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The Upper Arkansas Valley

The Salida, Colorado Region consisting of Salida, Poncha Springs and Buena Vista are nestled in the Upper Arkansas River Valley, surrounded by majestic 14,000 foot peaks and rolling hills, with the energetic Arkansas River carving its way through the valley floor.  Salida means “Exit” in Spanish, referencing its locale of where the river leaves the valley at its southernmost point. Buena Vista means “Good View”for reasons only understood when the view is witnessed personally. Poncha Springs is the crossroads of the Rockies.  Smaller communities and remote residences dot the valley floor and mountainsides.

The valley is often called the “Banana Belt” due to the relatively mild climate. Don’t be deceived, however as it is still a high subalpine environment with Buena Vista at 8,000 feet and Salida at 7,000 feet above sea level, subjecting everyone to the irrational weather patterns created by the high peaks. High winds, extreme heat and bitter cold are not unheard of, though average temperatures are, indeed, mild and quite nice. The Continental Divide to the west tends to wring much of the moisture out of storms, leaving an annual average snowfall in the valley that is less than Denver and the Front Range. The valley presents odd microclimates as well, so be sure to ask one of our brokers about weather specifics and how to take advantage of wind and sun for energy when building or remodeling.

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A New Kind of Boom Town

The population of the valley is as diverse as the weather and landscape. Less than half a century ago, mining provided a bit of an economic boom which has recently given way to tourism. Retirees and young families flock to the valley because of the serenity and pleasant climate, as well as the abundance of recreational opportunities. Recent rapid growth has many pondering the future of the valley and how the increased population will affect the slow pace we are so fond of. With like-minded citizens, most people -old-timers and newcomers alike- believe that responsible growth will only make the area an even greater place to live.

Recent articles in national magazines such as Sunset touting the benefits of the area have created a flurry of interest from folks looking to relocate to places such as Summit County but who prefer the more laid-back lifestyle as well as the more reasonable cost of living found in the Upper Arkansas Valley. With classic skiing at Monarch Mountain only 15 minutes from Salida (45 from Buena Vista), and larger resorts such as Vail and Breckenridge within two hours, many people are finding that it is possible to enjoy a ski town feel without the exorbitant cost. Additionally, major metropolitan areas are within two hours drive time allowing for day trips to the museums or Major League sporting events.

At Wes Hill and Associates – Real Estate Professionals, we believe that the best way to ensure responsible growth is to educate potential locals on what life is really like here; both the good and the bad. If a realtor tells you that some place is “perfect”, be wary. Every location has it own beauty and quirks; The Upper Arkansas Valley just has fewer quirks than most areas. It is truly an amazing place to live and we love it. So, come and explore, wave hello and get involved. You will be hard pressed to find a local unwilling to chat with you about life and living here. If you are looking to move here, don’t be afraid to ask the difficult questions. This is a unique area and we want to make sure it is the right fit for you. Feel free to call anytime. We are friendly locals first, sales people second.

Give us a call today at 719-539-6616.