, mountain biking, fishing, and rock climbing.

Artificial Obstacles for Thrilling Rapids

The Arkansas River is already known for its exciting rapids, but Buena Vista Whitewater Park has taken it up a notch with artificial features that cater to all skill levels. For all rafting abilities, Buena Vista Whitewater Park provides an exciting test of skill.

Dirt-Bike Park for Off-Road Fun

Prefer to stay on land? Check out Buena Vista’s dirt-bike park, where you can test your skills on challenging terrain while enjoying stunning views of the surrounding mountains.

Activities at Buena Vista River Park

  • Hiking: Take a scenic hike through the park’s lush forests and alongside sparkling streams.
  • Mountain Biking: Hit the park’s extensive network of mountain biking trails, suitable for all levels of experience.
  • Fishing: Cast a line in the Arkansas River and try your luck at catching trout or other local fish species.
  • Rock Climbing Tours: Experience breathtaking views from new heights with guided rock climbing tours offered by Noah’s Ark Colorado Rafting & Aerial Adventure Park.

Buena Vista River Park also hosts various events throughout the year, such as concerts and festivals. Take the plunge and explore the wonders of nature with Noah’s Ark Colorado Rafting & Aerial Adventure Park. Don’t miss out on this gem in the Upper Arkansas River Valley.

things to do in buena vista colorado

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Exploring Trails Around Buena Vista

Encompassed by the majestic Rocky Mountains, Buena Vista is an ideal destination for those eager to traverse the trails in and around this captivating small town. No matter your level of experience, this beautiful area in Central Colorado offers a variety of outdoor activities for everyone to enjoy.

Midland Hill Trail

From the Buena Vista Depot, Midland Hill Trail offers an invigorating 4-mile round trip hike that culminates in stunning views of downtown Buena Vista and its surrounding mountains. This moderately challenging 4-mile round trip hike starts near the historic Buena Vista Depot and takes you through beautiful aspen groves before reaching the summit at Midland Hill. From here, enjoy breathtaking vistas of Chaffee County and beyond.

Barbara Whipple Loop

A popular destination among locals and visitors alike is the Barbara Whipple Loop, named after a renowned local artist. Located within walking distance from downtown Buena Vista, this easy-to-moderate 3-mile loop trail offers stunning views of both the Arkansas River Valley and Collegiate Peaks while meandering through pinon-juniper woodlands. It’s perfect for families with young children or those wanting a shorter hike close to town amenities like restaurants or RV parks.

Half Gentleman’s Loop

The more adventurous may want to tackle Half Gentleman’s Loop – a moderate-to-difficult 11-mile trek that leads up into Browns Canyon National Monument towards Harvard Lakes before looping back down through Collegiate Peaks Overlook. The trail also offers breathtaking views of Saint Elmo, one of Colorado’s most well-preserved ghost towns, as hikers traverse the diverse landscape of Browns Canyon National Monument.

Additional Trails Worth Exploring

  • Fistful of Dollars Trail: A challenging 5-mile loop that takes you through beautiful aspen groves and meadows with stunning views of Mount Princeton and other surrounding peaks.
  • Deerhammer Distillery Route: An easy-to-moderate hike near Beaver Falls Bridge, perfect for those looking to combine their love for nature with a visit to a local distillery after exploring the great outdoors.

Buena Vista is truly an outdoor lover’s paradise, offering countless opportunities for hikers and trail runners alike. With its abundance of trails catering to all skill levels, it’s no wonder this charming town nestled in the heart of the Rocky Mountains has become such a popular destination among outdoor adventurers seeking unforgettable experiences amidst breathtaking natural beauty. So pack your hiking boots, grab your camera, and get ready to discover some amazing trails around Buena Vista.

Key Takeaway: 

The article highlights some of the best trails to explore in Buena Vista, Colorado. From easy-to-moderate hikes like Barbara Whipple Loop and Deerhammer Distillery Route to more challenging treks such as Half Gentleman’s Loop and Fistful of Dollars Trail, there is something for every outdoor enthusiast looking to discover the natural beauty of this charming town nestled in the heart of Rocky Mountains.

things to do in buena vista colorado

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Horseback Riding Through Scenic Landscapes

Experience the breathtaking beauty of Buena Vista and its surrounding mountains by horseback. With a variety of designated horse trails available, riders can immerse themselves in stunning landscapes while enjoying a unique outdoor adventure. Whether you’re an experienced equestrian or new to riding, these scenic trails offer unforgettable experiences for everyone.

Cottonwood Pass Turret Trail

The Cottonwood Pass Turret Trail is a popular destination for horseback riding enthusiasts visiting Buena Vista. This moderate trail takes riders through lush forests, open meadows, and along picturesque creeks as they traverse Cottonwood Pass. The journey culminates with incredible views of the Collegiate Peaks and Chaffee County from atop Cottonwood Lake Dam.

Horn Fork Basin Route

The Horn Fork Basin Route, located near Mount Princeton Hot Springs Resort in Central Colorado’s Upper Arkansas River Valley, is another fantastic option for horse lovers. This challenging yet rewarding route offers panoramic views of Saint Elmo ghost town and Rocky Mountains’ towering peaks as it winds through dense forests, colorful wildflower fields, and crystal-clear streams.

Many local outfitters like Mount Princeton Riding Stable provide guided tours on well-trained horses, ensuring a safe and enjoyable ride for all skill levels. For those who prefer to bring their own horse or rent one from a nearby stable, Buena Vista offers several RV parks and campgrounds with equestrian-friendly facilities. These accommodations allow riders to explore the area’s vast network of trails at their leisure while enjoying the comforts of home in between rides.

Tips for Horseback Riding in Buena Vista

  • When out on the trails, make sure to don protective items such as headgear, footwear and trousers.
  • Check trail conditions before heading out – some routes may be closed due to weather or maintenance work.
  • Pack plenty of water and snacks for your journey, especially on longer rides through remote areas.
  • Respect local wildlife by keeping a safe distance and never feeding them – this includes birds.
  • If you’re new to horseback riding or unsure about tackling certain trails alone, consider joining a guided tour led by experienced professionals who can help ensure your safety while providing valuable insights into the region’s history and natural beauty.

Saddle up during your visit to Buena Vista and explore the surrounding mountains up close. These unforgettable adventures await just outside this small town’s charming streets. So, whether you choose Cottonwood Pass Turret Trail, Horn Fork Basin Route, or another scenic route within Chaffee County limits, outdoor enthusiasts’ dreams are waiting around every bend.

Key Takeaway: 

Explore the breathtaking beauty of Buena Vista and its surrounding mountains by horseback riding through scenic landscapes. Choose from a variety of designated horse trails like Cottonwood Pass Turret Trail or Horn Fork Basin Route, which offer unforgettable experiences for riders of all skill levels. Remember to wear appropriate safety gear, check trail conditions before heading out, pack plenty of water and snacks, respect local wildlife, and consider joining a guided tour led by experienced professionals for an enjoyable ride while exploring the area’s vast network of trails at your leisure.

things to do in buena vista colorado

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Mountain Biking Terrain and Off-Roading Options in Warmer Months

When the weather heats up, downtown Buena Vista becomes a haven for outdoor enthusiasts looking to explore the diverse terrain of central Colorado. One popular activity during this time is road cycling, with many cyclists flocking to the area’s scenic routes and challenging climbs. For those seeking an even greater challenge, consider tackling Cottonwood Pass on a fat bike or delving into one of Buena Vista’s numerous off-roading options.

BV Jeeps Mountain Adventure Rentals offers various vehicles such as dirt bikes, four-wheelers, and jeeps for rent so you can embark on your own thrilling journey through the surrounding mountains. During winter months, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing are popular ways to traverse these beautiful landscapes while guided snowmobile tours are available seasonally.

Fat Biking Up Cottonwood Pass

Cottonwood Pass is known for its steep inclines and stunning views of both Chaffee County and Gunnison County in Colorado. Fat biking up this pass will test your endurance but reward you with breathtaking vistas at every turn. Be prepared for changing weather conditions as you ascend higher into the Rocky Mountains by packing appropriate gear like extra layers and plenty of water.

Dirt Bike Routes Around Buena Vista

  • Saint Elmo: This historic ghost town provides an exciting backdrop for dirt bikers eager to explore its rugged trails amidst remnants from Colorado’s mining past.
  • Browns Canyon National Monument: Home to incredible geological formations like granite cliffs and colorful rock outcroppings, Browns Canyon offers a variety of dirt bike routes for riders of all skill levels.
  • Fourmile Recreation Area: Located just north of Buena Vista, this area boasts miles upon miles of off-road trails perfect for both dirt bikes and ATVs. Experience the awe-inspiring scenery of the Rocky Mountains while you traverse through its midst on your dirt bike or ATV.

Jeep Routes and Off-Roading Adventures

For those who prefer the thrill of four-wheeling, Buena Vista offers a variety of jeep routes to explore. Some popular destinations include Tin Cup Pass, Hancock Pass, and Taylor Park Reservoir. For those who prefer guided tours or need assistance with vehicle rentals, companies like BV Jeeps Mountain Adventure Rentals can help make your off-roading dreams come true.

In summary, whether you’re an avid cyclist looking to conquer Cottonwood Pass on a fat bike or an adrenaline junkie eager to explore the vast array of off-roading options available in central Colorado’s picturesque landscape, visiting Buena Vista during warmer months will provide endless opportunities for outdoor adventures that cater to every level of experience and interest. So pack up your gear and head out into the great outdoors.

Key Takeaway: 

During warmer months, Buena Vista in Colorado offers a plethora of outdoor activities such as road cycling, fat biking up Cottonwood Pass, dirt bike routes around Saint Elmo and Fourmile Recreation Area, jeep routes to Tin Cup Pass and Hancock Pass. BV Jeeps Mountain Adventure Rentals offer guided tours or vehicle rentals for those who need assistance with off-roading adventures.

FAQs in Relation to Things to Do in Buena Vista Colorado

What makes Buena Vista, Colorado a great place to visit?

Buena Vista, Colorado is a great place to visit for outdoor enthusiasts with its stunning mountain views, popular whitewater rafting destinations, and numerous outdoor activities such as hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding. Visitors can also relax in the hot springs or explore unique local attractions like the Buena Vista Heritage Museum.

Fun facts about Buena Vista, Colorado

  • The town’s name means “good view” in Spanish.
  • Buena Vista has over 300 days of sunshine per year.
  • Browns Canyon National Monument is located in Buena Vista and is a popular destination for hikers and wildlife enthusiasts.

Is it worth living in Buena Vista, Colorado?

Living in Buena Vista offers access to abundant recreational opportunities surrounded by picturesque landscapes and a tight-knit community feel with friendly locals who enjoy small-town living while still having modern amenities nearby. However, housing costs can be higher than average due to its popularity among tourists and retirees alike.

What are some popular attractions in Buena Vista, Colorado?

Some popular attractions in Buena Vista include the Buena Vista Whitewater Park, Buena Vista Heritage Museum, Buena Vista Roastery Cafe, Buena Vista Depot, and BV Jeeps Mountain Adventure Rentals. Visitors can also explore the surrounding mountains, go on rafting tours, or rent ATVs for outdoor adventures.

What are some events in Buena Vista, Colorado?

Buena Vista hosts several events throughout the year, including the Collegiate Peaks Scenic and Historic Byway drive, the Comanche Drive-In Theatre, and the Barbara Whipple Trail. Memorial Day and Labor Day weekends are also popular times to visit for outdoor activities and festivals.

Where can I stay in Buena Vista, Colorado?

There are several options for accommodations in Buena Vista, including RV parks, the Surf Hotel, and the Cottonwood Hot Springs Inn. Visitors can also find vacation rentals and campsites for a more immersive outdoor experience.


Looking for adventure in Buena Vista, Colorado? Look no further than the Arkansas River, where you can brave the rapids on a whitewater rafting trip or hit the dirt-bike park for some off-road fun.

Prefer to stay on land? Saddle up and explore the scenic Cottonwood Pass Turret Trail or Horn Fork Basin Route on horseback, or hit the trails on a mountain bike during the warmer months.