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15 Things to Know Before Moving to Salida, CO

Written by Aislyn Hobbs

Salida, Colorado, is a mountain town that has been an important center for trade, travel, and industry in the Rocky Mountain West for many years.

The city is located at a height of slightly more than 7,000 feet, yet surrounded by numerous fourteeners. As a result, there is breathtaking scenery, fantastic recreation options, and a surprisingly warm temperature.

Here are fifteen things to know before moving to Salida, Colorado.

1. Take in the natural beauty the city has to offer

With the Arkansas River nearby and the high-quality amenities of Salida, you can enjoy the great outdoors to the fullest. Cities like Salida, which are surrounded by natural beauty, are always superior to those that don’t value or even acknowledge the importance of nature.

People seeking a low-key, stress-free, and environmentally responsible way of life can find what they’re searching for in Salida. Walk to your office while taking in the scenery, and you’ll have a great start to the day. The beauty of living here is that it fosters a deep appreciation for the outdoors. 

2. A high property crime rate

In comparison to other American cities, the violent crime rate in Salida is extremely low. The city has a substantially lower violent crime rate (10.8) than the rest of the country (22.7). 

However, the property crime rate is 47, higher than the US average of 35.4. This means that residents have to safeguard their property to prevent theft.

3. The summers are warm and pleasant

Salida has a temperate and pleasant climate year-round. The daytime highs in the summer range from the mid-to-low-eighties, and the overnight lows in the winter can fall into the twenties. Due to the high number of sunny days per year, this region is ideal for any kind of outdoor recreation. Snowfall often begins in late October or early November and continues until March or April, giving skiers and snowboarders plenty of time to enjoy the mountains each year.

Annual rainfall averages 10 inches, while the United States is 38 inches. About 39 inches of snow falls annually in Salida, while a yearly average of 28 inches of snow falls in the United States.

4. A cost of living index of 108

The cost of living index in Salida is 108, 8% higher than the national average. The median home price is $671,076, much higher than the national average. 

Gasoline costs $2.41, pizza costs $11.51, a month’s phone bill is $182.16, and electricity costs $165.12 per month.

5. Be prepared for Salida’s high altitude

Salida’s location in the Rocky Mountains provides residents with breathtaking scenery and abundant outdoor activities. 

However, the town sits at an elevation of about 7,000 feet, so be aware of the potential challenges of high-altitude living, such as altitude sickness and the need for acclimatization. The high-altitude location means residents can enjoy crisp mountain air but may need time to acclimate to the reduced oxygen levels.

6. Explore Monarch Mountain or San Isabel National Forest

There are a plethora of outdoor activities to enjoy in Salida. The Arkansas River, known for its gold-medal trout fishing waters, provides an excellent backdrop for water activities. Monarch Mountain, a short drive away, offers skiing and snowboarding in the winter. 

The extensive trail system in the nearby San Isabel National Forest provides hiking and mountain biking options. For instance, the Colorado Trail is near Salida, offering a long-distance hiking experience.

7. Participate in the Salida Art Walk or the Colorado Brewers Rendezvous

Salida prides itself on its community spirit. Community events like the Salida Art Walk and the Colorado Brewers Rendezvous bring residents together. 

The welcoming atmosphere is equally evident in local establishments like the Boathouse Cantina, where locals and newcomers alike gather to enjoy live music and good company.

8. Attend Colorado Mountain College

Salida School District R-32-J serves the community, offering education from preschool to high school. Longfellow Elementary and Salida Middle School are schools dedicated to providing quality education. Salida High School is ranked #2,627 in the US News National Rankings.

High school graduates can proceed to Colorado Mountain College in Salida, where they can enroll in programs like EMT Basic, Certified Nurse Aide, Business Administration, Early Childhood Education, Elementary Education, and Nursing prerequisites.

9. Access quality healthcare at Heart of the Rockies Regional Medical Center

Heart of the Rockies Regional Medical Center is a well-known hospital that serves Salida, providing a range of healthcare services. The hospital is equipped with an emergency department, surgical facilities, and clinics. Residents can access primary care, specialty services, and wellness programs.

Valley View Hospital is a small, community-based facility with 25 beds that provides general medical treatment, preventative medicine, and various specialist services, including physical therapy, wound care, and laboratory testing. They also offer crisis intervention and counseling services round-the-clock.

10. Explore the Salida Museum or attend the Salida Film Festival

Salida has a thriving cultural and artistic community. The Salida Creative District fosters a vibrant arts community. Art enthusiasts can explore the Salida Museum, showcasing the town’s history, or attend events like the Salida Film Festival. 

Likewise, art walks and gallery openings provide opportunities to connect with local artists.

11. Get around the city with Chaffee County Regional Transit

Traveling about Salida is made easier by the city’s various public transportation options. Chaffee County Regional Transit (CCRT), which operates 14 fixed bus lines throughout the county, is the most used option. Salida, Poncha Springs, and Buena Vista are just some of the places that are serviced by these buses. 

Riverside Park and the shops of Downtown Salida are just two of the many destinations residents can get to on foot or by bike, thanks to the city’s extensive network of walkways and bike lanes. Finally, the city is also home to several car rental agencies.

12. The city has a number of small businesses downtown

Many of Salida’s independent shops can be found in the city’s downtown district. Cafe Dawn, which serves food made from local ingredients, and Wood’s High Mountain Distillery are two good examples. Keeping these establishments afloat helps preserve the special atmosphere of the neighborhood.

Salida has an 8.4 percent sales tax. The national median is 7.3%.

13. You may run into wildlife

Because of Salida’s location near natural areas, spotting wild animals is not unusual. Deer, elk, and even black bears may be seen randomly by locals. 

Being mindful of bears, securing waste, and not disturbing wildlife habitats are all important safety precautions to take in this city.

14. There’s the need for water conservation

Water conservation is emphasized due to the semi-arid climate in this city. The city has implemented water-saving initiatives, and residents are encouraged to adopt water-efficient practices. 

For instance, xeriscaping—landscaping designed to reduce or eliminate the need for supplemental water—is one such method that has gained popularity in recent years.

15. Eat at The Fritz or The Bounty

Salida’s culinary scene is a delightful blend of creativity and locally sourced ingredients, reflecting the town’s commitment to embracing its natural surroundings. 

Located in the heart of downtown Salida, The Fritz is a popular establishment known for its inventive menu and selection of craft beers. For those seeking a farm-to-table dining experience, The Bounty is a standout choice. This restaurant emphasizes locally sourced ingredients, often procured from nearby farms. The menu reflects the changing seasons, ensuring that dishes are made with fresh, in-season produce. 

And to truly immerse yourself in the local food culture, don’t miss the Salida Farmers Market. Held regularly during the growing season, the market features a variety of vendors offering fresh produce, artisanal products, and homemade treats. It’s a perfect opportunity to connect with local farmers and food producers.

In Conclusion

In summary, relocating to Salida, Colorado, promises a unique blend of mountain living, community engagement, and a diverse culinary experience. Nestled in the Rocky Mountains, the town offers a warm sense of community, great weather, and quality healthcare. However, the city has a high cost of living, and you should be prepared for the high altitude.

As you consider the prospect of making Salida your home, these insights provide a practical guide for a smooth transition into this distinctive Colorado town. 

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