Browns Canyon National Monument Arkansas River rafting

Buena Vista essentially translates to “good view” in Spanish, and it’s not hard to see how the charming town of Buena Vista, Colorado got its name. Nestled at the base of the Continental Divide, Buena Vista not only has incredible views of the Rocky Mountains, you can also soak in the views of the incredible peaks that soar 14,000 feet above sea level.

There are a plethora of things that you can do at Buena Vista from white-water rafting to hiking and more. Whether you’re looking for something adventurous, or something that’s a little more relaxing, you’re sure to be able to cross a couple things off your bucket list by visiting Buena Vista, Colorado.

Go on a River Rafting Adventure

Family white water rafting browns canyon colorado

While there are plenty of rafting routes to choose from, you wouldn’t want to miss rafting on the Arkansas River. It’s not only home to the Browns Canyon National Monument, it also boasts incredible views of the natural habitat. As you river raft along the river, spot the exceptional wildlife and enjoy some of the best white water. If it’s your first time embarking on a river rafting adventure, opt for a half-day tour to ease into things a little more and hop on a mild and scenic family float. Alternatively, if you’re an adrenaline junkie, choose an exhilarating river rafting adventure that you’re sure to remember for years to come.

If you’re ready to dive right into whitewater rafting, opt for a full day adventure. With so many trip options, you’ll be spoilt for choice and can even customize your whitewater rafting adventure to your own needs. From the beginners to the advanced, there’s bound to be something for everyone. These full day trips also include a riverside break for lunch, so you won’t go hungry!

Try Inflatable Kayaking

buena vista colorado kayaking arkansas river

Inflatable kayaking is also known as Duckying, and is an experience that you wouldn’t want to miss. If you’re a beginner, you won’t have to worry as all trips on the kayak include instruction with a certified guide who will teach you the basics, and show you the ropes.

Adventures can be tailored to your group, and you’re more than welcome to pick a river section based on everyone’s abilities. Beginners may want to start off with a more relaxing float trip, while advanced kayakers can go ahead with an expert trip. You won’t have to worry as the duckies are easy to maneuver, and sitting on a duck while paddling down the Arkansas River gives you some pretty amazing vantage points, and is a fantastic adventure for the whole family.

Zip Down the Majestic Rocky Mountains of Colorado  

This activity is great for adrenaline junkies as you’ll not only get to soar over a rugged canyon, you’ll also get to soak in the majestic views of the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. You’ll zip down cables, and reach exhilarating speeds as you soar over the canyon floor, and marvel at these 300 million year old colourful rocky cliffs.

You’ll also be taking short hikes between the platforms, and get to learn more about the area’s rich past from the lime kiln ruins to the abandoned silver mine shaft. While ziplining is a huge highlight of the tour, you’ll also get to check out the Eagle’s Nest Deck, Pack Rat Penthouse and more. If you’re looking to make this a full day of adventure, start your day by pairing this with rafting Colorado’s famous Brown Canyons in the morning.

Explore Colorado’s Peaks on 4×4 Offroad

 While you’re visiting Buena Vista Colorado, hop on a BV Jeep or ATV for an exhilarating experience. You’ll get to drive these vehicles on your own – complete with a map along with a short introduction into the backroads of Buena Vista. From there, it’s up to you what you’d like to do. Choose to explore historic ghost towns, take in the local wildlife, ride the continental divide and more.

If you’d like to add a touch more to your off roading adventure, add on a white water rafting trip in the morning before drying off on your Colorado ATV vehicle and exploring the old mining roads.

Soak in the Views of the Collegiate Peaks Scenic and Historic Byway

Stretching for 57 miles through the Collegiate Peaks wilderness area is the historic byway. You’ll not only get to admire a range of mountains from Mount Princeton to Mount Yale and more, the byway will also take you down a plethora of fascinating historical sites from the Hutchinson Ranch to the Old Nathrop Schoolhouse.

As you drive down this byway, you can choose to immerse in a range of activities from hiking, fishing on the Aransas River and more. While the byway may only be 57 miles, you’ll want to give yourself at least two hours of driving time to enjoy the picturesque sights.

Soak in a Hot Spring

Unbeknownst to most, there are plenty of hot springs in Buena Vista, Colorado. Cottonwood hot springs is only 5.5 miles away from Buena Vista, and has a geothermally heated pools filled with therapeutic mineral water. After soaking in a hot spring, you can also head to the dry sauna. Cottonwood hot springs is open 365 days a year, and there are also accommodation options available at the hot springs from a campsite to hotel rooms and more.

Another hot spring located not too far away is the Mount Princeton Hot Springs. It’s an upscale hotel that has rejuvenating thermal pools. The temperature in the pools are also lukewarm, and there’s even a historical bathhouse built in 1867, along with a large pool fitted with a 400-foot waterslide. This particular hot spring is adults only, and visitors can also use the sauna and steam room.

Check out the Buena Vista Heritage Museum

Situated within the old Chaffee County courthouse is the Buena Vista Heritage Museum It’s run by a non-profit organization and helps in preserving the area’s history. There are plenty of interesting exhibits within the Buena Vista Heritage Museum from an interactive classroom to a display of old wedding gowns that were donated by the locals and more.

There’s even a working model of the railroad that depicts 130 miles of the Arakansas River Valley. If you happen to be in the area during the summer season, you’ll also get to enjoy special events from wine tastings to historical theatre productions

We’re just touching the tip of the iceberg on the number of things that you can do in Buena Vista, Colorado. There are plenty of other things to discover from picturesque hikes, historic events to delicious foods and more.  Need some help in deciding where to stay? Glamping in Colorado is a good option. You’ll wake up to gorgeous views of the mountains, and sleep to a night sky full of twinkling stars.

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