The Ultimate Guide to Buena Vista, Colorado: Top Attractions and Activities

May 1, 2023


Nestled in the heart of the Colorado Rockies, Buena Vista is a picturesque mountain town that offers a variety of exciting attractions and outdoor adventures. From adrenaline-pumping whitewater rafting to tranquil hot springs, there’s something for everyone in Buena Vista. In this ultimate guide, we’ll explore the top attractions and activities that make Buena Vista, Colorado, a must-visit destination.


Top Attractions and Activities in Buena Vista, Colorado: 



Buena Vista’s historic downtown district offers visitors a charming glimpse into the town’s fascinating past. With beautifully preserved buildings, unique shops, and local eateries, downtown Buena Vista is the perfect place to spend an afternoon exploring. Don’t miss the Buena Vista Heritage Museum and the Comanche Drive-In Theater for a taste of local history and culture. Check out some of my favorite local restaurants here 👇

Read next:
A Comprehensive Dining Guide to Buena Vista, Colorado: Where to Eat and Drink Like a Local



As one of the top rafting destinations in the United States, Buena Vista boasts world-class whitewater rafting on the Arkansas River. With numerous outfitters in the area offering guided trips for all skill levels, visitors can experience the thrill of navigating Class II to Class V rapids surrounded by stunning mountain scenery.

If big water rafting isn’t your thing, consider booking a fly fishing trip with a professional guide. Ark Anglers is one of the oldest fly fishing shops in Chaffee County and has plenty of expert guides to provide you with an experience you’ll talk about for years to come. The Arkansas River is the longest stretch of gold rated water in the state, making it incredible for trout fishing. 


Buena Vista is the gateway to the Collegiate Peaks, home to some of Colorado’s most majestic 14,000-foot peaks. With numerous hiking and biking trails in the area, outdoor enthusiasts can explore alpine meadows, dense forests, and breathtaking mountain vistas. Popular trails include the Colorado Trail, Mount Yale, and the Midland Bike Trail.

If you’re interested in hitting the trails safely and expanding your knowledge of the great outdoors, Ground Up Adventures is a local guided adventure business, offering everything from guided day trips to guided 14er summits and overnight backpacking trips. Discover trails leading to breathtaking waterfalls and crystal clear alpine lakes, spend the night under the stars, or climb to the top of towering peaks. 

Hi there! I’m Shelby, a
Colorado hiking guide!

I’m here to inspire you to climb your mountain from the ground UP.
I’m an avid hiker and backpacker, and also love camping, fishing, and anything else I can do outdoors, even if it means going alone! I believe nature is the best teacher of all, and I find joy sharing this knowledge so you can feel empowered on your own adventures! 


After a day of adventure, visitors can unwind in Buena Vista’s natural hot springs. Mount Princeton Hot Springs Resort and Cottonwood Hot Springs offer a range of soaking options, from mineral rich pools to creekside hot pots. These geothermal wonders provide a relaxing and rejuvenating experience, amidst the serenity of the Colorado wilderness. 


For those seeking a more adrenaline-fueled experience, Buena Vista offers numerous off-roading and ATV trails. From high-alpine passes to rugged desert terrain, the area’s diverse landscapes provide thrilling off-road adventures. There are also local outfitters that offer rentals and guided tours for visitors who want to explore the backcountry safely and responsibly.


If you want to see as much of the area as possible in a short amount of time, head up Cottonwood Pass for a scenic drive. Cottonwood Pass starts in Buena Vista, and is the highest paved mountain pass over the Continental Divide. How cool is that?! The road is accessible for 2WD vehicles and is open from late May to October, weather permitting. 


If you can’t tell already, Buena Vista, Colorado, is an outdoor enthusiast’s paradise, offering a diverse range of attractions and activities for all ages and interests. Whether you’re seeking adrenaline-pumping adventures or serene relaxation, this charming mountain town has something for everyone.  

Start planning your unforgettable trip to Buena Vista today! 🏔

Read next: Scaling New Heights: A Beginner’s Guide to Climbing a Mountain

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