South Central Colorado: Places to Explore

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  • Buena Vista

    Skyscraping mountains, the most impressive being the Collegiate Peaks, ring Buena Vista (pronounced byoo-na vis-ta by locals). The 14,000-foot, often snowcapped peaks were first summited by alumni...

  • Cañon City and Royal Gorge

    Cañon City is an undeniably quirky town. From its easy access to the nearby Royal Gorge, a dramatic slash in the earth, to its aggressive strip-mall veneer (softened, fortunately, by some...

  • Colorado Springs

    The contented residents of the Colorado Springs area believe they live in an ideal location, and it's hard to argue with them. To the west the Rockies form a majestic backdrop. To the east the...

  • Cripple Creek

    Colorado's third legalized gambling town, Cripple Creek once had the most lucrative mines in the state—and 10,000 boozing, brawling, bawdy citizens. Today the charming main street is lined with...

  • Cuchara Valley

    If you want a true mountain rural setting, head to the Cuchara Valley. From here or La Veta you can go camping or hiking in the San Isabel National Forest, go horseback riding on trails through...

  • Florissant Fossil Beds

  • La Junta

    For an easy day trip from Pueblo into Colorado's past, head east to La Junta. The Koshare Indian Museum is in town, and Bent's Old Fort National Historic Site and the dinosaur tracks and ancient...

  • Palmer Lake

    Artsy, and very sleepy, Palmer Lake is a magnet for hikers who set out for the evergreen-clad peaks at several in-town trailheads. There are more good restaurants and working artists than one...

  • Pueblo

    In 1842 El Pueblo trading post, on the bank of the Arkansas River, was a gathering place for trappers and traders. Today the trading post is an archaeological dig set in a pavilion next to the new...

  • Salida

    Imposing peaks, including 14,000-plus-foot Mt. Shavano, dominate the town of Salida, which is on the Arkansas River. Salida draws some of the musicians who appear at the Aspen Music...

  • Trinidad

    Southern Colorado played a major role in opening up the West, through the Mountain Branch of the Santa Fe Trail. Bent's Fort was the most important stop between the route's origin in Independence,...

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