Sunday, January 26, 2020

Salida, Colorado




In my last blog post--click here--I showed the Mt. Princeton Hot Springs that are located in Nathrop, Colorado, located between the towns of Buena Vista and Salida, Colorado. My husband and I visited this area in October to celebrate our anniversary.  We've driven through this part of Colorado on other trips to South East Colorado to see the Sand Dunes National Park--click here--to see that post--and to South West Colorado to visit Telluride--click here--to read that post, and now we wanted to finally take the time to explore this beautiful part of Central Colorado more closely.  

The beautiful Sawatch Mountain Range is located in Central Colorado, which includes the Collegiate Peaks. The Collegiate Peaks include some of the highest mountains in the Rockies. The section is so named because several of the mountains are named for prominent universities.


Nine of the mountain peaks are over 14,000 feet high!


The Collegiate Peaks Wilderness includes much of the Sawatch Range and is an important watershed for three rivers on both sides of the Continental Divide: the upper Arkansas River, the Gunnison River, and the Roaring Fork River.  Both the Continental Divide Trail and the Colorado Trail cross the area. The Continental Divide Trail follows the course of the Continental Divide itself with several side spurs. The Colorado Trail passes through the lower eastern portion of the area and crosses Pine Creek, Frenchman Creek and Three Elk Creek all of which drain into the Arkansas River north of Buena Vista



The small and charming town of Salida, Colorado, is known as the “Heart of the Rockies,” and has long been a hub of tourism, transportation, and industry in the region. The city sits at an elevation of 7,000 feet.  

Salida was first named South Arkansas. It was one of many mining towns in the region as gold, silver, copper, and iron was discovered in Chaffee County. In May 1880, the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad bypassed an existing settlement just to the south, called Cleora, and arrived in the town, which was then renamed Salida, which means "exit," as it was at the gateway to the Arkansas River Canyon.


Many of Salida’s first residents worked on farms or ranches, for the railroads, in mines or for smelting companies that popped up around town. In 1901, the New Monarch Mining Company located in Leadville contacted businessmen in Salida about building a smelter in the town. Construction on the plant began in 1902 and it began operation later that same year. However, due to the fumes the smelter stack produced, the original 150-foot stack was replaced by a massive 365-foot one in 1916. The plant closed in 1920 but the Salida Smokestack still stands as a landmark to those driving into town. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in January 1976. The stack is taller than the Leaning Tower of Pisa (179 feet)!



The town is very walkable and the Salida Downtown Historic District includes about 130 brick buildings from the turn of the century, the largest National Historic District in the state, according to the Salida Chamber of Commerce website.



On the East end of the town is Tenderfoot Mountain, marked by a large “S.” At the top of the mountain is a small observation house, which can be reached by a winding dirt road. This mountain is transformed during the Christmas season into "Christmas Mountain," with approximately 10,000 brightly-colored LED bulbs strung from Tenderfoot Mountain’s summit to base--a tradition since 1989. They shine over Salida throughout the whole holiday season, from late November into mid-January.  Locals say it is the world's largest Christmas Tree at 750 feet!





The Youtube video above shows what the mountain looks like lit up for Christmas.  




Salida's building walls are full of colorful murals...


...and vintage commercial ads.



It is quite a colorful town with a creative district full of art galleries, interesting shops, antiques, restaurants. cafes, and friendly people.



I was quite impressed with the Rocky Mountain Guitar Company, which crafts handmade guitars, mandolins, and banjos.


We had a delicious lunch in the Currents Restaurant.  We shared the fried calamari appetizer, and we also tried a small cup of their fabulous green chili. I had a grilled chicken breast sandwich and my husband had the fish and chips.




After such a hearty lunch we took a hike by the nearby Arkansas River.


There are many rafting companies in the area that offer easy float trips for beginners, half-day adventures in class IV rapids, multi-day raft trips and everything in between. There are also outfitters that will rent kayaks and stand-up paddleboards and offer lessons on using them in whitewater conditions.  The stretch of Arkansas River in and around Salida has up to 5000 trout per mile! Local fly shops and fishing outfitters are more than happy to update visitors on current conditions, directions to public access and provide full-service guided trips. 




The Browns Canyon National Monument, about ten miles outside of Salida, was designated in 2015 as Colorado’s newest National Monument. 



It offers visitors miles of hiking and mountain biking trails, as well as public fishing in the gold medal waters of the river.



We really enjoyed visiting Salida and hope to return for a longer visit sometime in the future.  The next day we visited a historic and well preserved "ghost town" in the mountains--come back next post to see more.


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 Mosaic Monday, All SeasonsBlue Monday, Through My Lens MondayLittle Cottage Link Party, Blogging GrandmothersHearth, and Soul Link PartyYou Are the Star Blog Hop, Inspire Me Monday,  Good Random FunNature NotesGrand SocialTravel Photos, Photo TunesHappiness Is HomemadeSomething Old Is NewOur World TuesdayRuby TuesdayTuesdays With A TwistWordless Wednesday on a TuesdaySay Cheese!,  Party in Your PJ'sWordless WednesdayNanahood WWOh My Heartsie Girl's Wonderful Wednesday, Your Whims WednesdayWorldless  Wednesday My Corner of the WorldWonderful Wednesday Little Things ThursdayThankful ThursdayThursday Encouraging Hearts and HomeThursday Favorite ThingsFriendship FridaysFriday Features Linky Party, Skywatch FridayFuntastic Friday Pink SaturdaySaturday Critters
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Monday, January 20, 2020

Mount Princeton Hot Springs Resort in Nathrop, Colorado



When my husband and I celebrated our wedding anniversary in October, we continued a tradition we began when we moved to Colorado by visiting a Colorado hot spring area for a few days.  We've visited Strawberry Springs in Steamboat Springs, Iron Mountain Springs in Glenwood Springs, and this year we spent a few days in Buena Vista, Colorado and visited the Mount Princeton Hot Springs Resort that is located in Nathrop, between the towns of Buena Vista and Salida, Colorado.



Mount Princeton is a part of Colorado's Collegiate Peaks, part of the Sawatch Range in central Colorado. The mountain stands at 14,197 feet, and one can hike a challenging 13.25-mile out-and-back hike that ascends to a grueling 5,400 vertical feet.  Nearby is 14,269-foot Mt. Antero, which has a 16-mile round-trip hike, with 5,200 vertical feet climb.  The resort has views of both mountains, as well as the Chalk Cliffs.



Not being athletic enough to consider taking either of those hikes, We decided that enjoying the views of those mountains from the various pools in the resort would do.  What beautiful views they were! 

The Princeton Hot Springs Resort includes on-site many different accommodation options, from a lodge to cabins and creekside suites, and there is a restaurant, and spa treatments available, as well as fitness and yoga classes for guests.



The odorless geothermal fed pools vary in size and location on the premises. We spent the most time in the brand new family relaxation poolThere is also an exercise pool, a historic bathhouse pool that was built in the mid-1800s, a relaxation pool that is adult-only, and a soaking pool.



In the Upper Pools and Lazy River, there is a 400 hundred foot long water slide that traverses down the hill into a pool. We saw children and teenagers enjoying that slide all day long!




We also tried the creek hot springs pools located right in the midst of the cool rushing waters of Chalk Creek. Each natural pool located along the creek is fed by natural geothermal hot springs with water as hot as 140 degrees that are bubbling up into the creek bed and mingling with the cold spring water.


The creek is approximately one foot in depth most of the year with a comfortable sandy bottom. By moving a few stones one can allow cooler water to rush in and cool the water until you reach the desired temperature inside your own circle of stones.



A hillside view of the upper Mt Princeton Resort Pools and slide.



We really enjoyed soaking and relaxing in the Mount Princeton Resort pools and creek hot mineral waters.  We also enjoyed exploring the nearby towns of Salida and Buena Vista, as well as a few ghost towns located in the mountains--more about these places in future blog posts. We are now researching more hot spring areas for future trips, and feel fortunate to be living in a state that has so many!


You can also find me on 


I'm linking this post to the following blog events:

 Mosaic Monday, All SeasonsBlue Monday, Through My Lens MondayLittle Cottage Link Party, Blogging GrandmothersHearth, and Soul Link PartyYou Are the Star Blog Hop, Inspire Me Monday,  Good Random FunNature NotesGrand SocialTravel Photos, Photo TunesHappiness Is HomemadeSomething Old Is NewOur World TuesdayRuby TuesdayTuesdays With A TwistWordless Wednesday on a TuesdaySay Cheese!,  Party in Your PJ'sWordless WednesdayNanahood WWOh My Heartsie Girl's Wonderful Wednesday, Your Whims WednesdayWorldless  Wednesday My Corner of the WorldWonderful Wednesday Little Things ThursdayThankful ThursdayThursday Encouraging Hearts and HomeThursday Favorite ThingsFriendship FridaysFriday Features Linky Party, Skywatch FridayFuntastic Friday Pink SaturdaySaturday Critters
Over the Moon, Grammys Grid-Month Long Linky Party

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