Salida Colorado seems to be a favorite top choice for living, retiring, and recreating. It has been the favorite of several magazines and newspapers, from the New York Times ("The Outdoors Life With No Attitude," December 2008) to the U.S. News and World Report Magazine ("one of the top ten affordable retirement communities in the US"). In late 2008, Diversion Magazine called Salida "one of the 10 best places you've never heard of," an "off-the-radar" destination with lots to offer but without the Colorado resort prices. A few years earlier, in 2004, Outside Magazine called it a "sweetly unpretentious town" and one of 20 "Dream Towns + Adventure Hideouts (& Sweet Land Deals)." Additionally, this town of about 5500 residents was included in the guidebook America's 100 Best Small Art Towns.
Located in central Colorado in the Upper Arkansas River Valley, Salida embodies the Colorado lifestyle experience. It is an outdoors paradise with year-round activities that include an almost complete A-to-Z adventure list: archery, biking, camping, climbing, fishing, four-wheeling, golfing, hiking, hunting, kayaking, picnicking, rockhounding, skateboarding, skiing, snowboarding, snowmobiling, and a world-class zipline tour.
Salida's central Colorado location is both a destination and a jump off to other places. Beyond the downtown exists an outdoors backyard that is rich in wildlife and resources. A short drive in just about any direction will place you in mountains that fold into steep canyons, accented by crystalline waters and unspoiled landscapes. Fierce beauty, a mild climate, and a region steeped in folklore and outdoor adventures await you.
Despite its "Heart of the Rockies" location, the region has surprisingly mild periods of weather since harsh storms arriving from the west are tempered by the mountain ranges along Continental Divide. This phenomenon has given rise to the tag the "Banana Belt."
The History of Salida and the surrounding area is a rich mix of many influences. The area was originally settled by the Ute Indians, for whom many of the local mountain peaks are named. Chaffee County was established in 1879 and named for Jerome Chaffee, a United States Senator and local investor. For information of the region's mining, railroad, history and heritage, check out our Salida History pages.