Map of the District

Salida Ranger District Office building exterior with flag blowing in the wind


5575 Cleora Road, Salida, CO 81201
(just east of town, off Highway 50)

Ph: 719-539-3591 Fax: 719-530-2160


Stop by the office for recreation information, prescribed fire information or for fuelwood permits. We carry maps of the area including National Geographic, Latitude 40, and USGS topo maps. We also stock books about the area, including titles by local authors. Sales benefit the Greater Arkansas River Nature Association.

About the Area

Brett Beasley standing on the crest trail overlooking mountains


The Salida Ranger District is part of the San Isabel National Forest located near the towns of Salida, Buena Vista, and Poncha Springs. The district encompasses over 440,000 acres in central Colorado, "the heart of the Rockies." It's an outdoor recreation paradise that encompasses seven 14,000-foot peaks "fourteeners" (Harvard, Tabeguache, Yale, Columbia, Shavano, Princeton, Antero), three wilderness areas (Buffalo Peaks, Collegiate Peaks, Sangre De Cristo), and Browns Canyon National Monument.

The Forest Service manages most of the higher elevation areas, while the Arkansas River corridor is managed by Colorado State Parks and the Bureau of Land Management. The Arkansas River is one of the nation's most popular rivers for whitewater rafting and kayaking. It's also a designated "gold medal" trout fishing river. For fishing & hunting licenses or off-highway-vehicle (OHV) licenses, please contact Colorado Parks and Wildlife. 

The majority of the Salida Ranger District is located within Chaffee County. Nearly 80% of Chaffee County lands are public lands. (Small portions of the district are also located in Fremont, Saguache, and Park Counties.)

District Boundaries

The northern Salida Ranger District boundary is just north of the town of Buena Vista. Trout Creek Pass on Highway 24 is an eastern boundary. Poncha Pass (9,015 feet) on Highway 285 is a southern boundary. Monarch Pass (11,386 feet) on Highway 50 marks a western boundary. 

The Climate

The area is sometimes referred to as the "banana belt of Colorado" because of the generally mild temperatures and sunny days. Springtime can be deceptive with sporadic spring snowstorms occurring from March to May; afternoon thundershowers are common during July and August, especially in the mountains; and the fall months are generally dry and sunny.

Salida weather information (click on the map for info about the surrounding higher elevation areas).