7 best things to do in buena vista
I spent 6 months living in Buena Vista, Colorado and have learned a lot about the area. Overall, Colorado is a beautiful state filled with many outdoors activities and picturesque mountain landscapes. However, when most out of staters think of Colorado the first city they think of is either Denver or Aspen. Although those places are popular for a reason, there are so many more wonderful towns in Colorado than just those.
If you are interested in a more underrated yet fun town to visit, Buena Vista is the place for you. You can expect lots of outdoor activities and beautiful views. Keep on reading to find out the best things to do in Buena Vista.
1. Hiking Trails
Of course I had to put this first on the list! Colorado is known for its vivid mountain landscapes and with this comes endless amounts of hiking trails. I suggest downloading the All Trails app to give you an updated and detailed list of the trails in the area.
With that said I suggest checking out the Harvard Lakes Trail and Pine Creek Trail for moderate hikes. For easy hikes check out the Arkansas River Walk Trail and the Fistful Of Dollars and Few Dollars More Trail. For hard hikes wake up before sunrise and hike Mount Princeton or Mount Harvard.
2. White Water Rafting
The Arkansas River sections of Colorado are known for being some of the best white water rafting in the country! There are a bunch of rafting companies surrounding Buena Vista so pick one and I’m sure you’ll have a blast!
I went on a class four rapid my first time around and I had an amazing time! For families with small kids I would suggest a level 3. If you’ve gone rafting before then maybe try out the class 5.
The best time to go rafting would be in June or early July. In April and May the waters are still freezing cold, which can be slightly uncomfortable when you get splashed. In August the rapids start to slow down and companies have to close down the class 4 and 5 rapids.
3. Local Hot Springs
The first time I’ve ever been to a natural hot spring was in Buena Vista! Cottonwood and Mount Princeton are the two located in Buena Vista. They are full service resorts that offer sleeping accommodations and spa treatments but you can also simply buy a day pass, which is what I did.
If you are visiting in the summer I recommend going in the evenings when the sun is about to go down. Otherwise you’ll be sitting in hot water and baking under the sun on top of that. I learned that the hard way! In my opinion the perfect time to visit would be in the fall or winter months.
Natural hot springs are filled with minerals and are great for your overall well being. They help relax muscles, relieve pain, soothe the skin and help you sleep better.
4. BLM Land Camping
Camping is huge throughout Colorado but in particular Buena Vista has many campgrounds to choose from. I mention BLM land in particular because this stands for Bureau of Land Management aka free camping.
That’s not to say that you can’t camp for free at other non BLM campgrounds. Either way Buena Vista has beautiful camping spots to choose from. The stars at night in Colorado are stunningly beautiful. So when you make it out here, camping is a must!
5. Clear Creek Reservoir
Halfway between Twin Lakes and Granite area and about 15 mins from the center of Buena Vista sits Clear Creek Reservoir. A beautiful lake where you can go boating and swimming at a hidden beach. Keep in mind that the water is snow melt so it’s pretty cold but on a hot day it’s really refreshing.
Around the creek are also a few trails that range in difficulty and a huge campground area that has plenty of space for RVs.
6. Comanche Drive In Theater
Such a throwback! This was the first time I have ever been to a drive in and it was super neat! The best part about it was being able to watch The Breakfast Club while enjoying the beautiful mountain range view in the background.
If you are looking to take it easy one night get there before dusk, indulge in some popcorn and enjoy a classic film in the coziness of your vehicle.
7. Jumpin’ Good Goat Dairy Farm
This place has the best goat cheese I’ve ever tasted! No wonder why so many local restaurants in the surrounding towns use this local goat cheese in their dishes.
For a small price you get a tour of the farm, learn about the goat cheese making process and hear about the farm’s history. I think my favorite part was getting to play with the baby goats!
They also have a shop on site where you can choose from a wide variety of goat cheese to purchase. I would recommend this tour to adults and children alike.
To Sum It Up
Buena Vista is a friendly small town surrounded by beautifully huge landscapes. If you like outdoor adventure activities or want to explore nature a bit more Buena Vista has a lot to offer you. It is known for some of the best white water rafting in the country, but surprisingly has much more to offer that can be fun for an entire family.
If you are interested in visiting a bigger city in Colorado I’d suggest checking out Colorado Springs.