In Colorado’s scenic Arkansas River Valley, Salida sits east of the Collegiate Peaks in the Sawatch Range, and northwest of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, providing access to many of the state’s famed 14,000 foot peaks. Once a regional hub for mining and railroads, Salida today has a thriving outdoor recreation economy and attracts visitors from around the world. Salida is a resupply town for hikes on both the CDT and the Colorado Trail, as well as a top destination for mountain biking, fishing, and rafting the Arkansas River. The historic downtown boasts coffee shops, yoga studios, and craft breweries, and Salida offers two hostels for the budget traveler.
The closest international airport to Salida is Denver International Airport (DIA), which is about 3 hours away via Highway 285. Colorado Springs also has a regional airport (COS) with flights from several large cities around the country. It is about 2 hours from Salida via CO-115 S and US-50 W. There are also regular bus services between Denver Union Station and Salida, operated by Bustang Outrider.
Length: 4.8 miles
Closest Town: Salida
Directions: From Salida, take US-50 W/W Rainbow Rd for 3.9 miles to Poncha Springs and turn right to continue onto US-50 W. Drive 12.8 miles and turn right onto Forest Rd (FR) 230. You will pass a snowmobile rental shop and find the trailhead parking just beyond that. It is possible to drive the first 1.5 miles up FR 230, however, a high clearance or off-road vehicle is highly recommended. Most hikers choose to start at the lower parking area.
USGS 7.5 Quadrangle: Garfield; CDTC Mapset: Map 157, Section CO19.
For More Information:
San Isabel National Forest, Salida Ranger District: (719)-539-3591.
- camping/ lodging
- camp supplies
- Salida Post Office
- 310 D St, Salida
- CO 88061
The CDT travels through the Collegiate Peaks west of Salida, and is co-aligned with the Colorado Trail’s ‘Collegiate West’ route. The trail crosses multiple high alpine passes and spends dozens of miles at a time above timberline, overlooking alpine lakes and sweeping views of the majestic fourteeners. After traversing above Monarch Ski Area, the trail crosses Highway 50 at Monarch Pass. From Salida, take Highway 50 up to Monarch Pass and park in the far end of the Monarch Crest store lot (be sure to stop in for some fudge and ice cream). The CDT heading south is accessed from a well-marked trail near the base of the aerial tram building. To head northbound on the CDT, cross Highway 50, where the trail heads toward Marshall Pass, and then beyond into the rolling Cochetopa Hills. The trailhead is marked with a large sign.