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One of my family's favorite weekend getaway spots is in Salida, Colorado. Located in central Colorado in the Upper Arkansas River Valley, Salida is nicknamed the "Heart of the Rockies". From a very young age, I can remember coming to this beautiful part of the state and falling in love with it's rugged, undeveloped beauty. Unlike many other mountain towns, this area is not yet very well known to tourists and has consequently held on to that perfectly Western, natural mountain-town charm. 

Whenever we visit Salida, my family stays at Mt. Princeton Hot Springs. Sounds fancy, huh? I'll bet you are picturing rejuvenating spa treatments, soothing massages, plush bath robes and all the luxurious amenities you can imagine, right? ....WRONG. Unlike many other hot springs resorts which pump the water into man-made concrete pools, Mt. Princeton offers a completely different experience. The hot springs create gallons and gallons of naturally boiling water which is then naturally fed directly into the Chalk River. When the hot water meets the freezing mountain river, clouds of steam roll up out of the riverbed. There are about 15-20 little pools within the river (that are naturally heated by the hot springs) which guests lay and swim in. That's right, you are literally sitting in the middle of a wide mountain river, being heated by the natural hot springs and steam. My sister and I used to love making our own little pools in the river by moving the rocks and sand around, and seeing how long each of us could last sitting in the un-heated, freezing part of the river. This experience is unbelievable at really any time of the year, but there is nothing more special than being in the hot springs surrounded by pristine nature when winter snowflakes are coming down. 

The amount of activities around Salida are limitless: skiing at nearby Monarch Mountain, exploring a genuine Western ghost-town (St. Elmo), browsing the art galleries in downtown Salida, fly fishing or white-water rafting on the Arkansas River, horseback riding, hiking, four-wheeling, camping...the list goes on and on. Don't forget to stop by pizza and homemade brews in central Colorado. 

This part of the state is truly amazing so I'm sure it is soon to be discovered and turned into a tourist trap like so many of our other Colorado towns. Go explore this part of the state and act like a native...if only for a couple days :)
11/20/2012 04:49:18 am

I love Salida, great part of our state.


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