"Two roads diverged in a yellow wood... And sorry I could not travel both. I took the one less traveled by. And that has made all the difference." --Robert Frost

Sunday, August 15, 2021

Ahh, Perfection in Colorado

Buena Vista, Colorado

With the rain coming any minute we were eager to get to our favorite boondocking spot.  Since the ground here is packed and crushed granite instead of dirt/mud, we knew we'd be able to drive on the unpaved roads without worrying about getting stuck.  It's also flat here.
You'll pass through a meadow first with grazing cattle and plenty of Pronghorn.

Our favorite spot was taken so we drove further back than we normally do.  We found a nice spot tucked back in against a small ridge just as the rain started to fall.  
Our "drive way".
It was a pretty unlevel side to side, but we made it work.
View from the top of the small ridge above us.

So peaceful out here.
Looking towards Buena Vista you can see the peaks of Mt. Yale and Mt. Harvard in the distance. What makes this spot so scenic is that you can see several of the 14K Collegiate Peaks from here.
So where is this favorite site of ours?  It is between Nathrop and Buena Vista, west of Hwy 285 in Colorado.  It's still an area at the top of our list to have property at some point.  The area we are at this time is at 38.6759N  106.16330W.  To get here from Hwy 285, take CR270 and you will drive through some ranches.  You will pass through 2 gates and CR270 will become CR272.  This is well marked.  You will enter the San Isabel National Forest just past the meadow.  There are a few sites immediately along here.  The second one on the right is our absolute favorite.  Like many other boondocking areas, this one is getting more popular and can get pretty full.  This time we drove further back and turned left.  This road will eventually take you to Browns Creek Waterfall Trailhead where there is room to circle back if you can't find a site.  You'll be at 8900' elevation.  Come with empty tanks and full water.

What was nice about this spot is that it's a short walk to Browns Creek and the trailhead.  Hurley and I hiked around the creek each day.

We had 8 days here with plenty of time to visit the Farmers Markets in Salida and Buena Vista. Salida which is about 20 minutes south is much larger, but still a small town.  Salida has plenty of restaurants, breweries, distilleries and shops in a very vibrant town.  There are biking trails along the Arkansas River, rafting, fishing, museums and plenty of entertainment to keep you happy. Buena Vista is a very small town with a lovely park, eateries, and a funky vibe that sits near the same river about 10 minutes north of our boondocking spot.  So much outdoor fun in this area!  There is even a 1 screen drive-in on ranchland that runs during the summer.

Eddyline Brewery in Buena Vista.
Since we didn't have any big plans, we just relaxed and got used to the much higher elevation.  It turned out that the next night was the last night the neighborhood drive-in was open. Jungle Cruise was playing so off we went.  Thankfully the rain stopped and it was a lot of fun as we hadn't been to a drive-in for 25 years or so.
The Comanche Drive In sits at 8000'.  The highest elevation drive-in.  It was built in 1966 by John & Pearl Groy and has remained a family business since.  It sits out in the field of their ranch home.  It is one of 335 in the country and one of 8 in Colorado.  $10 per vehicle.  It's open every night during the summer and weekends only weather permitting spring and fall.

A few days later Hurley and I hiked part of the 6.2 waterfall trail up Browns Creek.  It was a hot day and the trail was a bit too much for Hurley at 13 1/2 years old.  I never made it back up to the end but it was nice just to be on a mountain trail again. A hike I'd like to do another time.
Through the pines and up over the treeline gets you a nice view of the valley below.

We made it to 9300 feet and then turned back.  It was a nice 4 mile hike.
The fullmoon was rising as we headed down to Salida for some beer tasting and dinner.
First up was Soulcraft Brewing that was new to us.  It was a nice evening so we sat out on the patio.
The beer was good and so were the wings and fries that we split.
We walked around town and looked at the changes since we were here last.  I was surprised that so many of the shops were still open and thriving with Covid.  As many other towns have done, they closed off the main street to cars and made lots of cute outdoor dining patios.  We stopped back by our favorite pizza place, Amici's for a drink and a couple slices of pizza.  Thin crust with arugula, tomatoes, feta and spinach drizzled with olive oil and balsamic.
On the other side of town, across from the river sits Tenderfoot Mountain up Spiral Drive.  This hill has the "S" on it which also has an alternating red heart.  Really cute.  We have biked up this mountain and we also have a geocache that we hid called "Nice View from Behind".  The summit sits at 7517' and has a lookout.  From up here you can see the Collegiate Range, Sangre de Cristo Range the river and the town below.  Gorgeous!
"S" for Salida
Salida puts on an amazing Farmers Market for a small town.  This year though, we noticed it was much smaller.  We still bought some amazing Jalapeno Cheese Bread, fruit, veggies, cheese and goat milk soap.
This is a view of Tenderfoot Mountain with Spiral Rd leading up to the lookout.
The view looking down at Salida with some of the Collegiate Peaks in the background.
Main Street closed off to traffic.
A cute outdoor sitting area at one of the cafes.
Another new to us brewery was Tres Litros which Steve really liked.
We brought our water jugs with us so we could refill them for free at the new Visitor's Center.  We waiting in line behind this trailer with the cute wheel cover.
Dinner was Grilled Italian Sausages, fresh Tomato salad and some sauteed veggies using the Golden Beets from the farmers markets.  How colorful is that?
We enjoyed a nice bottle of Portuguese Red that our RV friends Mario and Ellen gave us back in Florida.

For dessert we made Bananas Foster.
A nice fire outside finished up our day with a beautiful full moon.  Next we will visit some nearby ghost towns that we haven't been to before.


  1. What a beautiful spot! With a couple of breweries to boot, does it get any better!?!?!?

    1. Oh, I forgot to mention, love the waterfall/rapids picture!

    2. It's a gorgeous area! Too bad we just had 10 days. There is so much off roading back in these mountains and canyons. Lots of old mining towns.

  2. Replies
    1. This is just a tiny bit of what this area offers. It's still at the top of our list to buy some property at some point.

  3. Colorado looks beautiful! On our list to see, but it has to wait until we decided to trade winter time down south for some summer time in the northern States.

    1. You gotta check it out some time. You could certainly spend the entire 6 months checking out Colorado!

  4. I can’t believe Hurley is over 10 years old!!

    1. Yep, poor guy is getting older. Just like us :-)

  5. Nice boondocking spot! Colorado has so much to offer. I would like to spend more time there the next time we're up there.

    1. It’s worth spending a season and doing the famous loops.

  6. One day, when summer commitments are over, we will get to spend more time in CO. Thanks for the tour of Salida, haven't had a chance to spend time there yet.

    1. You need a whole season to do it justice! We had to cut this trip short as we needed to get back home for family needs. Unfortunately next year will have to be skipped also.


I’d love to hear from you! It’s more fun when you leave a comment!