Today, this Arkansas River town is known for world-class whitewater rafting. Located between Cañon City and Salida, Cotopaxi is home to rafting outfitters and a campground. Local rafting tours, lasting anywhere from a few hours to six days, leave from here and tumble along the state's most popular whitewater river, facing rapids ranging from the calm, family-style waters outside Cañon City to adrenaline-pumping swells and steep drops near the Royal Gorge.

Just south of town, the San Isabel National Forest tempts visitors with hiking trails and serene campsites. Since the small riverside town has limited services, most visitors actually lodge in Canon City. In addition to hotels, shops and eateries, Cotopaxi offers bike, book and geological shops, as well as an assortment of antique shops and trading posts. Local food options range from chuck-wagon dinners to Mexican delicacies.

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