Buena Vista, Colorado
Home of Gold Rush Days

Buena Vista is located at the foot of the Continental Divide north of junction U.S. Hwy 24 & U.S. Hwy 285. The Arkansas River flows along the eastern edge of the town. Buena Vista's elevation is 7,954 feet. Nearest commercial airports are Aspen, Denver International, and Colorado Springs.

Buena Vista is one of the main gateways to recreation in the 1,109,782 acre San Isabel National Forest and the 148-mile long Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area. Buena Vista is often referred to as the "Whitewater Capital of Colorado". 

The town was founded in 1879; its name means "beautiful view". The Collegiate Range, mounts Yale, Harvard and Princeton, all over 14,000 feet in elevation, form a backdrop for this community.


Looking west on Main Street in Buena Vista, Colorado

Buena Vista Colorado Attractions

Historic District
Buena Vista incorporated in 1879 and one year later the Denver & Rio Grande Railroad and the Denver, South Park & Pacific railroads had laid tracks to town. In 1887, a third railroad, the Colorado Midland was also providing service. Many of the towns buildings date back to this era, the 1880s and 1890s. A walking tour of the town will bring this history to life.

Art Galleries
Buena Vista has a growing art community, visitors will find galleries exhibiting the works of local artists, sculptors, jewelers, potters, and goldsmiths. Art and craft shopping is a great way to spend an afternoon in historic Buena Vista.

Buena Vista Heritage Museum
The Heritage Museum, located in the old county courthouse, depicts the town's 120 years of history and houses a turn of the century model railroad exhibit that features the historic Midland, Rio Grande and South Park Railroads. The Chaffee County Council of the Arts uses the upper floor for traveling art shows.

Mt. Princeton Hot Springs
Mt. Princeton Hot Springs Resort on CR 162 south of Buena Vista features an outdoor soaking pool, lap pool, and bath house. Another hot springs near the town is Cottonwood Hot Springs on CR 306 west of Buena Vista, with stone soaking pools, private spas, sauna, and cold plunge.

Collegiate Peaks Scenic Overlook
Collegiate Peaks scenic overlook is just east of town. It provides one of the most spectacular views in the Rockies. A large panoramic display identifies the 14,000 foot peaks and other points of interest across the valley.

Ghost Towns & Mining Camps
Visits to nearby ghost towns and mining camps are a top priority for vacationers. The region has numerous abandoned ghost towns, mining camps, and mountain homesteads, remnants of the original Colorado settlers, who came to the region to mine gold and silver. These sites are often featured on jeep tours offered by local guides.

Gold Rush Days
This celebration of the regions mining history includes burro races, vendors, western singers and dancers, gunfighters, gold panning, variety show, etc. Food and Fun for all! Even a good old pancake breakfast.

San Isabel National Forests
Buena Vista is minutes from the San Isabel National Forest. The forest includes scenic and recreational features within its 1,109,782 acres. The recreation opportunities in the forest are countless. Visitors can visit ghost towns or backpack on more than 700 miles of trails. Camping, Fishing, hiking, horseback riding, mountain biking, wildlife viewing, and snowshoeing are only a few of the activities available. Horseback, snowmobile, mountain biking, jeep, and other tours are available from local vendors and outfitters.

Arkansas Headwaters State Recreation Area
The Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Areas is one of the nation's most unusual recreation areas, stretching for 148 miles along one of the West's premier recreation rivers, the Arkansas. From its northern boundary below the fabled mining town of Leadville to the Pueblo Reservoir, the area is a recreation paradise. Opportunities abound for fishing, rafting, kayaking, picnicking, wildlife watching, hiking, camping, mountain climbing and sightseeing among deep canyons, broad valleys, and towering mountains. Buena Vista is home base for many river rafting outfitters operating in the recreation area. They offer a wide variety of rafting, kayaking, and float fishing trips on the Arkansas River

The Buena Vista Chamber of Commerce serves the town of Buena Vista and surrounding area. They are an excellent source for information regarding the community and will provide assistance in planning your visit to the area.