Just look what we found in southern Colorado! Salida is a town of about 5,600 people right in the heart of the Rockies. The town is nestled in a valley surrounded by really big mountains, crystal clear streams and lakes. The Arkansas river flows right through town. In the spring, the hills come alive with wildflowers and in the fall, the golden aspens will take your breath away. Turn of the century buildings (and we mean the 20th century) line the streets making Salida one of the largest historic districts in Colorado. It’s easy to see why people retire in Salida, Colorado! Over 20% of the population is over 65, well above the state and national average.
An unusual feature in town is the Salida Hot Springs (the largest indoor hot springs pool in Colorado), built in 1937, and has just had a major facelift and rework of the pools. The odorless water is piped from 8 miles away up in the mountains and brought into several different pools for therapy, lap pools, and swimming lessons. You can imagine how popular this is with the seniors and the aquatic center takes part in the Silver Sneakers program.
If you are worried about being out in the middle of nowhere with little cultural stimulation, rest assured Salida is home to a thriving artists community with galleries, performing arts, painters, potters, jewelers and sculptors. There is the Alpine Orchestra and a busy summer concert series. The town was featured in the guidebook “The 100 Best Small Art Towns in America: Discover creative Communities, Fresh Air and Affordable Living” by John Villani.
The town was originally settled in 1880 with an agricultural, mining and railroad history. Then it was discovered by sportsmen who found the fishing, kayak racing, hiking, golfing and horseback riding who come back year after year. The Monarch Ski area is right in the neighborhood. Mountain bikers come from all over the world to ride the Monarch Crest Trail.
So here’s the facts you may want to know about this lovely little town. The average snowfall in the valley is only 50 inches (the mountains get much more) and the annual rainfall is just 10-12 inches. Residents see the sun 330 days a year with a very low humidity. The snowmelt keeps the valley green most of the year. The temperatures in January usually run between 20 and 50 degrees F. In July (the hottest month) you will usually find a daily high of 77 degrees. Once in a rare while it will get into the high 80’s. Nights cool off to the 60’s. Salida is in the Banana Belt of Colorado!
The average home value in Salida (according to Zillow) is $265,800. Rentals run in the $1,200 range.
Salida has an educated population with 32.18% of those over 25 having at least a Bachelor’s degree.
The violent crime rate is 1.31 per 1,000, considerably lower than the 3.09 in the state and 3.9 nationally. The only down side is that the property crime is at 36.28 while Colorado is 26.85 and the nation is at 28.6. Most of these crimes are classified as theft.
Salina is considered part of the Fourteener Country – with local mountains exceeding 14,000 feet elevation. This country is where you can visit ghost towns, drive the “Top of the Rockies National Scenic Byway”, take binoculars to watch the 960 species of Colorado wildlife. Go to an art festival, watch a parade, sit in the hot springs. So much going on!
Tell us what you think about Salida in the comment section below!
Photo courtesy of the Salida Chamber of Commerce