Buena Vista Colorado

History & Pronouncing Buena Vista:

1879 – The town's name has been pronounced "BEW-na Vista" instead of the Spanish "BWAY-na Vista" ever since it was founded.  It all came about at a meeting in 1879, when residents and property owners in the area at the convergence of Cottonwood Creek and the Arkansas River held a meeting to create a formal community.  They had been told that would help attract a railroad line (eventually it attracted three).  Two names were proposed by attendees:  Collegiate Peaks, and Buena Vista, which means "good view" in Spanish, certainly an appropriate description.  Alsina Dearheimer, a resident and property owner who suggested the name Buena Vista, certainly knew how the Spanish words were pronounced, her first husband having been a language and music professor.  But, she insisted that the pronunciation for the town name be Americanized into "BEW-na", borrowing the first syllable of the English word "beautiful".

1880 - 1885 – Three railroads reached the town:  the Denver, South Park & Pacific; the Denver & Rio Grande; the Midland.  The Denver, South Park & Pacific Depot has been restored and moved to McPhelemy Park in the center of town and can be explored by visitors Memorial Day through September.

Come and visit the Ghost Towns of St. Elmo, Vicksburg, and Winfield.  For more information, visit BuenaVistaColorado.org or call (719) 395-6612.


Driving Tours


Anglers of all types come to Chaffee County every year, looking to sample the incredible trout fishing available around Buena Vista.  From the river in the heart of town to the pristine alpine lakes and creeks in the headwaters, the availability of great places to fish will catch your eye.  One of the big drawing points for many fishermen is the state's Gold Medal waters.  These are defined as being able to produce 60 pounds of trout per acre, and at least twelve 14 inch or larger trout per acre.  Only 322 miles of Colorado's 9000 miles of trout streams, and three lakes, carry the "Gold Medal" signature.  One of the best and the longest stretches, part of the Headwaters Recreation Area, flows right through our town's eastern edge.  For more information, contact Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area at (719) 539-7289.


With 80% Public Lands, our Wild Side is pretty expansive.  Here you will find:

All Types of Birds • Big Horn Sheep • Black Bear • Buffalo • Coyotes & Fox • Elk • Golden Eagle & Bald Eagle • Rocky Mountain Goats • Mountain Lions • Moose • Mule Deer • Osprey • Pronghorn • Wild Turkeys


We are so excited to share our special place with you...

Buena Vista is in the awe-inspiring backcountry of the Sawatch and Collegiate Peaks mountain range on the West, and Fourmile Recreation Area to the East.  The grand Arkansas River meanders North to South through the valley with a multitude of connecting high mountain streams.  It is a hiker's / backbacker's heavenly quest with endless exploration opportunties.  Visit our website for a list of trails and directions.  Or, stop in and see us at the Buena Vista Vistor's Center for even more trails, maps, guides, and resources.