Wednesday (8/31) we decided would be a good day for a day trip to Salida which was an easy 30 mile drive south of our campground. Why Salida you ask, why not we say LOL!!
Because of its history, 7038ft elevation and population of only 5,400 people it popped up on our radar for a possible place we might want to hang out during the warmer summer months. Plus we were told it had a nice downtown riverfront and a couple good places to eat we should check out.
Salida was first established in the 1800s as a stagecoach stop and later as a stopover for travelers on the Denver & Rio Grande Railroad and it has a nice assortment of old historic buildings scattered around town.
Salida is located at the foot of the Central Colorado Rockies on the western bank of the Arkansas River at an elevation of 7,038 feet as mentioned. U.S. Highways 24, 50 and 285 meet near this historic railroad town making it the “Crossroads of the Rockies”.
Once we reached town the first thing we did was find Spiral Drive. You know how many towns have their initials or the first letter of their name on a nearby hillside? Well Spiral Mountain (formally known as Tenderfoot Mountain) is where the “S” is seen from downtown.
The name Spiral Mountain is very suiting because the road to the top spirals itself around the mountain until you reach the very top. We drove but we came across a few mountain bikers, walkers and joggers on the narrow road. We would say it would be a great workout doing ANY of those three things a couple times a week. But we didn’t go for the exercise so after a few pictures we jumped in the truck and headed towards town.
Of course the first thing we did was do a driving tour around town and even out of town on highway 50 through a narrow canyon we had heard about just to take in the views before heading to historic downtown to walk around.
Like always we popped in and out of shops buying nothing but I enjoy looking at the inside of the old buildings more than anything else.
And we found an area of the river that runs along downtown where they have a kayaking course set up. We have seen this type of thing on TV, most recently in the Olympics but never in person. So we pulled up a couple of boulders and watched for a while until my stomach started talking, then it was time to find the Boathouse Cantina that a couple of our friends told us about.
The restaurant is located right on the river and if you are lucky enough to get a window seat you can watch all the activities on the water while you eat. However we were not lucky enough to get a window seat but we did get a nice table outside on the patio with a peek-a-boo view of the river and there wasn’t much activity going on to watch anyway. But the service was good as well as the food so we walked (waddled) away happy.
After lunch we wandered around a little more before jumping in the Jeep and leaving town. Before going home we decided to take a side trip and ended up in a town called Fairplay but to be honest it was getting late in the day and I was worn out so we only walked the streets a very short time and visited the Visitor Center before deciding on heading home and leaving Fairplay for another day so we will talk more about that at another time.
Another nice day trip under our belt. Our next update will be on our day trip to Tincup Colorado. Yes, we are behind on the blog again LOL!! But with the active days we have been having it’s just hard to keep up.