Salida, in the heart of the Rockies, is a lively mountain town that’s long been the hub of tourism, transportation, and industry in the region. Surrounded by the Sangre de Cristos, the Sawatch Range, and the Arkansas Hills, it’s a mountain paradise for anyone who loves to play outside.

The city sits at just over 7,000 feet in elevation and boasts 100 miles of world-class whitewater, Gold Metal trout fishing, incredible singletrack, and Monarch Mountain (a nearby ski mountain).

The Arkansas River runs through town and is a major engine for the tourism sector, which employs many locals and elevates Salida’s eating scene at places like ­Amicas Pizza and the Boathouse Cantina, where an optional gratuity on every check goes toward new trail construction. The Arkansas is a prime trout fishery, too.

To top it off, Salida not only offers great dining options, it’s also a Colorado Certified Creative District with many unique galleries dotting its historic downtown.

Several annual events fill Salida’s calendar, including its largest, FIBArk (First in Boating on the Arkansas), a festival that has taken place in Salida every year since its first rafting race in 1949, making it the oldest whitewater festival in the country, as well.

Other annual events include Bluegrass on the Arkansas, the Angel of Shavano Car Show, Salida Winefest, the Salida Artwalk, and more.