Salida, located on the banks of the Arkansas River and with 12 nearby peaks over 14,000 feet in elevation, is known for its skiing, hiking, biking, whitewater rafting, kayaking, fly-fishing, camping, horseback riding, tennis and golf. The area was originally settled by the Ute Indians who favored the area’s natural hot springs. The City of Salida was founded by the Denver & Rio Grande railroads in 1880. The usual mix of industries: mining, quarrying, smelting, agriculture and retail trade—along with the usual “related” saloons, gambling and prostitution—existed at various times and magnitudes.
Home to a lively historic downtown, Salida celebrates its wonderful examples of turn-of-the-last-century commercial structures. In 2012, Colorado’s Governor John Hickenlooper designated Salida as a “Certified Creative District” for its dozens of artist-owned studios and galleries, entrepreneurs, restaurants, unique shops, breweries and distilleries. Being an “unpretentious, bike friendly town” led to Salida’s designation as a “Top 10 2009 Best Small Towns” in Outside Magazine. The New York Times featured Salida as a “haven,” describing it as “the outdoor life, with no attitude.”