Fun things to do in Colorado

The simplest way to explore the mountains of Colorado is to just jump in the car and start driving. Head west from Denver or Colorado Springs and choose a route. There are many loops that you can explore in just one day.

White water rafting on the Arkansas River on July 4, 2011

One-day road trips from Colorado Springs or Denver Colorado

If you are driving from Denver, head south on Interstate 25 to Colorado Springs, take Hwy 115 and head towards Canon City, Colorado. Canon City is the home of Colorado’s best white water rafting.

The best white water rafting deal in Canon City, Colorado is rafting with River Runners at their Royal Gorge Rafting Center. They are located 8 miles west of the town of Canon City, Colorado on Hwy 50 at the turn to the Royal Gorge Bridge & Park. River Runners has been providing guided white water rafting trips through the Royal Gorge since 1972. Raft the Royal Gorge full day rafting trip and raft Bighorn Sheep Canyon in the morning and raft under the Royal Gorge in the afternoon. Families will enjoy white water rafting on the Arkansas River in Bighorn Sheep Canyon. This rafting trip takes place just up stream from The Royal Gorge Canyon.

After your rafting trip watch photos for your rafting adventure. All rafting guests receive discount tickets to visit the Royal Gorge Bridge and Park. At the Royal Gorge Bridge and Park there are many family activities and you can walk across the highest suspension bridge in North America.

Watch white water Rafting on the Arkansas River along Hwy 50

Maybe you are not sure if you can handle white water rafting in Colorado. How about going and taking a peak, watch some others go white water rafting. The best place to watch white water rafting in Colorado is west of Canon City, Colorado along Hwy 50. Here in Bighorn Sheep Canyon the Arkansas River runs along side the highway. Here you will see all different colored rafts bobbing down the Arkansas River. There are many different turn offs and rest areas. This part of the Arkansas River is mostly a Colorado State Park. So you can easily find a place to stop and use a public restroom or a place to have a picnic.

Driving along the Arkansas River you will have magnificent views of the Sangre De Cristo Mountain Range. This route is the proposed location for the Over The River art project by Christo & Jean Claude. Be sure to come back to Colorado to see this event.

Now you are heading towards Salida, Colorado. This is a beautiful Colorado river town. Salida, Colorado is home to a huge National Historic District. This incredible downtown is located on the Banks of the Arkansas River. The enormous amount of retail storefronts is filled with Artists galleries and fun shopping. There are many great restaurants in the town of Salida, Colorado. Do not just see Salida from US Hwy 50 turn into downtown to see the real Salida. Captain Zipline a zipline tour company is located in Salida. Stop by and take a zipline tour.

How about soaking in some Colorado hot springs?

Colorado Hot Springs
Soak in Colorado Hot Springs after your white water rafting trip

The Arkansas River valley is filled with hot springs. Salida has a pool right on Hwy 50. My favorite is Mt. Princeton Hot Springs Resort in Nathrop, Colorado, between Salida and Buena Vista, Colorado. The area is the crossroads for the three highways: U.S. 24, 50 and 285. Driving distance from Denver is approximately 144 miles, 102 miles from Colorado Springs and Pueblo, and 65 miles from Gunnison.

Now you are driving north on highway 285. This driving route is designated the Collegiate Peaks Scenic Byway. This is absolutely the best scenic drive in Colorado. You are surrounded by the 14,000 foot Collegiate Peaks Wilderness area. Chaffee County has more mountain peaks of 14,000-foot or more than any other county in Colorado and is often referred to as the “Fourteener” Region.

Where to eat in Buena Vista, Colorado

River Runners Riverside Rafting Resort Bar & Grill on the Arkansas River in Buena Vista, Colorado

Looking for a unique place to eat in Buena Vista, Colorado? How about relaxing by the Arkansas River with incredible mountain views and watching people white water rafting. That’s what you get plus discounts tickets to Mt. Princeton Hot Springs Resort.

Stop and have lunch at River Runners Riverside Grill. Try a fish taco, Grilled Carne Assada Burrito and a cold drink. If you are not driving be sure to try a River Rummer. Here you can watch rafting or jump on a rafting trip. The most popular white water rafting trip in Colorado is Browns Canyon. These rafting trips depart right from River Runners beach almost every hour. A full day Browns Canyon Rafting trip takes about 6 hours round trip and includes a riverside lunch on the Arkansas River. Half day Browns Canyon white water rafting trips take just 3 hours round trip. Just have an hour or so jump on a scenic family float and raft right back to River Runners Riverside Rafting Resort from Buena Vista, Colorado.

Lodging in Buena Vista, Colorado

After rafting soaking in the Colorado Hot Springs hit the road and head back to the city. If you decide to stay the night Receive discount lodging from Mt. Princeton Hot Springs Resort if you raft with River Runners or save on lodging at the Super 8 in Buena Vista, Colorado.

If you are heading back to Colorado Springs jump on hwy 285 and then hwy 114. This will be a great scenic loop back to Colorado Springs or Denver. Here it is like you are driving through the home on the range. You have a very good chance to see Buffalo, Antelope, Mule Deer, hawks, and possibly Elk. You will drive past Pikes Peak and through the towns of Woodland Park and Manitou Springs en route to Colorado Springs.

If you are driving back to Denver you may follow hwy 285 or follow newly paved hwy 24 to Leadville, Colorado past Copper Mountain to Interstate 70. On interstate 70 you will driver past the Colorado towns of Breckenridge, Frisco, Silverthorne and Keystone.

So if you are looking for things to do in Colorado, get out of Denver and Colorado Springs and explore. Cool off white water rafting with River Runners.