Summer road trip: Chaffee County

Summer road trip: Chaffee County

By Sandy Long, Group Leader, Chaffee County CCL Chapter

Summer is finally here and it’s time for a road trip! Why not visit Colorado places where there are active CCL Chapters? Chaffee County (Salida/Poncha Springs/Buena Vista) is only 2-3 hours from the Front Range. Did you know that Chaffee County has the highest concentration of 14ers in Colorado and the US? Or that the Arkansas River is the #1 rafting destination in Colorado?

Activities: There’s so much to do including rafting, hiking, hot springs (no sulfur smell), horseback riding, fishing, Jeeps/ATV’s, ghost towns, and much more. Cruise over the Continental Divide on the fully paved Cottonwood Pass for a scenic day trip. Feed the chipmunks at St. Elmo, one of the most accessible and best-preserved ghost towns in the West. Catch a movie at the Comanche Drive-in Theater in Buena Vista.

Dining: If you enjoy dining outside by a river, I recommend the Wesley & Rose (Surf Hotel) in Buena Vista or the Boat House Cantina in Salida. Unfortunately, a few restaurants closed during the pandemic so I would advise packing a picnic lunch and getting reservations for dinner where possible. There are several breweries and whiskey distilleries in Salida and Buena Vista. On your way out of town you might want to grab some fabulous goat cheese at Jumpin’ Good Goat Dairy, Buena Vista.

Events: FIBArk Whitewater Festival in Salida will be June 17-20 but will not include a carnival or vendors this year. We’re hoping that we can have Gold Rush Days in Buena Vista July 31-August 1, complete with vendors, music, and burro races.

The Chaffee County CCL Chapter formed in September 2020 with a Climate Advocate Training session. Monthly meetings began in November and attendance averages around 8 people, which is pretty good for a county with a population of 20,000. Since we started during COVID, all meetings have been via Zoom. We’ve had guest speakers from all over Colorado including the Colorado Member of Congress (MOC) Liaisons. Zoom meetings avoid commutes between Buena Vista and Salida (30 minutes) but the chapter is looking forward to some outdoor social gatherings this summer. We’ve had a few LTE’s published in the local paper and have called and emailed our MOC’s. Chaffee County is in District 5 and is represented by Rep. Doug Lamborn.

Stay tuned for other road trip destinations in our July and August newsletters.