Salida, which means exit in Spanish, is actually an entrance to some of Colorado's highest country. It's surrounded by a dozen of the state's 54 14ers — mountains that are more than 14,000 feet high.
Although gold-seekers first settled here, it was farmers and ranchers who made Salida a lasting community. The Arkansas River runs through town and is the site of the annual FibArk (First in Boating on the Arkansas) Festival held here each summer. Kayaks and rafts are common sights on the river. Other water attractions include the local hot springs, which are housed in a public pool.
A handful of excellent mountain bike trails and countless hiking trails cross the region, giving access to four national forests. And, naturally, some visitors want to climb some of those 14ers in the Collegiate Peaks north of town. In winter, visit the nearby Monarch Mountain ski area for a taste of what those 14ers have to offer.
Salida also has a fun summer art festival, Artwalk, which highlights many of the area's fine artists. In the winter, the town is crowned with a giant lighted Christmas tree on a hillside overlooking the community.
There's also golf and a handful of great little restaurants to whet your appetite for a weekend visit. In 2011, BudgetTravel.com named Salida one of America's coolest small towns.