Located at the junction of U.S. 285 and 50, Poncha Springs is an excellent jumping-off point for the ultimate Colorado-style adventure. In addition to its prime location at the south end of the state's most concentrated string of 14,000-foot peaks, including the state's tallest mountain (Mount Elbert), Poncha Springs also neighbors the quaint art town of Salida and offers east access to skiing on Monarch Mountain.
The town was named after a local natural hot spring coined Poncha Springs by famed Colorado frontiersman Kit Carson. Today water from the springs is piped into Salida's Hot Springs Aquatic Center. Another historical marker in this tiny crossroads community also designates the spot where explorer Zebulon Pike and party spent the winter of 1806.
In addition its historical significance, Poncha Springs is an ideal recreation area for outdoor enthusiasts. Mountain bikers can hop a shuttle from the local gas station to the famed Rainbow Trail, and within miles hikers can link to area mountain treks. Several short loop and riverside trails also dot Poncha Springs and will eventually link to other county trails running into Salida. In addition, there's the 18-hole Poncha Springs Disc Golf Course, Elevation Beer Company and a variety of lodging, dining and shopping options in nearby Salida.
Want more? Read Colorado's Collegiate Parks: A Leadville to Salida Itinerary >>