Buena Vista, pronounced “Byoona Vista,” is a quaint mountain town nestled in the heart of the Rocky Mountains. The town was settled in 1864 by hard working gold miners looking for a place to call home. The land was rich with water and perfect for agricultural growth. The first fire department, known as the Buena Vista Bucket Brigade, was organized in 1880. The town lacked telephone service, electricity, and street lights until 1894. The correctional facility was constructed in 1889. The facility helped the economy of Buena Vista tremendously, creating jobs and increasing the free labor force to aid in the construction of parks and public buildings. The Chaffee Times, the town’s local newspaper, was first printed in 1880 and is still running strong today.
Buena Vista is home to 2,617 residents, spread out over approximately 3.5 miles. Locals love the thriving community and the countless activities this gem of a mountain town has to offer. Cottonwood Hot Springs and Mount Princeton Hot Springs are two must see locations if you have the opportunity to visit. If you are visiting during winter, spend the morning cross country skiing and let your body bask in some of Colorado’s purest geothermal spas in the afternoon.
While winter leaves this mountain town covered in blankets of white flurries, summer is arguably one of the best times to visit Buena Vista. With a great snowpack comes snowmelt, and this is music to any raft guide's ears. Browns Canyon, a section of river on the Arkansas River, is the most rafted section of whitewater in North America and was recently named a national monument by President Obama. AVA offers a number of exciting rafting and ziplining tours near Buena Vista. Our Granite Outpost, located just 14 miles north of Buena Vista, is the put-in for some of our most popular rafting trips – the Browns Canyon Express, the Canyon Sizzler, and the Browns Canyon Half Day. Be sure to check our ZipLine/Rafting packages – perfect for a family vacation, work retreat, or weekend getaway.