Monarch Crest Scenic Tram
A trip on the Monarch Crest Scenic Tram is a great idea for just about all types of travelers. The tram is located on Monarch Pass, at 11,312 feet above sea level, and it takes you up to the top of the Continental Divide at 12,012 feet above sea level. (If you have problems with high elevations or if you’re afraid of heights, you may want to skip this one.) Once you reach the top, you’ll be rewarded with stunning 360-degree views of the surrounding peaks. Make sure to bring a jacket as it can be chilly up there even in the middle of summer. There are a number of hiking and biking trails at the top as well if you feel like exploring a bit more. You can also take the tram up and enjoy an easy hike back down. We recommend taking some time to browse the on-site gift shop. Not only do they have unique souvenirs, but their homemade fudge is amazing. The tram is typically open from mid-May to mid-September, weather permitting.
Winery Tours & Tastings
You may not know it, but Salida is home to two wineries: Mountain Spirit Winery and Vino Salida. Mountain Spirit Winery produces a number of unique blends, many of which are combinations of fruit and grape wines. If you’re interested in learning more about the winemaking process (and enjoying some complimentary tastings), take a guided tour of the winery, which is located at 15750 County Road 220. Alternatively, you can head directly to the tasting room, located at 8046 West US Highway 50. Here, you can sample their wines and browse through their huge collection of art, jewelry, home decor, and more.
Vino Salida’s winery and tasting room is located at 10495 County Road 120, about a 10-minute drive west from Creekside Chalets & Cabins. They produce over 20 wine varieties, all made with Colorado grapes, as well as mead and Vermouth. Two tour options are available, both of which are guided by the winemaker himself. If you opt instead to relax in the wine bar, you’ll have the option of ordering wine tasting sample or wine by the glass. Charcuterie and veggie plates are available, too.
Not a wine fan? Maybe a distillery tour is more up your alley. Wood’s High Mountain Distillery is located at 144 West 1st Street right in downtown Salida. They produce a variety of small-batch whiskeys, gins, and liqueurs. The tour is informative, but informal, and while they’re generally available during regular open hours, it’s recommended that you call in advance. In the tasting room, you can sample their products or choose from their specialty cocktail list. It makes for a lovely stop on a warm summer afternoon.
Salida is a unique town and it’s that much more interesting once you learn about the area’s history. The Salida Museum, while on the smaller side, has a wonderful variety of historical artifacts. The museum docents are incredibly knowledgeable with no shortage of interesting stories. The museum is usually open on Saturdays and Sundays from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. However, as it’s completely volunteer-run, those hours may change. You can give them a call at (719) 539-7483 to make sure they’re open.
Mt. Shavano Fish Hatchery
Spending time at a fish hatchery might sound like an odd outing, but it is one of the more unique and educational things to do in Salida. The Mt. Shavano Hatchery is located at 7725 County Road 154 and it’s open daily from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. It’s one of the largest trout hatcheries in the state. During the summer months, guided tours are available every day between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. You can also take a self-guided tour as there are plenty of informational resources available. One of the highlights of the hatchery is feeding the fish, which is entertaining for visitors of all ages.
Salida Hot Springs
The Salida Hot Springs Aquatic Center is the largest indoor hot springs in the country. They have two pools, both of which are fed by underground hot springs that are further up in the mountains. The lap pool stays at approximately 84 to 86 degrees Fahrenheit, while the smaller soaking pool ranges from 97 to 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Open swim hours are available every day, typically from 1 p.m. on during the week and on Saturdays. European-style private soaking pools for two to three people are also available and reservations are recommended. If you’ve had a long day of hiking or biking, a trip to the hot springs is perfect for soothing any aching muscles.
Browns Canyon National Monument
Browns Canyon National Monument is truly a sight to behold. Complete with breathtaking rock formations, towering canyon walls, the rushing Arkansas River, and a variety of wildlife, it’s definitely worth some of your vacation time. Outdoor enthusiasts are sure to love the plentiful opportunities for hiking, fishing, and whitewater rafting. The entire area covers over 21,500 acres. Depending on which access route you take, you may have to pay a state park fee. The Bureau of Land Management website has further information on any applicable fees or costs.
Riverside Park is located in downtown Salida and, as you might expect, along the bank of the Arkansas River. It’s a wonderful place to enjoy a leisurely stroll after you’ve indulged in a hearty meal. Visiting families with children are sure to love the playground equipment and the bouldering wall. In the summer months, from June to August, the park features a free summer concert series, Thursdays@6. You’ll be able to see local and national musicians while enjoying a relaxed evening in the park.
How do you make a backcountry excursion that much more interesting? Add llamas, of course! With Spruce Ridge Llamas you can take half-day, full-day, or overnight guided llama pack trips. The llamas are used to carry any equipment or personal items that are needed on the trip. In most instances, you’ll get your own llama to lead along the trail. Full- and half-day trips are available from early June to mid-October. The half-day treks cover up to 1.5 miles and include snacks while the full-day treks cover anywhere from 2 to 5 miles and include a picnic lunch. Even better, each trip is limited to including just your group making the experience that much more peaceful and personal.
Spiral Drive on S Mountain
One of the first things you’re likely to notice upon your arrival in Salida is the mountain with a huge “S” on it. This mountain is Tenderfoot Mountain, but it’s also referred to as S Mountain. The top of the mountain provides some beautiful views of Salida, the valley, and the surrounding mountains. You can drive to the top, or if you’re in the mood for a workout, you can walk or bike up. For the best photo opportunities, head up the mountain to catch either the sunrise or the sunset. Google Maps provides easy directions to Spiral Drive whether you’ll be driving, walking, or biking. You can also check out the Arkansas Hills Trail System map to get a better idea of the trails around and leading to the mountain.
Need Lodging for Your Trip?
As always, Creekside Chalets & Cabins would be delighted to be your home-away-from-home during your Salida vacation. You can take a look at all of our properties, check availability, and book online or give us a call at (719) 539-6953 with any questions.