Salida Ranger District


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 Lake, Fremont, Saguache, and Park Counties.)

At a Glance

Operational Hours: Open Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Closed federal holidays.
Reservations: Visit or call 1-888-444-6677 for campground reservations. Campground reservations cannot be made from this office. 
Water: Water fountain in the lobby. RV water and dump station at the Poncha Springs Visitor Center.
Restroom: Accessible restrooms available
Information Center: 719-539-3591

Recreation Map

Map showing recreational areas. Map Information



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Camping & Cabins

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Campground Camping

The Salida Ranger District offers campgrounds with picnic tables, fire pits, and vault toilets. There are no electric or water hookups for RV's and no shower facilities. The campgrounds are operated by a concessionaire, Rocky Mountain Recreation Company.

Reservations can be made for some campgrounds, while others are first-come, first-served only. For reservations contact the National Recreation Reservations System, 877-444-6777. Reservations cannot be made at the Salida Ranger District office, and campground hosts cannot be contacted directly to check availability.

For other camping and lodging options check out the Chaffee County Visitors Bureau.


Areas for Campground Camping at Salida Ranger District

RV Camping

Areas for RV Camping at Salida Ranger District

Group Camping

Areas for Group Camping at Salida Ranger District

Dispersed Camping

 “Dispersed” camping means not camping at a campground.

  • Practice Leave-No-Trace camping principles. Pack it in, pack it out.

  • Camp, dispose of wash water, and bury human waste

  • Camp in existing dispersed campsites and use existing fire rings when available.

  • Park vehicles on bare and compacted areas within one vehicle length from the road.

  • Please do not camp at trailheads.

Areas for Dispersed Camping at Salida Ranger District

Cabin Rentals

Bassam Cabin


Areas for Cabin Rentals at Salida Ranger District


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Horse Riding & Camping

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Nature Viewing

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OHV Riding & Camping

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Other Activities

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Outdoor Learning

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Rocks & Minerals

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Scenic Driving

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Winter Sports

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Areas & Activities