Buena Vista, Colorado

Buena Vista, Colorado

Buena Vista is one of the best summer camping areas in the country! Only about a two hour drive from Denver, the scenery changes dramatically once you leave the city. The area is popular with mountain bikers and rock climbers. There’s a lot of great rock outcroppings and massive boulders everywhere you look. High enough in altitude at around 8000 ft, that it doesn’t get too hot. And another plus is the low humidity, and not too many bugs. Located in the high Rockies beneath the massive Mt. Antero, there are several other peaks in the area reaching 14,000+ along the river valley.

Buena vista, co
Buena Vista free campsite


Where to camp near Buena Vista, Colorado


There is free camping at turtle rock campground and along forest roads 375 + 376, to the north of town. As a matter of fact, there’s so much free camping along the Arkansas river starting from Leadville, co. It’s hard to first figure out where to go, but Buena Vista is probably the nicest. Turtle creek campground is great, and close to the Midland tunnels. A series of tunnels carved out of rock along the forest road 375 near the river. The river is also convenient to take a dip in when it warms up midday. Cell phone service is good as long you’re not camped out with a giant boulder blocking the signal. Pick a site overlooking town and the signal should be strong. The main sites can fill up on the weekend during peak season, but there are plenty of overflow campsites along the national forest roads nearby.

Colorado free camping
Buena Vista

Around town


Buena Vista is pretty small and easy to figure out. One great hidden spot though, is the Midland stop. An espresso shop and bakery offering espresso, gelato, and the best blueberry muffin I’ve ever had! Grab a coffee and blueberry muffin at Midland stop, and chill on the scenic river park next door. The rest of town has the basics, plus a few other coffee places and restaurants. There are also several outdoor stores on the main street. and two large grocery stores. It’s about 3 miles to the camping areas, an easy bike ride for supplies.

Rainbow in colorado
rainbow in Buena Vista, Co


Honestly, there’s not much to do here but go on nature hikes, camp, do river stuff and go mountain biking. If you’re there in August, you can harvest piñon nuts if it’s a good harvest year. Piñon pines grows all over Chaffee county, and one of the trees you’ll see the most in the area.


Buena Vista, Colorado is a good place to relax. The natural beauty is incredible, and there a many other places to explore up and down the river valley. It’s worth checking out if you’re planning a trip to Colorado!