Our bed and breakfast is tucked under the towering Collegiate Peaks, part of the Sawatch Range, which is itself part of the Rocky Mountains. And that’s what makes lodging in Buena Vista CO so unique. This Rocky Mountain town is home to 10 14,000 foot peaks, creating a natural panorama you aren’t likely to forget.
Why are they called the Collegiate Peaks? Many of the mountains are named after famous American universities, like Mount Harvard (14,421 feet), Mount Princeton (14,204 feet), and Mount Columbia (14,079 feet). You can also visit Huron Peak, which at a measly 14,012 feet didn’t earn its Ivy League status.
During the summer these peaks attract hikers and climbers looking to explore their incredible views. In fact, that’s how the first settlers named this mining town during its founding in 1879 — Buena Vista means “beautiful view” in Spanish. If you aren’t an experienced climber, or if you have little kids to wrangle, you don’t need to be an outdoors man or woman to appreciate the Collegiate Peaks. Some of the nearby mountains feature access roads that will take you nearly to the top.
The Collegiate Peaks are a huge draw for Colorado residents, too. In addition to hiking, the area is also popular for its whitewater rafting, fishing, golfing, hot springs, and nearby National Forests. But it’s also popular with tourists from all over the country comes winter time. The mountains offer a number of snowmobile trails, skiing slopes, snowshoe trails, and indoor hot springs.
For anyone who is looking to go off the grid (for a little while), the 1,109,782 acre San Isabel National Forest is just minutes away from Buena Vista. You can spend the day hiking to ghost towns and exploring more than 700 miles of trails, then return to your cozy lodging to watch the sun set.
Best of all, visitors can even brag to their friends back home that they visited the Collegiate Peaks Wilderness area, which has the highest average elevation of any wilderness area in the entire country! There’s a reason so many Colorado natives book lodging in Buena Vista CO again and again.