Buena Vista Campground: Your Ultimate Outdoor Retreat


From hiking and fishing to rafting and rock climbing, Buena Vista has something for every thrill-seeker and nature lover.

Yet beyond the wealth of activities, Buena Vista also charms with its vibrant local culture, scenic drives through mountain vistas, and abundant wildlife. Families delight in its variety of attractions catering to all ages. And foodies relish the farm-to-table cuisine that spotlights regional flavors.

In short, Buena Vista Campground Colorado enthralls as a year-round playground where luxury camping merges seamlessly with small-town hospitality against the backdrop of the great outdoors.


  • Buena Vista Campground Colorado thrills with endless outdoor adventures from hiking to rafting
  • Charming local culture and farm-to-table cuisine enhance the experience
  • Scenic mountain drives and wildlife sightings astound nature lovers
  • Family-friendly attractions and luxury camping facilities abound

Buena Vista’s Wealth of Outdoor Activities Beckon Adventure Seekers

The top draw of Buena Vista remains its spectacular outdoor recreation. This natural bounty sets the stage for limitless adventures to satisfy even the most daring thrill-seekers.

Hiking and Mountain Biking Along Scenic Trails

Over 200 miles of hiking trails allow exploring Buena Vista’s diverse alpine terrain.1 Trek through wildflower-strewn meadows in the Buffalo Peaks Wilderness, near the scenic Buena Vista Campground and Tent Sites, offering a restful haven for hikers.

Summit towering 14,000-foot peaks surrounding the Collegiate Peaks, a stone’s throw from the serene Lake Evans and Cottonwood Pass, where campers and RVs find solace at Cottonwood Hot Springs Inn and Snowy Peaks RV Park. Or take the family along the pet-friendly Rainbow Trail, skirting the Arkansas River, dotted with RV Sites and Campgrounds like Arkansas River Rim Campground and Railroad Bridge Campground, enhancing the outdoor experience with fishing, boat permits, and picnic tables.

Mountain bikers also rejoice on the hundreds of miles of trails. Ride high above the treeline at Monarch Crest Trail for panoramic vistas, accessible from nearby Campgrounds and RV Parks like Valley RV Park and Winding River Campground. Catch air at Midland Hill Trails, ranked among the world’s best riding, with close proximity to RV Rental services. Or meander through aspens along the peaceful Fooses Creek Loop, perfect for a day trip from Chalk Creek Campground or a cozy Cabin at Enos Lane Campsite, where Mountain Biking meets tranquil campsite living.

River Adventures Along the Mighty Arkansas

The Arkansas River provides the pulse for Buena Vista. Brave Class IV rapids while whitewater rafting along Numbers or Browns Canyon. Try stand-up paddleboarding or kayaking through calmer waters. Go trout fishing year-round in Gold Medal waters, teeming with rainbows, browns, and cutthroats.

Several outfitters like Arkansas River Tours and Wilderness Aware Rafting offer guided experiences catering to all skill levels.

Rock Climbing and Ice Climbing Wilderness Towers

Over 1,000 rock climbing routes challenge vertical adventurers, from bouldering to big wall climbs.2 Test technique tackling 5.7- 5.14 rated climbs at the ultra-popular Elephant Rock. Attempt multi-pitch ascents up the 400-foot Red Wall. You can also easily access top-rope and sport climbs at Bob’s Rock.

Ice climbers flock to the frozen waterfalls at the Ice Park and Grotto Falls in winter. Local guide services, like San Juan Mountain Guides, ensure safe experiences.

Local Culture and Cuisine Enliven the Stay

Beyond the wealth of adventure, Buena Vista’s local culture and cuisine add soul to the experience. Art galleries, community events, and a burgeoning food scene connect visitors to the heart of this small mountain town.

Cultural Attractions Spotlight Regional Heritage

Buena Vista’s downtown overflows with local cultural attractions. Pop into one of several art galleries showcasing regional artists. Attend a bluegrass concert at the music-loving Deerhammer Distilling Company’s Tasting Room. Savor award-winning craft brews and spirits at local breweries and distilleries on the BV Heritage Beverage Trail.

The Buena Vista Museum and Cultural Center also provides an intriguing glimpse into the area’s cultural heritage through historical exhibits and artifacts.

Savor Farm-to-Table Fare Highlighting Local Flavors

The mountain town food scene spotlights the best in farm-to-table cuisine. Sample creative comfort foods at The Asian Palate, blending Thai and American flavors. Feast on fresh salads and sandwiches at Garden Deli using locally sourced ingredients. Or enjoy an elevated dining experience at The Eddyline Restaurant and Brewery, integrating regional craft beers and spirits into every dish.

Several restaurants also host weekly events like open mic nights and trivia nights, fostering community connections.

Family-Friendly Attractions Abound

Buena Vista transforms into a family paradise with endless attractions for all ages. Hot springs, paddle boards, petting zoos, and peak pursuits guarantee memorable adventures parents and children adore.

Soothing Hot Springs Beckon After Full Days Exploring

After action-packed days, families unwind at Cottonwood Hot Springs. Soak in the geothermal waters under the stars at night. Splash around the family-friendly main pools during the day.

For more relaxation, book a stay at Mount Princeton Hot Springs Resort. The resort features luxury rooms and private soaking areas along Chalk Creek.

Stand-Up Paddleboards and Petting Zoos Thrill the Kids

Families also delight in stand-up paddleboard adventures along the Arkansas River. Children giggle, balancing atop boards while taking in mountain vistas. Guided paddleboard yoga trips provide extra fun on the water.

At the Buena Vista Farm Park, little ones enjoy pony rides, feeding baby goats, and getting lost in the corn maze. While at the Mt. Princeton Hot Springs Resort, kids create connections with rescued horses and pot-bellied pigs.

Peak Pursuits Satisfy All Ages and Abilities

The Collegiate Peaks also teem with family-friendly outdoor pursuits. Ride the historic Mt. Princeton Hot Springs Resort Gondola to the summit for sweeping vistas without breaking a sweat. Drive or hike to several 14,000-foot “peaks with perks” featuring refreshments, gear rentals, and play areas at the top. Or conquer various “14er” peaks catering to all hiking abilities along clearly marked trails.

Scenic Byways Showcase Awe-Inspiring Vistas

While the main street charms, several roads winding through the mountains proffer jaw-dropping vistas. The Collegiate Peaks, Continental Divide, and Sangre de Cristo mountain ranges all converge here, presenting photo-worthy panoramas at every turn.

Stargaze Along America’s Highest Paved Road

At night, stargazers adore the wide-open night skies. Drive along Highway 82, America’s highest continuously paved road for epic celestial displays. This byway, called Collegiate Peaks Scenic Byway, also delights day-trippers with wildflower-filled mountain meadows and far-reaching peaks.

Soak in Fall Foliage Along the Gold Belt Byway

In fall, the Gold Belt Byway captivates leaf peepers with golden aspen groves fluttering atop craggy peaks. This route also features historic railroad tunnels and converted mines that offer glimpses into the region’s gold mining heritage.

Spy Wildlife on the Sangre de Cristo Byway

The Sangre de Cristo Byway also rewards nature lovers with frequent wildlife sightings. Watch for bighorn sheep grazing along the steep mountainsides. Spot moose wading through open wetlands filled with water lilies. Or catch a flock of wild turkeys strutting across the road.

Adventure Calls All Year Round

While summers overflow with visitors partaking in Buena Vista’s wealth of warm weather pursuits, the area also thrills during the winter. Once the snow starts falling, the mountains transform into a veritable winter wonderland.

Hit the Slopes at Monarch Mountain Ski Resort

From November through April, skiers and snowboarders flock to Monarch Mountain Ski Resort. This affordable resort offers access to over 800 acres of terrain catering to all abilities. Freestyle skiers and boarders relish the snowpark featuring rails, boxes, and tabletop jumps.

Snowshoe and Cross-Country Ski Along Idyllic Trails

Miles of trails also cater to snowshoeing and cross-country skiing through magical winter settings. Meander through the snow-draped San Isabel National Forest. Trek to Refuge Point overlooking the vast Upper Arkansas River Valley. Or attempt an icy summit bid up Colorado’s 15th highest peak, Mount Antero.


What is there to do in Buena Vista during the summer?

During summer, top activities include whitewater rafting along the Arkansas River, hiking and mountain biking scenic trails, rock climbing wilderness towers, visiting local cultural attractions, and sampling farm-to-table cuisine.

What is there to do in Buena Vista during the winter?

Top winter activities include skiing and snowboarding at Monarch Mountain Resort, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing through the forest, and soaking in the geothermal hot springs.

What outdoor activities are good for families?

Great outdoor options for families include stand-up paddleboarding on the Arkansas River, taking the gondola ride up Mt. Princeton, attempting “14er” peak pursuits catering to all hiking abilities, and hanging out at local petting zoos and hot springs.

Where are the best stargazing spots?

For epic stargazing, drive along Highway 82, America’s highest continuously paved road. This byway provides front-row celestial displays atop the Collegiate Peaks.

Where are the best spots for nature photography?

Top nature photography spots include the wildflower-filled mountain meadows along the Collegiate Peaks Scenic Byway, the golden aspens fluttering atop peaks along the Gold Belt Byway, and the frequent wildlife sightings along the Sangre de Cristo Byway.


About the author

Shannon Persad

As a seasoned journalist and Colorado native, I bring a deep-rooted connection and comprehensive understanding of Colorado to my work at ReadyColorado.com. My appreciation for the state’s rich history, vibrant culture, and pressing environmental issues drives my commitment to exploring its evolving landscape—from the bustling urban centers to the tranquil mountain towns.