Thursday, May 26, 2016

Explore this area with these day trips


Upper Arkansas River Valley: Welcome to the Arkansas River Headwaters, one of the nation's premier recreation areas. It is a treasure trove of things to do. Stretching for 148 miles along the Arkansas River, the area offers abundant and outstanding opportunities for fishing, rafting, kayaking, picnicking, hiking, camping, mountain biking and off road adventures with ATV's or Jeeps. There is sightseeing among deep canyons, broad valleys and towering mountain peaks. The towns of Leadville, Buena Vista, Poncha Springs, Salida, Canon City, Florence and Pueblo along with Cripple Creek, and Florissant offer fine dining, lodging and lots of western atmosphere. There are many historical areas and fun activities to explore.

Literature is available in the office. More detailed information can be obtained at the Chamber of Commerce offices in the towns along the river.

  1. Hiking/biking: The Rainbow Trail, access at Hayden Creek. Originally built to give forest firefighters access to the Sangre de Cristo mountains, it contours along the east side of the range from just south of Music Pass, around the north end to US Hwy 285 just north of Poncha Springs and south past Westcliffe. There are a number of access points along the route. Hayden Creep is the closest to Cotopaxi KOA. Open to hiking, horses, mountain bikes. Some parts of the trail are open to 4 wheel drive vehicles and dirtbikes. Maps available in the office.
  2. Rafting:
Arkansas River Tours: Half, full and multi day trips can be scheduled on the Arkansas River and through the Royal Gorge according to your interest and skill level. Transportation available. 800-321-4352,    
Rock-n-Row: Trips near Cotopaxi, down through Sheep's Canyon and through the Royal Gorge. Can also combine rafting with rock climbing and horseback riding and overnight trips.  719-942-4125.
  1. Horseback Riding: Cottonwood Stables: (also Rock-n-Row) located in Coaldale of Hwy 50. Guided hourly, half day and evening steak horseback rides. Adventure combos.  719-942-4125.
  2. ATV tours: All Season Adventures: Ride on local ATV trails. Guided tours and rentals available. Located in Salida on Hwy 50. 719-530-0651.
  3. Jeep Rentals: Rocky Mountain Jeep Rentals: Located at Anderson Motors, Hwy 50 in Salida. 719-539-3088. cell: 719-221-0757.
  4. Riverside Park and Historic Downtown Salida: On the banks of the Arkansas River at the foot of F Street. Riverwalk, picnic areas, historic district with in a short walking distance.
  5. Salida Hot Springs: A year round indoor facility offers aquatic recreation and relaxation in a natural, hot mineral springs pool. Located in Centennial Park on Hwy 50. Hours and rates vary so call 719-539-6738 for more information,
  6. Monarch Crest Tram Ride: Ride a tram to the top of the Continental Divide at over 12,000 ft! Located at the top of Monarch Pass, 20 miles west of Salida. Open Daily from 8:30 am to 5:30 pm, weather Permitting, May 15 - September 15. Gift shop and snack bar. 719-539-4091 for rates.

  1. St Elmo: Historic mining ghost town. All of the buildings are privately owned and some are still occupied. Take Hwy 285 north from Poncha Springs towards Nathrop, turn left onto CR 162. ATV and jeep rentals at the General Store,
  2. Mount Princeton Hot Springs : Located on the same road as St. Elmo (County Road 162) 719-395-2447, .
  3. Horseback Riding: Mt Princeton Stables:  Located on the same road as St. Elmo. 14582 CR 162.
  1. Browns Canyon Aerial Adventure Park and River Rafting: Also rock climbing and backpacking. Located north of Nathrop at 23910 US Hwy 285 south, 719-395-2158,  
  2. Cottonwood Hot Springs: Located just minutes west of Buena Vista. Take Hwy 285 north out from Salida to Buena Vista. Turn left onto Cottonwood Pass Road. Mineral hot springs in natural stone pools. 8 am – midnight, 365 days a year. Motel and spa. 719-395-6434,
  3. Leadville: Victorian mining town north of Buena Vista on Hwy 24 full of history and fun events,

  1. Bishop's Castle: Always open and always free (Donations accepted) Built entirely by one man with the support of God and a loving family. Construction began in 1969 and has been continuous process ever since. Situated on Hwy 165, about 50 miles south of the KOA. 719-485-3040 for information and directions,
  2. Great Sand Dunes National Park: America's tallest sand dunes rise 700 feet above the floor of the San Luis Valley, at the foot of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. Located on State Hwy 150, 34 miles west of Alamosa in Mosca, CO, about 85 miles from the Cotopaxi KOA. Camping and hiking are available. 719-378-6300,
  3. Colorado Gators Reptile Park: A unique and amazing sanctuary for alligators and unwanted exotic pets. They have 5 Albino Alligators, Alligators, Tortoises, Geckos, Pythons and many more. Located in Mosca, CO near Great Sand Dunes National Park. 719-378-2612, for directions, hours and rates.

  1. ATV TOURS: Play Dirty: just 5 miles east on Hwy 50 at Texas Creek. Guided tours for all ages. Open year round, weather permitting. Transportation from here available. 719-275-7373,
  2. Rafting:
Journeyquest: just 5 miles east on Hwy 50 at Texas Creek. Raft trips through Big Horn Sheep Canyon and the Royal Gorge, inflatible kayak trips, overnight trips and combo adventures. 888-623-7939,
Echo Canyon River Expeditions: Located on Hwy 50, east of the Royal Gorge. 888-755-3246,
  1. Royal Gorge: YOU WON'T BELIEVE YOUR EYES! Rebuilt and re-imagined after the devastating wildfire in 2013, its better than ever. It is the home of the world's highest suspension bridge. Admission price includes everything except the Skycoaster and Zip Rider. On Hwy 50, 20 miles east of Cotopaxi. 719-275-7507, .  
  2. Royal Gorge Heli Tours:One of the most spectacular helicopter rides in the US. Walk-in hours 10am-6pm. Reservations available outside of walk-in hours. 719-276-9038,
  3. Horseback riding: Royal Gorge Stables. Trail rides as well as a sunset ride. 719-275-1799, .
  4. Royal Gorge Dinosaur Experience: Dinasaur museum, animatronic exploration park, adult and childrens ropes course. M-F 10-6, Sat 9-6, Sun 12-6. 800-209-0062
  5. Segway Tours: iLean Ride Co. Located next to the visitor center/cafe on the way to the Royal Gorge on CR 3A. 719-315-4044,  

  1. Gold Belt Byway Tour: The National Back Country Byway leads the adventurous traveler through some of the most scenic and historically significant features in Colorado. The tour retraces three historic travel routes that connect Canon City and Florence to the mountain mining communities of Cripple Creek and Victor.
  2. Cripple Creek: Visit this historic mining district complete with casinos, historic buildings, a jail museum, a house of ill repute museum, train rides and mine tours,
  3. Cripple creek Heritage Center: Interactive and interpretive center where you can explore the past and today. 719-689-3315,
  4. Molly Kathleen Gold Mine: Located in Cripple Creek. 719-689-2465,
  5. Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument: A volcanic eruption 34 million years ago, transformed everything in its path into 60,000 fossilized specimens. Located north of Cripple Creek,15807 Teller County Road 1. 719-748-3253,  

  1. Museum of Colorado Prisons: Catch a glimpse of prison life gone by. 32 cells on the MP3 audio tour,  filled with exhibits and life sized models, each with a story to tell.  Located at 201 N 1st St. 719-269-3015,
  2. Royal Gorge Regional Museum and History Center : Reading room, firearms exhibit, dinosaur collection, art gallery and 1860 log cabin tour. Call 719-269-9036 for hours and information,
  3. RiverWalk: Easy walking along the Arkansas River, up to 6 miles, through forests and wetlands. There are trailheads at Sell Av just off 9th St to the west and off Ash Street to the east.
  4. Skyline Drive: A one way loop drive to an overview of the city and countryside. Dinosaur tracks exposed on the ridge. Pull-offs with short walks. North off of Hwy 50, west of Canon City
  5. Historic Royal Gorge Railroad: The best way to see the Gorge. The train takes you along the Arkansas River, 1000 feet below the rim of the Royal Gorge. Call 719-276-4000, or visit for rates, times and information.  
  6. Historic Downtown district: Historic buildings and unique shops
  7. The Winery at Holy Cross Abbey: Located on the grounds of the historic Holy Cross Abbey on Hwy 50. Tasting room and gift shop.  719-276-5191,


  1. Cheyenne Mountain Zoo: Unforgettable scenery at the only mountainside zoo in the US with over 500 animals. 719-475-9555,
  2. Seven Falls: Cascades down 181 feet with breathtaking views. West of Colorado Springs. 719-632-0765,
  3. Garden of the Gods: A free city park with world famous 300 million year old red sandstone formations. 719-634-6666,
  4. Pikes Peak: Drive the highway to the top of Pikes Peak, 14,115 feet. Call 719-385-7325 for hours and prices,
  5. Pikes Peak Cog Railway: Ride the train to the top of Pikes Peak. Reservations required. Call 719-685-5401, 515 Ruxton Av.,  Manitou Springs
  6. Santa's Workshop North Pole:  Family theme park . Meet Santa and his Elves. 719-684-9342,
  7. Manitou Cliff Dwellings: Get a glimpse into the past. See more than 40 rooms including a ceremonial kiva and lookout tower. 719-685-5242,
  8. Cave of the Winds:  Tour this unique and amazing underground cave. There are also rides and activities. 719-685-5444,

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Summer events in Canon City, Salida and Westcliffe

CANON CITY (  for more information )

19    Shrine Circus, 4:30 & 7 pm
21    Flashback On Main Street. Michael Martin Murphy, 5 - 6:30 pm; Flash Cadillac, 7-10:30 pm. Gates open at 3 719-371-1202
21 - 22 Highway 50 Yard sale in Depot Park and along Highway 50
21    Car Show at Holy Cross Abbey plus craft show, swap meet and flea market. Flash Cadillac 7:30 pm
28 - 30 Memorial Day Weekend: Canon City Balloon Classic plus extra activities
28 Murder Mystery Train, 719-276-4000 for info
29 Napa Valley Wine Dinner Train,  719-276-4000 for info

** Farmers Market every Tuesday in Veterans Park ( June 7,14, 21, 28) 8 am - 1 pm, 719-783-2470
3 - 5 Holy Smoke BBQ Showdown at Veterans Park, 10 am - 7 pm
4, 11, 18, 25 Murder Mystery Train, 719-276-4000 for info
5 Park after Dark, concert at the Royal Gorge KELEO, or 888-333-5597
7, 14, 21, 28 Entertainment in the Park, 6:30-8:30 pm at Veteran’s Park, 1st St & Hwy 50. Hot dogs, hamburgers, chips & drinks served by the Chamber of Commerce. (7th), Southern Colorado Community Band;
(14th) Applewood; (21st) Frost Mountain Clan; (28th) EOM BEER GARDEN with Deja Bluz
10-11     Canon City Car Club Show at Centennial Park, 8 am - 4 pm
24 - 25 Royal Gorge Whitewater Festival at Centennial Park, plus extra activities
30 Park after Dark, NITTY GRITTY BIRT BAND, or 888-333-5597

** Farmers Market every Tuesday in Veterans Park (July 5, 12, 19, 26) 8 am - 1 pm, 719-783-2470
2, 9, 16, 23, 30 Murder Mystery Train, 719-276-4000 for info
5, 12, 19, 26 Entertainment in the Park, 6:30-8:30 pm at Veteran’s Park, 1st St & Hwy 50. Hot dogs, hamburgers, chips &
drinks served by the Chamber of Commerce.(5th) Sugarfoot Band; (12th) Lobo Loggins & Friends;
(19th) Headin’ West; (26th) EOM BEER GARDEN with Indigo Way
2 - 4     Celebration at Royal Gorge Park and Bridge, 888-333-5597
16 Park after Dark, BLUE OYSTER CULT, or 888-333-5597
30   Fremont County Fair at the fairgrounds

** Farmers Market every Tuesday in Veterans Park ( Aug 2, 9, 16, 23, 30) 8 am - 1 pm, 719-783-2470
July 30 - 7         Fremont County Fair at the fairgrounds
2, 9, 16, 23, 30 Entertainment in the Park, 6:30-8:30 pm at Veteran’s Park, 1st St & Hwy 50. Hot dogs, hamburgers, chips &
drinks served by the Chamber of Commerce.(2nd) Silvercliff Lights; (9th) Drew Frady, (16th) Geezers;
(23rd) Donovan Lee; (30th) EOM BEER GARDEN AND SUMMERFEST with the Atomic Fireballs
5 Park after Dark, MARK CHESNUTT, or 888-333-5597
6, 13, 20, 27 Murder Mystery Train, 719-276-4000 for info

** Farmers Market every Tuesday in Veterans Park
3 - 5 Labor Day Celebration at the Royal Gorge, 10 am - 7 pm
3, 10, 17, 24 Murder Mystery Train, 719-276-4000 for info
10 - 18 Adventur-FEST at the Royal Gorge, 9 am - 6 pm
Sept 10 - Oct 1 Oktoberfest Train, 12:30 pm, 719-276-4000 for info
17 Park after Dark, BLITZEN TRAPPER, or 888-333-5597
16-18 Pioneer Days in Florence with Parade
24-25 Harvest Festival at the Winery at Holy Cross Abbey

** Farmers Market Oct 4 & 11th in Veterans Park  8 am - 1 pm, 719-783-2470
1 Apple days in Penrose 719-372-3994
1, 8, 15, 22, 29 Murder Mystery Train, 719-276-4000 for info
1 - 16 Oktoberfest Train, 12:30 pm, 719-276-4000 for info
8 - 10 Fremont County Fall Heritage Festiva
22 BOO at the Bridge, 888-333-5597

SALIDA (  for more information)
28 - 30 Paddlefest ( )
28 - 29        Bluegrass on the Arkansas ( )
** Farmers Market every Saturday. F Street and 5th Street, downtown
** Free Concert every Thursday in Riverside Park, 6 - 8 pm
16 - 19 FIBArk Whitewater Festival ( )
24 - 26 Art Walk, downtown ( )
      Quilt Show – Salida High School
** Farmers Market every Saturday. F Street and 5th Street
** Free Concert every Thursday in Riverside Park, 6 - 8 pm
4th of July Celebration, Downtown. Parade, circus, music, food, fireworks in the park
9       Brewers Rendezvous, 70 breweries, tasting and music
8 - 10       Salida Arts Festival, Centennial Park
16 - 17    Salida Riverside Fine Arts Festival, Riverside Park
17       Stand up Paddleboard Sessions ( )
22 - 31 Chaffee County Fair and Rodeo. Fairgrounds ( )
** Farmers Market every Saturday. F Street and 5th Street
** Free Concert every Wedsnesday in Riverside Park, 6 - 8 pm
5 - 6 Angel of Shavano Car Show
6 - 7     Local Artists Studio Tour
** Farmers Market every Saturday. F Street and 5th Street
3                   Salida Wine Festival, Riverside Park
10 - 11 Salida Fiber Festival ( )
15 - 18 Salida Bike Festival ( )

WESTCLIFFE ( ,for more information)
21 Brew with a view and Vino too
28     Memorial Day Parade
    All Aboard Westcliffe Pancake Breakfast and Yard sale
29     Summer in the Park, free concert. Feed Store Park, 2 pm
5           Summer in the Park, free concert. Feed Store Park, 2 pm - 7 pm
10 - 12 Beanstalk Music & Mountain Festival, all day.
11 - 12 Antique Tractor Pull, Silvercliffe Park
17 - 19, 24 - 26 Shakespeare in the Sangres, King Lear or Loves Labor Lost
1 - 3   Shakespeare in the Sangres, King Lear or Loves Labor Lost
2 - 4      Car show, All Aboard Westcliffe Yard sale, pancake breakfast
4      Parade, fireworks
9 Vintage Airstream Rally
7 - 10    High Mountain Hay Fever Bluegrass Festival
11 - 17 Custer County Fair, Fairgrounds
15 - 16 Annual Westcliffe Stampede and Rodeo and parade
17, 24, 31 Summer in the Park, free concert. Feed Store Park, 2 pm - 7pm
5 - 6           Hi Country Weekend Square Dance
7, 14, 21, 28      Summer in the Park, free concert. Feed Store Park, 2 pm - 7pm
5 - 6            Wet Mountain Western Roundup & National Chuck Wagon Cook-Off
1 - 4      Olde Schoolhouse Quilters Quilt Show
3      All Aboard Westcliffe Yard Sale & ice cream social
2 - 4       Fiber Art Show
4               Summer in the Park, free concert. Feed Store Park, 2 pm - 7pm

10 High Peaks Music Festival. Feed Store Park, 12 pm - 6pm