"It doesn’t interest me
what you do for a living.
I want to know
what you ache for
and if you dare to dream
of meeting your heart’s longing... I want to know
if you can be with joy,
mine or your own,
if you can dance with wildness
and let the ecstasy fill you
to the tips of your fingers and toes
without cautioning us
to be careful,
to be realistic,
to remember the limitations
of being human." -Oriah
The Beautiful Views of Buena Vista (Summer Adventure Town Review)
The Beautiful Views of Buena Vista
Buena Vista is a beautiful small town that sits at 8,000
feet in the middle of the Rockies. It has amazing access to the Colorado Trail
and Continental Divide Trail, and is home to the Collegiate Peaks. That’s
right; the 14er access here is pretty incredible. Don’t let the 14ers consume
all your time though as there are other trails that are even more scenic.
Top 3 best
-There are so many amazing trails here in summer it’s really
hard to pick just three. There are also tons of other great trails within a
half hour drive of BV. The first two on the list will for sure get you above
timberline so plan on some stunning views but slow miles. Of course, there are
also great trails to reach the top of 14ers, but those are easy to figure out
so I won’t include them. I also advise you to take a look at a map before doing
any of these trails.
·North Cottonwood trail head to Denny Creek (Mt.
Yale) trail head: About 13 miles. This is a great point to point run if you
have two cars. Start at North Cottonwood trail head (parking area) and run up
the road a short bit until you get to the trail. Within a few minutes there
will be the Kroenke Lake Trail* on your left. Take that trail and you will be
running mostly up on it until you take another left on the Browns Creek Trail.
Now you will be going mostly down until you reach Denny Creek trail head.
*The last time I did this the sign was down
for Kroenke Lake. Keep looking for a trail on your left!
·Alpine Tunnel (actually in Nathrop, Co but I had
to add this often overlooked trail): I did this as an 18 mile loop so I started
off by running 5 miles up FSR 295. When
you see the Alpine Trail sign get on that trail for a few miles until you take
a left on the Continental Divide Trail (CDT). Enjoy these trails! These are
absolutely stunning in the summer. You will even see railroad ties from a
railroad that stopped running in 1910. You will be in awe that it was possible
for a railroad to even get through there as the trail curves on the edge of
cliffs. You’ll also spend some beautiful miles above timberline. When you get
to a CDT trail junction turn right and enjoy stream crossings and meadows. Then
enjoy a fun and crazy downhill until you reach FSR267. Turn right down a dirt
road, run through the ghost town of St, Elmo (taking a left when you reach the
main street in town), and head back to your car.
Tips: Start early to avoid ATV’s on the
road sections or just do an out and back on the single track as that’s the best
View from the Pine Creek Trail
·Pine Creek Trail: It’s an out and back so you
choose the length. I suggest at least going to the old ranger cabins, about 6.5
miles in as you will get the best views from there. This one’s simple. Start at
the Pine Creek trail head and just follow the trail. Admittedly, the first 1 to
2 miles aren’t great, but if you make it through that the trail starts running
along the beautiful waters of Pine Creek. After about 3 miles of steady climbing
you will pop out to a gorgeous view. If you decide you want a long run the
trail will take you directly to Silver King Lake which sits at 12,750 feet. To
the lake it’s about 10 miles one way.
Other things to do:
·Raft or Paddle: Legs need a break after climbing
that 14er but still want those exercise induced endorphins? Buena Vista is a
great town for rafting, kayaking, and paddle boarding!
·Hot Springs: Choose from Mt. Princeton
Resort or Cottonwood Hot Springs. You may want to do a little research here as
they are quite different. If you want a
good place for the family or more of spa experience try Mt. Princeton. If you
want something a little less crowded with more of a mountain hippie vibe go to
St. Elmo Ghost Town
St. Elmo Ghost Town: This old railroad and
mining town sits at an elevation of 9,961 ft. The town is really only a couple blocks long
but there are quite a few activities to do their in summer from 4 wheeling to
history lesson. Plus, just the drive up there is pretty!
Fish: I don’t fish but I hear tons of people
talking about how great fly fishing is here and there are actually fishing
reports on the radio station so it must be good.
Music: Just walk down the main street and read
the signs on windows and you will easily find when the music is happening.
·Buena Vista Roastery: Sure, you can get coffee
elsewhere but that would just be silly. The place has got a great vibe with the
help of local artists and has some great tasting coffee from all over the
world. For all you gluten free people out there they always have a daily gluten
free baked good. It’s also a great place to bring your laptop if you need a little
Facebook time to tell your friends about your cool adventures.
·Asian Palate: A little pricey but tons of great
food and gluten free options.
·Eddyline: Perfect if you want good beer and
·Rainforest Café: Best breakfast place in town.
·El Paraiso: I wish the restaurant was a little
more authentic but the place is great when you want a lot of good Mexican food.
·Community Center located at the end of Main
Street: I have used this shower far too many times. It’s important you are
prepared for it. Its $1 for a 3 minute shower, although it can sometimes be
more like a 2.5 minute shower as the first 30 seconds might consist of very
cold water. Sounds awful but it can be kind of fun if you think of it like a
game. To win the game I suggest laying out your razor (girls), conditioner, and
soap and then have your shampoo in your hand before you start your shower.
·Wally Lalas Laundromat: $5 for 10 minutes. A
little pricy but you get a nice private shower with a sink and an outlet just
in case you want to plug in your phone or blow dry your hair.
·You can easily look up campgrounds in Buena
Vista, but many of the campgrounds that pop up will cost money. The campgrounds are okay, but there are tons
of great spots all over to camp. Really, all you need to do is drive up the
mountains on either side of Buena Vista to find great, free camping spots along
the road or trails.
·One of my favorite places to camp is the free
Turtle Rock campground. It’s a group campground and can get crowded in summer,
but there are porta potties and nice flat spots to camp. It’s on the desert
side of the mountains which means the mornings will be much warmer than camping
on the “14er” side of Buena Vista. It’s also easy access from town. From Main
street (coming from BV’s one and only traffic light), take a left on CR 371,
drive about 2-3 miles, and then turn right on CR 375. After a little uphill
driving you’ll see the campground on your left.