Buena Vista & Twin Lakes Guide
Destination: Buena Vista & Twin Lakes
About: Located in the Arkansaw River Valley between Leadville and Salida at the base of the Collegiate peaks
Route: 285 West till it dead-ends into 24 – go left/north
Distance: 123 Miles
Time: 2h 20m (Depending on 285 traffic)
Trip Length: Overnight
Sleeping: Camping, Airbnb, and Boutique Hotels
Buena Vista, pronounced “Byoo-na Vista”, has long been a favorite town of mine in Colorado. There are two parts of Buana Vista’s main street and South Main. South Main looks like Seaside and Rosemary beach dropped right into the Mountains. I think that’s originally what appealed to me about the area haha.
What I really love about Beuna Vista (and Salida) is that it’s almost always warmer than anywhere else I the state and it’s the perfect jumping-off point for so many adventures. Oh, and they have a drive-through movie theater too!
Updated May 2021
Where to Stay in Beuna Vista
Surf Hotel – The gorgeous Surf Hotel has been on my bucket list for years. Right on the Arkansas river with gorgeous decor – gah it’s perfect!
Camping – There are and an endless number of campsites just outside town on 375. From town take 371 and turn right before the tunnels on 375. After a few miles, you will start to see campsites. Continue on to 375 A and 375C where you will also find a number of campsites. I would say 4×4 is best for road 375A.
Where to Eat in Buena Vista
BV has a number of great restaurant choices to choose from. FYI Eddyline Brewery in South Main is in an awesome location with a great patio, but the good is just not good. I have been a few times and never had a good experience… so I’d skip this one. Like I said BV has a lot of highly-rated restaurants but these are a few I have tried!
The Lariat – We ate on the back patio for my birthday a few years ago and were not disappointed. Plus the often have live music and have one of those old-time western bars feels.
House Rock Kitchen – Giant Patio and Healthy food – check! I love to eat here after a day of hiking.
Simple Food – This fast-casual spot is right inside the Trailhead store. Forget fast food and stop in here for a quick and healthy meal to go. They also have a large patio too.
What to do in BV
Hike – Weather you want to submit a 14er or just go a casual hike BV has it all. There are 15 14’ers in the area so really you have your pick! Check out a guide to Chafee County 14’ers here. Find more info on hikes in the area here.
- Harvard Lakes – Short but steep trail
- Kroenke Lakes – Great non14er hike in the area. Pack a lunch and your fly fishing rod!
White Water Rafting – We raftered the Arkansas with Clay’s parents a few years ago with Noah’s Ark. We had a lovely time and I would recommend them but there are a number of outfitters in the area as well. Find more info here.
Hot Springs – Nestled up against the Sawatch are two hot springs. Mt. Princeton Hot Springs and Cottonwood Hot Springs. I visited Prinston hot springs years ago and spend a lovely afternoon at the adults-only area – there is a spa too! I have not visited Cottonwood Hot springs but you can find more info here.
– Only a 20-minute drive from BV head here for a day at the beach, picnic, or even kayak or sup on one of the two lakes. There are a number of hikes that start in the area and lots of dispersed camping if you know where to look.